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Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Notice Of And Preparation For Elections

1-5-101. Establishing precincts and polling places for partisan elections

Overview of Statute

The county clerk and recorder must divide the county into as many precincts as convenient for all voters, subject to the listed criteria, and also designate a polling place for each precinct. Natural and artificial boundaries should be taken into consideration in establishing boundaries. Additional guidelines dictate the use of precinct boundaries, including the process for drawing precinct boundaries after redistricting related to the decennial census.

Statute

(1) Subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, the county clerk and recorder of each county shall divide the county into as many election precincts for all general, primary, and congressional vacancy elections as is convenient for the eligible electors of the county and shall designate the place for each precinct at which elections are to be held. In establishing boundaries, the board of county commissioners shall take into consideration natural and artificial boundaries that meet the requirements of the United States bureau of the census. The precincts shall be numbered in accordance with section 1-5-101.5. Changes in the precinct boundaries of a county shall be made only within the district boundaries of each representative and senatorial district.

(2) In counties that use paper ballots, the county clerk and recorder, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, shall establish at least one precinct for every six hundred active eligible electors, with boundaries that take into consideration municipal and school district boundary lines whenever possible. However, the county clerk and recorder, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, may establish one precinct for every seven hundred fifty active eligible electors.

(3) In a county that uses an electronic or electromechanical voting system, the county clerk and recorder, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, shall establish at least one precinct for every one thousand five hundred active eligible electors. However, the county clerk and recorder, subject to approval by the board, may establish one precinct for every two thousand active eligible electors.

(4) Repealed.

(5) Notwithstanding section 1-5-103, and except as otherwise required by federal law, in order to facilitate the preparation of a computerized database for use in the redistricting process that will take place after the decennial census in years ending in the number zero, the precinct boundaries established by the county clerk and recorder of each county, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, that are used in the general election in years ending in the number eight shall remain in effect until after the general election in years ending in the number zero; except that the precincts so established may be subdivided within the boundaries of the original precinct and adjacent precincts may be aggregated for purposes of data collection. In establishing precinct boundaries pursuant to the provisions of this subsection (5), county clerk and recorders and boards of county commissioners shall, to the extent reasonably possible, utilize natural and man-made boundaries that meet the requirements for visible features adopted by the United States bureau of the census. If the precinct boundaries used in the general election in years ending in the number eight are changed prior to the next general election in years ending in the number zero pursuant to federal law, the county clerk and recorders shall timely submit in writing to the director of research of the legislative council a list showing the precincts for which the boundaries have changed.

(6) Repealed.

 

Source: L. 92: Entire article R&RE, p. 700, § 8, effective January 1, 1993.L. 95: Entire section amended, p. 835, § 45, effective July 1.L. 97: (5) added, p. 1056, § 2, effective May 27; (4) added, p. 5, § 1, effective August 6.L. 98: (6) added, p. 635, § 8, effective May 6.L. 99: (4) amended, p. 1389, § 7, effective June 4.L. 2000: (1) amended, p. 265, § 2, effective August 2.L. 2004: (4) repealed, p. 1104, § 2, effective May 27; (3) amended, p. 1343, § 4, effective May 28.L. 2007: (6) amended, p. 1778, § 12, effective June 1.L. 2008: (5) amended, p. 1743, § 4, effective July 1.L. 2013: (6) amended, (HB 13-1303), ch. 185, p. 703, § 29, effective May 10.

 

Editor’s note: Articles 1 to 13 were numbered as articles 1, 3, 4, 9 to 19, and 21 of chapter 49, C.R.S. 1963. The substantive provisions of these articles were repealed and reenacted in 1980, resulting in the addition, relocation, and elimination of sections as well as subject matter. For amendments to these articles prior to 1980, consult the Colorado statutory research explanatory note and the table itemizing the replacement volumes and supplements to the original volume of C.R.S. 1973 beginning on page vii in the front of this volume. Former C.R.S. numbers prior to 1980 are shown in editor’s notes following those sections that were relocated. For a detailed comparison of these articles for 1980, see the comparative tables located in the back of the index.

Cross references: For school elections, see articles 30, 31, and 42 of title 22; for elections for removal of county seats, see article 8 of title 30; for municipal elections, see article 10 of title 31; for special district elections, see part 8 of article 1 of title 32; for exemption of certain statutory proceedings from the rules of civil procedure, see C.R.C.P. 81; for recall from office, see article XXI of the state constitution; for recall of state and county officers, see part 1 of article 12 of this title; for recall of municipal officers, see part 5 of article 4 of title 31; for recall of directors of special districts, see § § 32-1-906, 32-1-907.

Editor’s note: Articles 1 to 13 were repealed and reenacted in 1980, and this article was subsequently repealed and reenacted in 1992, resulting in the addition, relocation, and elimination of sections as well as subject matter. For amendments to this article prior to 1992, consult the Colorado statutory research explanatory note and the table itemizing the replacement volumes and supplements to the original volume of C.R.S. 1973 beginning on page vii in the front of this volume and the editor’s note following the title heading. Former C.R.S. section numbers are shown in editor’s notes following those sections that were relocated in 1992. For a detailed comparison of this article for 1980 and 1992, see the comparative tables located in the back of the index.

Cross references: For early voters’ polling place, see § 1-8-204.

Editor’s note: (1) This section is similar to former § 1-6-101 (1) as it existed prior to 1992.

(2) Subsection (6)(b) provided for the repeal of subsection (6), effective July 1, 2015. (See L. 2013, p. 703.)

Cross references: (1) For transferring names of electors when precinct boundaries changed, see § 1-2-223; for the power of the board of county commissioners to form new precincts, change the names of precincts, or reduce the numbers of precincts, see § 30-11-114.

(2) For the legislative declaration contained in the 2004 act amending subsection (3), see section 1 of chapter 334, Session Laws of Colorado 2004.

(3) In 2013, subsection (6) was amended by the “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act”. For the short title and the legislative declaration, see sections 1 and 2 of chapter 185, Session Laws of Colorado 2013.

 

ANNOTATION

Annotator’s note. The following annotations include cases decided under former provisions similar to this section.

Judicial notice taken of boundaries of election precincts. Courts take judicial notice of matters of common knowledge in the community where they sit, such as the boundaries of election precincts. Nat’l Optical Co. v. United States Fid. Guar. Co., 77 Colo. 130, 235 P. 343 (1925); Antlers Athletic Ass’n v. Hartung, 85 Colo. 125, 274 P. 831 (1928); Israel v. Wood, 93 Colo. 500, 27 P.2d 1024 (1933).

And a court will take judicial notice of the fact that there has been a precinct established in a county, it not being material whether the precinct was established upon proper petition or by virtue of authority so to do under this section. Bd. of Comm’rs v. People ex rel. McPherson, 36 Colo. 246, 91 P. 36 (1906).

Whereupon a mandamus proceeding will be dismissed. When a court takes judicial notice that an election precinct has been established, a mandamus proceeding to compel the board of county commissioners to establish such precinct pending upon review in such court will be dismissed, there being no live question for determination. Bd. of Comm’rs v. People ex rel. McPherson, 36 Colo. 246, 91 P. 36 (1906).

Applied in

Carstens v. Lamm, 543 F. Supp. 68 (D. Colo. 1982).

 

Definition [United States]

Used in the territorial sense, means the several states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Ballot]

(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;

(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or

(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.

(2) “Covered voter” means:

(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;

(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or

(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.

C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Election]

Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.