DENVER (KDVR) — A GOP-heralded bill aimed at limiting the average voter’s ability to submit an early ballot by mail in Colorado has failed in committee.
The main goal of HB22-1204, introduced by Rep. Ron Hanks, was to limit both the option to partake in early voting and the option to vote by mail in Colorado.
The bill was postponed indefinitely Monday in the House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs committee.
This restriction on voters would have been compounded with the execution of the bill’s measure that would have required the secretary of state to withdraw from any electronic registration information systems within 30 days of the bill’s implementation.
“Vote-by-mail and early voting have led to Colorado having some of the highest voter participation rates in the country, especially among Black and Latino voters,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “This bill is nothing more than an attempt to deny Coloradans their fundamental right to vote.”
Voting in Colorado: By the numbers
According to House Democrats:
- 98% of voters in 2021 voted by mail
- 94% of 2020 General Election ballots returned via mail or drop box
- 86% of voters returned their ballot before Election Day
- 75% was the Turnout Rate for Coloradon’s during the 2020 General Election
- This makes Colorado the state with the second highest turnout rate in the country
According to the failed bill, voters would have also been required to cast their ballots in person at the voters’ precinct polling place on Election Day, unless they had completed a valid request for an absentee ballot.
To qualify for an absentee ballot under HB22-1204, you would have had to meet one of the following requirements:
- Will be out of state on Election Day.
- Is hospitalized or in a nursing home.
- Has a visual impairment.
- Is a uniformed overseas voter.
Another parameter of the bill would have required all ballot-counting to be performed by hand and completed within 24 hours of the polls closing.
If county clerks and recorders planned to change a precinct’s polling location, then they must give the impacted electors two years’ notice. This wouldn’t have applied to emergency situations that render polling locations unusable.
The bill would have required county clerks and recorders to use schools and government buildings as polling places exclusively, when possible.
Bill filed on wave of 2020 election conspiracies
Hanks, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the bill, represents Chaffee, Custer, Fremont and Park counties. He has denied the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The introduction of this bill comes as the Republican Mesa County Clerk, Tina Peters, who also denies the 2020 election results, is indicted on 10 counts in relation to conspiracy and misconduct charges stemming from her role in alleged election security breaches.
“Vote-by-mail and early voting have led to Colorado having some of the highest voter participation rates in the country, especially among Black and Latino voters. This bill is nothing more than an attempt to deny Coloradans their fundamental right to vote,” Bacon said.
This attempt at changing access to voting for electors nationwide failed but the conspiracies that fueled the claims of election fraud following the 2020 General Election could continue into the midterms and beyond.