Q: Who is eligible to vote in Colorado?
A: Every person who is 18 years of age or older at the time of the next election, a United States citizen and has resided in the state and precinct thirty days prior to the election.
Q: What does residence mean for purposes of voter registration and voting?
A: When applied to voter registration, the term residence means the principal or primary home of a person. A residence is a permanent building or part of a building and may include a house, apartment, condominium, room in a house, or mobile home. No vacant lot or business address is considered a residence address. You must have a residence in order to register to vote. Once that residence is established, it exists until a new residence is established. You may not have more than one residence.
Q: How do I change my residence?
A: Any eligible elector who has moved may have his or her residence changed on the registration record by submitting a letter or form to the county clerk and recorder, either by mail or in person.
Q: What if I’m in the military or a student?
A: For the purposes of registration and voting, no person may gain residence because of that person’s presence in the state nor lose it by being absent while in military service or a student at any institution of higher learning.
Q: Is it legal for people to use my address for their voter registration even though they don’t live here anymore?
A: Yes. In many circumstances, it is the only address they can use for voter registration. For example, a member of the armed services stationed out of state or a student attending school abroad who formerly resided at your address, may use that address for voter registration and voting purposes.
Q: What are the penalties for voting or registering to vote if I am ineligible?
A: It is unlawful for any person to acquire his or her own name, or the name of any other person, to be registered in the registration book of a precinct in which such person is not, at the time of such registration, entitled to be registered or for any person to acquire any fictitious name to be registered in the registration book of any precinct. As of July 2006, any person who votes in an election knowing that they are not entitled to vote commits a class 5 felony. (See 1-13-704.4, C.R.S.)
Q: Why do I have to register to vote?
A: Voter registration is a means of determining the candidates and issues on which each voter is eligible to vote. Most states require voters to register to vote a certain number of days prior to election day. Voter Registration also protects the integrity of the ballot box by preventing voting in multiple locations.
Q: Does it cost anything to register to vote?
A: No, registering to vote is free and easy. You can register with your county clerk in person or through mail-in registration.
Q: Where can I register to vote?
A: Your county clerk and recorder's office would be happy to register you to vote. A voter registration form may be obtained on the Secretary of State's web site that you may mail to your county clerk and recorders office. You may also register to vote at a Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle office when you apply for a driver's license, or update your driver's license information. Additionally, you may register to vote at all offices that provide public assistance; provide state funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities; recruitment offices of the armed forces of the United States; and any federal, state local government, or nongovernment office that chooses to provide voter registration service or applications. Offices of the county clerk and recorder and federal post office may provide mail-in voter registration applications.
Q: Do I need identification if I vote in person?
A: When voting in person, you will need one of the following types of identification:
A current and valid Colorado driver’s license;
A valid identification card issued by the Department of Revenue in accordance with the requirements of Part 3 of Article 2 of Title 42, C.R.S.;
A valid U.S. passport;
A valid employee identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government or of this state, or by any county, municipality, board, authority, or other political subdivision of this state;
A valid pilot’s license issued by the federal aviation administration or other authorized agency of the United States;
A valid U.S. military identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector;
A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the elector. (A cable bill, a telephone bill, documentation from a public institution of higher education in Colorado containing at least the name, date of birth, and legal residence address of the student elector, a paycheck from a government institution, or a Certificate of Degree of Indian or Alaskan Native Blood are sufficient forms of identification);
A valid Medicare or Medicaid card issued by the United States Health Care Financing Administration;
A certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate for the elector issued in the United States; or
Certified documentation of naturalization
A valid student identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector issued by an institute of higher education in Colorado, as defined in section 23-3.1-102(5), C.R.S.
A Social Security number (or last four digits) is NOT a legal form of identification for voting in person.
Q: When is the last day to register to vote before an election?
A: The last day to register to vote in Colorado is 29 days before the election.
Q: I am planning to go away to college, should I wait to register there? Can I remain registered in my hometown if I go away to school?
A: Colorado law allows college students to keep their voter registration in their hometown and vote by mail-in ballot from college. This choice is up to the student. They can re-register in the jurisdiction where they are attending school, or they can retain their registration in their hometown. Students may wish to check how the status of their residency may affect their financial aid.
Q: What is mail-in (absentee) voting?
A: Mail-in voting is a process by which voters who may choose to not go to the polls on Election Day can vote by mail-in ballot. Colorado voters may now request to be placed on the list of Permanent Mail-in Voters, which allows them to receive a mail-in ballot for every election. Alternatively, you may request to receive a mail-in ballot for a specific election or the calendar year. You can request a mail-in ballot by mailing a completed Mail-in Ballot Application to your local county clerk and recorder.
Q: What is provisional voting?
A: Provisional voting guarantees every qualified and registered voter has the opportunity to vote on Election Day.
When voters arrive at the polling place on Election Day, the election judges check the poll book (a list of all of the jurisdiction's registered voters), to confirm that the voter is properly registered and at the correct polling place. Prior to provisional voting, if a person's name was not in the poll book, they were not allowed to vote. With provisional voting, a voter whose name is not found in the poll book on Election Day is given a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are distinguished from regular ballots so that the election authority can later investigate the provisional voter's registration status. For more information please see Provisional Ballot FAQs.
Q: Besides registering to vote and voting on Election Day, how can I be more involved in the election process?
A: If you are 18 years of age, you can serve your community as an election judge. Election judges volunteer to work at polling places on Election Day. They verify voter registrations and hand out ballots. Some election judges even assist the local election authority with the counting of ballots. If you are at least 16 years of age and a student in good standing at either a junior or senior high school at the time of the election, you are also eligible to serve as an election judge. If you are interested in serving as an election judge, please contact your local election authority.
Q: What is the difference between a Primary and a General Election?
A: The State of Colorado holds regularly scheduled state elections every two years; a Primary election in August and a General election in November.
On the August Primary election day, voters affiliated with a major party may cast a ballot for those candidates of that party. If there is a minor party contest for an office those affiliated with that minor party may cast a ballot for those candidates. Unaffiliated electors may declare affiliation with one of the major or minor parties and cast that party's ballot.
The nominated candidates from each party's primary ballot will be placed on the November General Election ballot. The winner of the November General Election will hold office.
Q: How do felony and misdemeanor convictions, incarceration, parole, and probation affect my voter status?
A: In Colorado, it is illegal to register to vote or cast a vote while incarcerated for a felony conviction or while serving a sentence of parole. For more information please see Voting and Conviction FAQs.