WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation into law that expands ballot access and establishes safeguards against unnecessary and deceptive recall efforts. Senate Bill 250 was passed by the Democratic legislature in mid-June, without Republican support. The new law makes a series of changes to Colorado election law, including:
- Automatically updating voter registration data when voters interact with other state agencies or Medicaid.
- Requiring colleges to distribute information on registering to vote to students each semester.
- Limits the placement of drop boxes at or near police stations, which could intimidate voters.
- Requires drop boxes to stay open on Election Night until everyone in line by polls close time has dropped off their ballot.
- Establish new parameters around recall elections, including requiring petitioners to disclose if they are paid when collecting signatures and for all petitions to declare the estimated cost of the recall election.
Republicans in Colorado have frequently attempted to recall elected officials to further their political goals: in the first few months of 2019, after Democrats won a trifecta in the state’s government in the 2018 elections, Republicans attempted five separate recall elections. Voting advocates worry that these recalls are an effort by Republicans to win seats in low-turnout elections, despite losing during general elections when more Coloradans show up to the polls. SB 250 establishes additional limits on recall efforts and requires higher standards of disclosure.