KGNU is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Boulder County on a monthly commentary series called Making Democracy Work for All! which focuses on educating listeners on the workings of state and local government and letting them know how they can get involved at different stages of the political process. This month Jeanine Pow takes a look at voter registration requirements in Colorado.
September is National Voter Registration month and with Election Day right around the corner now is a good time to review voter registration requirements in Colorado.
You are eligible to register to vote in Colorado if you:
- are U.S. citizen;
- are at least 16 years old (although to vote, you must be at least 18 years old on Election Day);
- have resided in Colorado for at least 22 days prior to registering;
- are not serving a sentence of confinement, detention, or parole for a felony conviction; and
- are in possession of a valid CO driver’s license or CO ID or, alternatively, one of the many forms of acceptable IDs listed at the CO SOS website.
You can register to vote by a variety of methods. If you have a CO driver’s license or ID card issued by the Department of Revenue, you may register to vote electronically:
- online at govotecolorado.com; or
- using your smart phone, texting in capital letters “CO” and sending it to “28683.”
Alternatively, you can go to the clerk and recorder’s office and complete a voter registration form. You can also register to vote at the Colorado DMV when you apply for a driver’s license, at U.S. armed forces recruitment offices or at an approved voter registration drive such as those conducted throughout the year by the League of Women Voters at various public venues. In fact, you can even register to vote and vote on Election Day by appearing in-person at a voter service and polling center.
In Colorado, all active registered voters are mailed a paper ballot. If you were registered to vote but did not vote in the last election you are still registered and eligible to vote but you should check to ensure that your voter information records are up to date. For example, if you have moved since you registered to vote, your ballot cannot be forwarded to a new address even if you submitted a change of address form with the U.S. post office. So, promptly update the mailing address in your voter records online at www.govotecolorado.com or in person by completing a voter registration form at the county clerk and recorder’s office in the county where you now live.
If you are a college student living away from home, you have the option of registering to vote at your hometown address and requesting that your hometown clerk and recorder mail an absentee ballot to your school address. Alternatively, you have the option of registering in the county where you are living while attending college and receiving a ballot from that locale. Just remember that you cannot have more than one legal residence for purposes of voter registration or voting.
Finally, certain information in your voter record is, by Colorado statute, publicly available information although how you voted is never available to any person or governmental entity. If you recently de-registered out of fear of the misuse of publicly available information, please re-register. Failing to register and vote simply ensures that your voice is silenced. However, if you have been a victim of domestic violence, sexual offenses, stalking or otherwise fear exposure to criminal harassment or bodily harm, you can obtain confidential voter status by filling out a voter confidentiality form at your local county clerk and recorder’s office.
History has taught us that democracy requires the active and informed engagement of all citizens. Please register, participate in your local governmental affairs and vote like your life depended upon it because it certainly does!