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colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Mail Ballot Elections

1-7.5-107. Procedures for conducting mail ballot election – primary elections – first-time voters casting a mail ballot after having registered by mail to vote – in-person request for ballot – repeal

Statute

(1) Official ballots shall be prepared and all other preelection procedures followed as otherwise provided by law or rules promulgated by the secretary of state; except that mail ballot packets shall be prepared in accordance with this article.

(2) (a) For a municipal mail ballot election that is not coordinated with the county clerk and recorder, no later than thirty days prior to election day, the county clerk and recorder shall submit to the designated election official of the municipality conducting the mail ballot election a full and complete preliminary list of registered electors. For a special district mail ballot election that is not coordinated with the county clerk and recorder, the county clerk and recorder and county assessor of each county in which a special district is located shall certify and submit to the designated election official a list of property owners and a list of registered electors residing within the affected district.

(b) No later than twenty days prior to election day, the county clerk and recorder and county assessor required to submit a preliminary list in accordance with paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) shall submit to the appropriate authority a supplemental list of the names of eligible electors or property owners whose names were not included on the preliminary list.

(c) All lists of registered electors and lists of property owners provided to a designated election official under this section shall include the last mailing address of each elector.

(2.3) (a) Not less than thirty days nor more than forty-five days before a primary election, the county clerk and recorder shall mail a notice by forwardable mail to each unaffiliated active registered eligible elector.

(b) The notice shall indicate that the unaffiliated elector has the ability to and must affiliate with a political party in order to vote in the primary election.

(c) The notice shall have a returnable portion that allows the elector to request affiliation with a political party.

(d) The notice may be included with any other communication by mail from the county clerk and recorder to electors within the county.

(2.5) (a) (I) No later than twenty days before a general, primary, or other mail ballot election, the county clerk and recorder or designated election official shall provide notice by publication of a mail ballot election conducted pursuant to the provisions of this article, which notice shall state, as applicable for the particular election for which the notice is provided, the items set forth in section 1-5-205 (1) (a) to (1) (c).

(II) For a primary mail ballot election, in addition to the items described in the notice required by subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a), such notice shall advise eligible electors who are not affiliated with a political party of the ability to declare an affiliation with a political party and vote in the primary election.

(b) The notice required to be given by this subsection (2.5) shall be in lieu of the notice requirements set forth in sections 1-5-205 (1) and 31-10-501 (1), C.R.S., as applicable for the particular election for which such notice is required.

(2.7) Subsequent to the preparation of ballots in accordance with section 1-5-402 but prior to the mailing required under subsection (3) of this section, a designated election official shall provide a mail ballot to a registered elector requesting the ballot at the designated election official’s office or the office designated in the mail ballot plan filed with the secretary of state.

(3) (a) (I) Not sooner than twenty-two days before a general, primary, or other mail ballot election, and no later than eighteen days before the election, except as provided in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (a), the county clerk and recorder or designated election official shall mail to each active registered elector, at the last mailing address appearing in the registration records and in accordance with United States postal service regulations, a mail ballot packet, which shall be marked “DO NOT FORWARD. ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED.”, or any other similar statement that is in accordance with United States postal service regulations. Nothing in this subsection (3) affects any provision of this code governing the delivery of mail ballots to an absent uniformed services elector, nonresident overseas elector, or resident overseas elector covered by the federal “Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1973ff et seq.

(II) For a primary mail ballot election for a minor political party candidate, the mail ballot packet shall be mailed only to those registered electors who are affiliated with the minor political party of such candidate.

(b) The ballot or ballot label shall contain the following warning:


WARNING:


Any person who, by use of force or other means, unduly influences an eligible elector to vote in any particular manner or to refrain from voting, or who falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits any mail ballot before or after it has been cast, or who destroys, defaces, mutilates, or tampers with a ballot is subject, upon conviction, to imprisonment, or to a fine, or both.

(b.5) (I) The return envelope shall have printed on it a self-affirmation substantially in the following form:


I state under penalty of perjury that I am an eligible elector; that my signature and name are as shown on this envelope; that I have not and will not cast any vote in this election except by the enclosed ballot; and that my ballot is enclosed in accord with the provisions of the “Uniform Election Code of 1992”.

……………………….. ………………………..

Date Signature of voter

(II) The signing of the self-affirmation on the return envelope shall constitute an affirmation by the eligible elector, under penalty of perjury, that the facts stated in the self-affirmation are true. If the eligible elector is unable to sign, the eligible elector may affirm by making a mark on the self-affirmation, with or without assistance, witnessed by another person.

(III) The return envelope shall not be required to have a flap covering the signature or otherwise impede the use of a signature verification device.

(c) For a special district mail ballot election, no sooner than twenty-two days prior to election day, and until 7 p.m. on election day, mail ballots shall be made available at the designated election official’s office, or the office designated in the mail ballot plan filed with the secretary of state, for eligible electors who are not listed on the list of property owners or the registration list but who are authorized to vote pursuant to section 32-1-806, C.R.S., or other applicable law.

(d) An eligible elector may obtain a replacement ballot if the ballot was destroyed, spoiled, lost, or for some other reason not received by the eligible elector. An eligible elector may obtain a ballot if a mail ballot packet was not sent to the elector because the eligibility of the elector could not be determined at the time the mail ballot packets were mailed. The designated election official shall keep a record of each ballot issued in accordance with this paragraph (d) together with a list of each ballot obtained pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subsection (3).

(3.5) (a) Unless otherwise provided by section 1-2-501 (1.5), the requirements of this subsection (3.5) shall apply to a person who registered to vote by mail in accordance with part 5 of article 2 of this title and who:

(I) Has not previously voted in an election in Colorado; or

(II) Is reregistering to vote after moving from one county in this state to another and the election in which the person intends to vote takes place prior to the creation by the department of state of a computerized statewide voter registration list that satisfies the requirements of part 3 of article 2 of this title.

(b) Any person who matches either of the descriptions specified in subparagraph (I) or (II) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (3.5) and intends to cast his or her ballot by mail in accordance with this article shall submit with his or her mail ballot a copy of identification within the meaning of section 1-1-104 (19.5).

(c) The county clerk and recorder or designated election official shall include with the mail ballot packet required by paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of this section written instructions advising an elector who matches the description specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3.5) of the manner in which the elector shall be in compliance with the requirements contained in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3.5).

(d) Any person who desires to cast his or her ballot by mail but does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b) of this subsection (3.5) may cast such ballot by mail. The county clerk and recorder or designated election official shall, within three days after the receipt of a mail ballot that does not contain a copy of identification as defined in section 1-1-104 (19.5), but in no event later than two days after election day, send to the eligible elector at the address indicated in the registration records a letter explaining the lack of compliance with paragraph (b) of this subsection (3.5). If the county clerk and recorder or designated election official receives a copy of identification in compliance with paragraph (b) of this subsection (3.5) within eight days after election day, and if the mail ballot is otherwise valid, the mail ballot shall be counted.

(e) The requirements of this subsection (3.5) shall be implemented by state and local election officials in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the requirements of this subsection (3.5) shall not apply to any person who is:

(I) Entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the federal “Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1973ff et seq.;

(II) Provided the right to vote otherwise than in person under section (b) (2) (B) (ii) of the federal “Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1973ee-1; or

(III) Entitled to vote otherwise than in person under any other federal law.

(4) (a) Upon receipt of a ballot, the eligible elector shall mark the ballot, sign and complete the self-affirmation on the return envelope, enclose identification if required by subsection (3.5) of this section, and comply with the instructions provided with the ballot.

(b) (I) The eligible elector may:

(A) Return the marked ballot to the county clerk and recorder or designated election official by United States mail or by depositing the ballot at the office of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official or any voter service and polling center or drop-off location designated by the county clerk and recorder or designated election official as specified in the mail ballot plan filed with the secretary of state. The ballot must be returned in the return envelope.

(B) Deliver the ballot to any person of the elector’s own choice or to any duly authorized agent of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official for mailing or personal delivery; except that no person other than a duly authorized agent of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official may receive more than ten mail ballots in any election for mailing or delivery; or

(C) Cast his or her vote in person at the voter service and polling center.

(II) If an eligible elector returns the ballot by mail, the elector must provide postage. The ballot shall be received at the office of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official or a designated drop-off location, which shall remain open until 7 p.m. on election day. All envelopes containing mail ballots must be in the hands of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official no later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. Mail ballot envelopes received after 7 p.m. on the day of the election but postmarked on or before the day of the election will remain sealed and uncounted, but the elector’s registration record shall not be canceled for failure to vote in a general election. For an election coordinated by the county clerk and recorder, the drop-off location other than secure drop boxes shall be designated by the county clerk and recorder and located in a secure place under the supervision of a municipal clerk, an election judge, or a member of the clerk and recorder’s staff. For a mail ballot election not coordinated by the county clerk and recorder, the drop-off location shall be designated by the designated election official and located in a secure place under the supervision of the designated election official, an election judge, or another person designated by the designated election official.

(III) A person who delivers a ballot on behalf of an elector pursuant to sub-subparagraph (B) of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b) is not deemed to be voting more than once pursuant to section 1-13-710.

(IV) Nothing in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (b) affects or supersedes provisions regarding the timely casting and counting of ballots under section 1-8.3-111 or 1-8.3-113.

(c) and (d) Repealed.

(4.3) (a) For any election, other than a general election, for which a county clerk and recorder is the designated election official, there must be a minimum number of mail ballot drop-off locations where mail ballots may be deposited equal to at least one drop-off location for each thirty thousand active registered electors in the county; except that, if the district or political subdivision for which the election is being conducted is less populous than the county, the county clerk and recorder shall designate at least one mail ballot drop-off location for each thirty thousand current active registered electors eligible to vote in that election. The drop-off locations shall be arrayed throughout the county in a manner that provides the greatest convenience to electors.

(b) The minimum number of drop-off locations described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (4.3) shall accept mail ballots delivered by electors during, at a minimum, the four days prior to and including the day of the election; except that mail ballots are not required to be accepted on Sundays. Mail ballots shall be accepted from electors at drop-off locations during, at a minimum, reasonable business hours.

(4.5) (a) (I) For any primary or November coordinated election, the county clerk and recorder shall designate voter service and polling centers equal to no fewer than the number of county motor vehicle offices in the county; except that each county shall have no fewer than one voter service and polling center, and, for counties with fewer than twenty-five thousand active electors, as that term is described in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (a), only one voter service and polling center is required. The county clerk and recorder may add additional voter service and polling center locations as necessary.

(II) (A) Prior to November 8, 2016, the number of active electors in a county for the purposes of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a) is the number of active electors on the date of the 2012 general election plus the number of voters marked “Inactive – failed to vote” on that date.

(B) On and after November 8, 2016, for the purposes of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a), the number of active electors in a county is the number of active electors registered in the county on the date of the previous presidential election.

(C) Sub-subparagraph (A) of this subparagraph (II) and this subparagraph (C) are repealed, effective January 1, 2017.

(b) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2013.)

(b.5) For any election, other than a general, primary, or November coordinated election, for which the county clerk and recorder is the designated election official, the county clerk and recorder shall designate at least one voter service and polling center for each thirty thousand current active registered electors who are eligible to vote in that election.

(c) The minimum number of voter service and polling centers shall be open during, at a minimum, the eight days prior to and including the day of the election; except that voter service and polling centers are not required to be open on Sundays.

(d) In designating voter service and polling centers under this subsection (4.5), a county clerk and recorder shall take into account the factors described under section 1-5-102.9 (1) (c) (I).

(5) (a) Once the ballot is returned, an election judge shall first qualify the submitted ballot by comparing the information on the return envelope with the registration records to determine whether the ballot was submitted by an eligible elector who has not previously voted in the election. If the ballot so qualifies and is otherwise valid, the election judge shall indicate in the pollbook that the eligible elector cast a ballot and deposit the ballot in an official ballot box.

(b) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2010, (HB 10-1116), ch. 194, p. 834, § 20, effective May 5, 2010.)

(c) For any election conducted with or coordinated by a county clerk and recorder, the signature of the eligible elector on the return envelope shall be compared with the signature of the eligible elector on file in the office of the county clerk and recorder or in the statewide voter registration system in accordance with section 1-7.5-107.3.

(6) All deposited ballots shall be counted as provided in this article and by rules promulgated by the secretary of state. A mail ballot is valid and shall be counted only if it is returned in the return envelope, the self-affirmation on the return envelope is signed and completed by the eligible elector to whom the ballot was issued, and the information on the return envelope is verified in accordance with subsection (5) of this section. Mail ballots shall be counted in the same manner provided by section 1-7-307 for counting paper ballots or section 1-7-507 for counting electronic ballots. If the election official determines that an eligible elector to whom a replacement ballot has been issued has returned more than one ballot, the first ballot received is the accepted ballot. All candidates and issues for which the voter is eligible to vote will be counted on the accepted ballot. Rejected ballots shall be handled in the same manner as provided in sections 1-7.5-204 and 1-7.5-210.

(7) If, by the close of polls, an elector deposits a ballot at a drop-off location in a county in which the elector does not reside, the county clerk and recorder, upon discovering that fact, shall timely deliver the ballot to the county clerk and recorder of the county in which the elector resides, who shall accept the ballot for processing.

 

Source: L. 92: Entire article R&RE, p. 754, § 10, effective January 1, 1993.L. 93: (3)(c) and (5) amended, p. 1767, § 10, effective June 6; (2)(b) amended, p. 1423, § 84, effective July 1.L. 94: (2)(a), (3)(c), (3)(d), and (4)(b) amended, p. 1167, § 41, effective July 1.L. 95: (2), (3)(a), (3)(d), and (5) amended, p. 841, § 62, effective July 1.L. 96: (2)(b) and (6) amended, pp. 1749, 1774, § § 45, 79, effective July 1.L. 97: (3)(a) and (3)(c) amended, p. 186, § 6, effective August 6.L. 99: (2.5) added, p. 776, § 58, effective May 20.L. 2001: (3)(b.5) added and (6) amended, pp. 1003, 1004, § § 11, 12, effective August 8.L. 2002: (4)(b) amended, p. 1634, § 17, effective June 7.L. 2003: (3)(b.5), (4), (5), and (6) amended, p. 1278, § 6, effective April 22; (3.5) added, p. 2078, § 15, effective May 22.L. 2004: (4)(a) and (5)(b) amended and (4)(c) and (4)(d) repealed, pp. 1053, 1054, § § 6, 9, effective May 21.L. 2005: (3.5)(d) and (5)(b) amended, p. 1410, § 28, effective June 6; (3.5)(d) and (5)(b) amended, p. 1445, § 28, effective June 6.L. 2006: IP(3.5)(a) amended, p. 2033, § 13, effective June 6.L. 2007: (6) amended, p. 1981, § 31, effective August 3.L. 2008: (3)(b.5)(III) added and (5)(c) amended, p. 358, § § 3, 4, effective April 10.L. 2009: (2.3), (4.3), and (4.5) added and (2.5)(a), (3)(a), and (3)(c) amended, (HB 09-1015), ch. 259, p. 1185, § 6, effective August 5; (3)(b.5)(I) amended, (HB 09-1216), ch. 165, p. 729, § 3, effective August 5; (3.5)(d) amended,(HB 09-1337), ch. 262, p. 1201, § 1, effective August 5.L. 2010: (3)(a)(I), (4.3)(b), (4.5)(c), and (5)(b) amended, (HB 10-1116), ch. 194, p. 834, § 20, effective May 5.L. 2012: (2.7) added and (5)(c) amended, (HB 12-1292), ch. 181, p. 686, § 33, effective May 17.L. 2013: (2)(a), (2.3)(a), (2.5)(a), (3)(a), (3)(c), (3)(d), (3.5)(c), (3.5)(d), (4)(b), (4.3), (4.5), and (6) amended, (HB 13-1303), ch. 185, p. 727, § 86, effective May 10.L. 2014: (4.3)(a) and (4.5)(a) amended and (4)(b)(IV), (4.5)(b.5), and (7) added, (SB 14-161), ch. 160, p. 563, § 17, effective May 9; (3)(a)(II) amended, (HB 14-1363), ch. 302, p. 1261, § 1, effective May 31.

 

Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § 1-7.5-107 as it existed prior to 1992.

Cross references: In 2013, subsections (2)(a), (2.3)(a), (2.5)(a), (3)(a), (3)(c), (3)(d), (3.5)(c), (3.5)(d), (4)(b), (4.3), (4.5), and (6) were 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

Requirement that voter affix a postage stamp to a mail ballot in order to vote in a mail ballot election does not constitute an unconstitutional poll tax. Bruce v. City of Colo. Springs, 971 P.2d 679 (Colo. App. 1998).

City’s failure to include the words “address correction requested” on the mail ballot packet did not constitute a lack of substantial compliance with this section. Bruce v. City of Colo. Springs, 971 P.2d 679 (Colo. App. 1998).
Annotation: June 13, 2016 5:31 pm

The rules define “electronic ballot” as a non-paper ballot such as on a touch screen or through audio feedback. After a voter casts an electronic ballot, the voter’s choices must be:
(a) Marked and printed on a paper ballot for subsequent counting by an optical scanner; or
(b) Digitally recorded and counted by the touch screen device, commonly referred to as a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) device.

Definition [Election day]

The date either established by law or determined by the governing body of the political subdivision conducting the election, to be the final day on which all ballots are determined to be due, and the date from which all other dates in this article are set.C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

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 [Return envelope]

An envelope that is printed with spaces for the name and address of, and a self-affirmation to be signed by, an eligible elector voting in a mail ballot election, that contains a secrecy envelope and ballot for the elector, and that is designed to allow election officials, upon examining the signature, name, and address on the outside of the envelope, to determine whether the enclosed ballot is being submitted by an eligible elector who has not previously voted in that particular election. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Political party]

Any group of registered electors who, by petition or assembly, nominate candidates for the official general election ballot. “Political party” includes affiliated party organizations at the state, county, and election district levels, and all such affiliates are considered to be a single entity for the purposes of this article, except as otherwise provided in section 7. Section 2(13) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

Definition [Uniformed service]

(a) Active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard of the United States;

(b) The merchant marine, the commissioned corps of the public health service, or the commissioned corps of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration of the United States; or

(c) The National Guard.

C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Mail ballot packet]

The packet of information provided by the designated election official to eligible electors in the mail ballot election and to persons preregistered to vote pursuant to section 1-2-101(2) who will be eighteen years of age on the date of the mail ballot election. The packet includes the ballot, instructions for completing the ballot, a secrecy envelope or sleeve, and a return envelope. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Mail ballot election]

An election for which eligible electors receive ballots by mail and vote by mailing those ballots, depositing the ballots at, as applicable, drop-off locations or voter service and polling centers, or, as applicable, by voting at a voter service and polling center. The term does not include an independent mail ballot election. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Political subdivision]

A governing subdivision of the state, including counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Designated election official]

The secretary of state, a county clerk and recorder, or other election official as provided by article XXI of the state constitution. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.

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 [Person]

Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

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.

Definition [Secretary]

The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.

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