Vail Daily letter: Registration deadline
Vail, CO Colorado
There is a draft bill in the Colorado Legislature right now that includes a provision which would eventually eliminate the deadline for registering to vote, and there’s a hullabaloo brewing about these proposed changes.
Currently, the deadline is 29 days before an election. There is talk about allowing people to register the Friday right before the election and even on Election Day itself.
Opponents claim that moving the deadline up would increase the likelihood of fraudulent registrations. Proponents believe the change will encourage more voter participation in our elections. Nine other states offer same or Election Day registration.
When people register to vote now, they fill out a detailed form, provide identification as required by law and sign an affirmation under penalty of perjury that they are a resident of the county at the address indicated and that they are a U.S. citizen.
To be clear, if people lie on these forms, they are committing a felony and, if caught, will be prosecuted. If the registration deadline is relaxed, even relaxed to the point of being eliminated altogether, the same process would have to be followed. In both cases, the application must be processed and personal identifying information entered into the statewide system before the voter receives a ballot.
There is nothing that happens in terms of process 30 days before an election with new registrations that would not happen closer to the election. The Clerk’s Office is absolutely interested in eliminating the potential for voter fraud and maintaining the integrity of every election.
The point is that these two issues – fraud and registration deadlines – are separate, and one does not influence the other. I do agree that the potential for fraud in any election is a concern worthy of a broader discussion, and this discussion needs to begin at the federal level.
Teak Simonton, Eagle County Clerk and Recorder