May 28, 2019

Every Drop Counts

House Bill 1266 will restore the right to vote to almost 9,000 Coloradans.

by Susan E. Stutz

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The Magic Brooms from FantasiaĀ (1937)

As of today, Coloradoā€™s House Bill 1266 is one of 127 bills related to the issue of voting rights and previously convicted persons that are pending across the country. Passed by both the Colorado Senate and House, Bill 1266 now rests on Governor Polisā€™Ā desk.

Filling theĀ Cup

Under current Colorado law, previously convicted felons have their voting rights automatically restored to them upon completion of their term of imprisonment which includes time spent on parole. With Bill 1266, Coloradoā€™s definition of ā€œterm of imprisonmentā€ will be amended to specifically exclude time that a person is on parole. This means that convicted felons who have been paroled will be able to vote months, maybe even years, sooner than they would otherwise be able to doĀ so.

If signed by Governor Polis, the right to vote will be restored to almost 9,000 people. In a state that has almost 5,700,000 residents, 9,000 people may be just a drop in the bucket, but itā€™s a drop that makes a splash. And, every drop brings us that much closer to laws and government that represent and work for all of us and not just a selectĀ few.

Additionally, Bill 1266 will make it mandatory for the Division of Adult Parole to let paroleeā€™s know about their voting rights, how they may apply for or update their voterā€™s registration, how to cast a ballot, as well as how to obtain vote-related materials.

Why thisĀ matters

The ability to vote is one of our most precious rights. One that gives us the ability to have a say in what happens to us on a local and national level. The restoration of this right, to individuals who have been convicted of a felony, is a giant step on the road back to full-participatory citizenship.

What you canĀ do

Expanding voting access across all fifty states is the cornerstone of getting policies that work for all Americans. If you live in Colorado, fire up Resistbot, and say GOV to write to Governor Polis and let him know your thoughts on House BillĀ 1266.

If you need information about your stateā€™s voting related requirements, send VOTE to Resistbot to find out about residency, ID, and absentee ballot requirements. You can also say CHECK and we will alert you of any changes to your voting registration status.

Havenā€™t used the ā€˜bot before? Resistbot is on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text one of the keywords above to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to do something great.Ā šŸ—³

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