DENVER (KDVR) – Gov. Jared Polis has signed a state bill that helps solidify the voting rights of a select minority facing a litany of rebuilding challenges.
Countless hurdles have risen from the ashes left behind by the Marshall Fire since it claimed over 1,000 structures in the Boulder area while racking up over $1 billion in damages. One such obstacle in the way of a return to normal life for these natural disaster victims is finding out where their voting district is now that they have been displaced.
Polis signed SB22-152 into law on Wednesday. It allows Marshall Fire victims who are already registered as Colorado voters, and who are planning to return to their currently uninhabitable properties, to use those addresses to vote.
“This law offers voters displaced by the fire the peace of mind that they will still be able to easily cast their ballot in their communities,” said Rep. Tracey Bernett, D-Louisville.
According to the new law, the address that displaced victims use for vehicle registration, as well as for tax purposes, does not need to match the address used for voting purposes. This applies to both renters and homeowners.
When it comes to what this law will do in regard to future disasters and the resulting victims, it extends identical protections for Colorado’s voters displaced by natural disasters that include fires, floods and tornados.
“No person should have to worry about accessing the ballot box during such an incredibly difficult time, and these voters should be able to cast a ballot on the issues and candidates for the community that they truly call home,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
To receive a ballot, you can update your alternative mailing address with the Colorado Secretary of State while keeping your voting address the same.
The bill that was unanimously voted through the House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs committee on March 28, was sponsored by Sens. Stephen Fenberg, Sonya Jaquez Lewis and Reps. Matt Gray and Tracey Bernett.