The official website for Colorado Senator Mike Johnston (D-Denver)

SB 12-109: Maintaining Voting Lists

Click here to read the proposed legislation.

The Problem with the Current System

  • Currently, Colorado voters who miss one general election are deemed “Inactive – Failed to Vote” (IFTV) in the state-wide registration system, known as SCORE II (Statewide Colorado Registration and Election System). As a result, for general elections, election officials are not required to automatically send IFTV voters a mail ballot.
  • Voters who had requested to be on the Permanent Vote by Mail (PVBM) list who were deemed inactive are no longer on the PVBM list and will not receive mail ballots in 2012 or subsequent elections.

What SB12-109 Does

  • Eliminates the status of “Inactive – Failed to Vote.”
  • Requires that all voters currently deemed IFTV be made active, and clarifies that all voters who were IFTV and signed up on the PVBM list are restored to the PVBM list.
  • Maintains the category of “Inactive – Returned Mail” for voters whose addresses are not correct.
  • Allows the Secretary of State and county clerks to use National Change Of Address (NCOA) data to update voter records. Requires that the NCOA check/voter record updates be done:
    • 60 days after each general, municipal, primary and coordinated election.
    • 60 days before each general, municipal, primary and coordinated election.
    • At other times as decided by SOS/ Clerk.
  • If the NCOA search indicates a change of address within the county, the address will be updated and a confirmation card will be sent to the voter.
  • If the NCOA search indicates that a voter has moved outside of the county, the record will be marked “Inactive – Returned Mail” and a confirmation card will be sent to the voter.
  • Only cancels the voter’s record if the voter submits in writing that they have moved out of the State of Colorado or if they remain on the “Inactive – Returned Mail” status through two consecutive even-year General Elections.

Why We Need It

  • SB12-109 would improve accuracy of the voter registration database, decrease the number of undeliverable ballots in an election, decrease the number of provisional ballots, and limit fraud.
  • Clarification of this class of voters is urgently required to ensure uniformity in guaranteeing citizens’ fundamental right to vote. Missing an election shouldn’t change an eligible voter’s right to participate in subsequent elections. Similarly, a voter’s request to be a Permanent Vote by Mail voter should not be disregarded even when they miss an election.
  • The process of inactivating voters for failing to vote is convoluted, inefficient, and is not cost effective for the counties. For Denver alone, adoption of SB12-109 would result in an estimated savings of $50,000 in the 2012 election cycle.

What Other States are Doing

  • 20 other States currently use the NCOA data to update voter registration lists.