The bill makes changes to the laws governing elections. The secretary of state is required, within 30 days after the effective date of the bill, to withdraw the state from participation in the electronic registration information system.
Voters are required to cast their ballots in person at the voters' precinct polling place on election day, unless the voter has completed a valid request for an absentee ballot. A voter may request an absentee ballot if the voter will be out of the state on election day, is hospitalized or in a nursing home, has a visual impairment, or is a uniformed overseas voter. All ballots are required to be counted by hand. Counting and canvassing must be completed within 24 hours after polls close. County clerk and recorders are required to mail ballots to electors prior to election day, with written instructions advising that the voter must appear in person at a precinct polling place to cast the ballot. A person is required to show a valid state-issued identification to vote.
County clerk and recorders are required to divide the county into precincts and to designate adequate and reasonable polling places in each precinct. County clerk and recorders are required to use schools and government buildings as polling places when possible and are prohibited from changing a polling place in a precinct unless the electors of the precinct are given 2 years notice, or in the event of an emergency rendering the original polling place unusable.
The bill establishes new requirements for the certification and use of electronic voting systems. The secretary of state (secretary) is required to create a committee consisting of a member of the faculty in the engineering department at a state institution of higher education, a member of the state bar of Colorado, and one person familiar with voting processes in the state. The committee must test voting systems and make recommendations to the secretary, who is then required to make final adoption of the systems to be certified for use in the state. Use of electronic voting systems is limited to complying with accessibility requirements for voters who are blind or visually impaired established in the bill.
The bill makes additional changes to the election laws, including:
- Requiring county clerk and recorders to send sample ballot proofs of primary ballots to party committee chairs, and to send a proof of the general election ballot to any candidate who was not on the primary ballot;
- Establishing a 100-foot limit around polling places, requiring voters to promptly leave the 100-foot area after voting, and allowing electioneering activity outside the 100-foot limit except in specific circumstances;
- Requiring ballots to be printed on anti-fraud paper;
- Allowing a court to order a recount when presented with facts that require one; and
- Establishing new election offenses related to unlawful acts by voters and other persons.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)