This content was originally published by the Longmont Observer and is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Colorado’s Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) system, the only one of its kind currently being utilized in the country, is now operational across the state, streamlining the process for eligible Colorado voters to register at Department of Motor Vehicle offices. The new AVR system keeps Colorado on the vanguard of election access while also improving security by keeping voter rolls updated. The new system was passed into law by the Colorado legislature last year as part of a bill sponsored by State Senator Stephen Fenberg (District 18) and State Representative Daneya Esgar (District 46).
“Automatic Voter Registration is a keystone of the Democracy Package that I worked with the Colorado legislature to pass last year,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “AVR expands access to our elections and helps maintain up-to-date voter rolls, which is important for a vote-by-mail system like ours.”
“Colorado has a proud tradition of leading the nation in voter access and participation,” said Senate Majority Leader Fenberg. “Automatic voter registration is yet another way to further strengthen our democracy by removing unnecessary hurdles for citizens casting a vote. I am proud of this momentous achievement and sincerely hope other states follow Colorado’s example and remove oppressive voting barriers that work to silence already marginalized groups of people.”
“Here in Colorado, we’re working to make sure that all of our citizens have access to voting,” said Rep. Esgar. “Automatic voter registration increases participation in our democracy and helps Coloradans vote. I’m proud Colorado continues to lead the country in ballot security and access."
Under SB19-235, the new system approved by the General Assembly, eligible voters who provide proof of citizenship will automatically be registered to vote any time they apply for or renew their driver’s license. All eligible voters will then be sent a letter informing them they will be registered and offering the option to decline the registration or affiliate with a political party. This process would add only eligible voters who do not opt out of the registration.
Colorado is currently the only state in the nation with a voter registration system that is truly automatic, in that it does not require eligible voters to indicate that they wish to be registered.
Under the previous system, voters were asked if they wanted to register when they updated their driver’s license. AVR greatly streamlines that interaction with the DMV and reduces the possibility of human error.
AVR not only ensures voter rolls are more accurate, which means voters get their ballots at the correct address and the counties save postage from fewer ballots mailed to wrong addresses, the rolls are more secure because data is transferred electronically, reducing the potential for human error. Additionally, it provides more convenient options to citizens by reducing the number of trips to government agencies, particularly for working people with multiple jobs or rural residents who may not live close to government offices.
For more information, please visit www.sos.state.co.us.