1-8.3-104. Role of secretary of state
(1) The secretary of state is the state official responsible for implementing this article and the state’s responsibilities under the federal “Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1973ff et seq.
(2) The secretary of state shall make available to covered voters information regarding voter registration procedures for covered voters and procedures for casting ballots. The secretary of state may delegate the responsibility under this subsection (2) only to the state office designated in compliance with section 102 (b) (1) of the federal “Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1973ff-1 (b) (1).
(3) The secretary of state shall establish an electronic transmission system through which a covered voter may apply for and receive voter registration materials, ballots, and other information under this article.
(4) The secretary of state shall:
(a) Develop standardized absentee-voting materials, including privacy and transmission envelopes and their electronic equivalents, authentication materials, and voting instructions, to be used with the ballot of a voter authorized to vote in any jurisdiction in this state; and
(b) To the extent reasonably possible, coordinate with other states to carry out this subsection (4).
(5) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form and content of a declaration for use by a covered voter to swear or affirm specific representations pertaining to the voter’s identity, eligibility to vote, status as a covered voter, and timely and proper completion of a ballot. The declaration shall be based on the declaration prescribed to accompany a federal write-in absentee ballot, as modified to be consistent with this article. The secretary of state shall ensure that a form for the execution of the declaration, including an indication of the date of execution of the declaration, is a prominent part of all balloting materials for which the declaration is required.
Source: L. 2011: Entire article added, (HB 11-1219), ch. 176, p. 666, § 1, effective May 13.
Each state will need to supply the appropriate title for its chief elections authority, whether it is the Secretary of State, head or director of the State Board of Elections, or other official or entity. Where this authority is an organization, rather than an individual, the phrase “state official” in subsection (1) may also merit alternative phrasing. The expectation is that this authority in turn will delegate its duties at least in part to the same office that the state has designated to fulfill the UOCAVA requirement that the state designate a state office to facilitate the state’s compliance with the UOCAVA. Other duties may naturally devolve to local election officials, depending on how the state has structured its election processes generally.
In most states, the implementing authority specified in subsection (1) presumably already has authority to promulgate rules according to the existing rulemaking procedures of the state. States in which this rulemaking authority is not already established may wish to include additional language establishing authority to make rules to implement this act.
The requirement that states develop “standardized” voting materials is not meant to require statewide uniformity in voting equipment and processes where such uniformity does not already exist. Thus, in states using different voting systems in different jurisdictions around the state, “standardized” voting materials may include one standard for jurisdictions using one system, and another standard for jurisdictions using another system. Nevertheless, the state’s chief elections authority should work with local election officials to simplify and standardize as much as possible the materials provided to voters, including developing standard identifying labels and other markings on such materials to expedite their handling. Such standardization is critical primarily because it will simplify the voting experiences of covered voters and enable a variety of support groups to provide more effective assistance to these voters as a group. Greater uniformity also should ease administrative duties and facilitate future reforms to the voting process.
The “electronic equivalent” of privacy envelopes and transmission envelopes means at a minimum a template or instructions to accompany the electronic delivery of an unvoted ballot that assist the voter to prepare and use appropriate envelopes to return the voter’s marked ballot if the voter is returning the ballot physically through the mail. If a state is allowing a voter to return a marked ballot electronically, the state generally should employ digital encryption or other security measures to provide comparable protection of the integrity and secrecy of the marked ballot.
The electronic transmission method established under subsection (3) should be designed to protect the integrity of the transmission and the privacy of the voter’s personal data contained in the transmission. To a similar end, the recent amendments to UOCAVA include provisions requiring that “to the extent practicable,” electronic transmission methods “shall ensure that the privacy of the identity and other personal data of an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter is protected” and also shall “protect the security and integrity of the transmission.”
According to the rules, “Electronic Transmission” means:
(a) For the purpose of sending an unvoted ballot by fax, email, or online delivery to:
(1) A military or overseas elector under Article 8.3 of Title 1, C.R.S.
(2) An elector requesting a replacement for an emergency under section 1-7.5-115, C.R.S.
(3) An affected elector requesting a ballot because of a disaster emergency.
(b)For the purpose of returning a voted ballot to the county clerk fax or email.
1. Definition for Overseas voter
A United States citizen who is outside the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
2. Definition for 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.
3. Definition for Federal write-in absentee ballot
The ballot described in section 103 of the federal “Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1973ff-2.2. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
4. Definition for 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.
5. Definition for 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.
6. Definition for 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.
7. Definition for 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.
8. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.