Last week a substantive election bill motivated by the campaign promises of Colorado’s new Secretary of State Jena Griswold was introduced – The Clean Campaign Act Of 2019. This week House Bill 1318 moved to Appropriations on a partisan vote from the House State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. The bill requires much more reporting of applicable contributions and their sources in substantial amounts and protects small issue and campaign committees from an excessive reporting burden. The writing of the bill matches some arcane existing statute and constitutional definitions and could be made more easy to read and understand. In this link you can find the bill and inline comments written by Harvie Branscomb with the hope that amendments will make the bill more clear.
Extensive comments inline with bill text here: https://electionquality.com/hb-commented-co-hb-19-1318
Friday April 19 well after 7:30AM and probably before 9AM the Colorado Senate State Appropriations Committee will hear or has heard testimony on Senate Bill 19-235
A BILL FOR AN ACT CONCERNING THE TRANSFER OF ELECTRONIC RECORDS BY VOTER REGISTRATION AGENCIES IN ORDER TO REGISTER VOTERS.
The live committee audio is available here when the committee is in session (Fridays at 7:30AM mountain):
This bill changes the legacy approach to registration in Colorado – a foundation of the accuracy and integrity of the election – by supplementing the deliberate application process for registration to vote with a government triggered transfer of personal data from various public entities that have access to information that could lead to voter registration. The information is provided to the Secretary of State and from there to the county clerks and recorders throughout Colorado. These clerks will then send letters asking the people at the provided addresses if they want to (or are required to in case they are not eligible) to decline registration. The clerks are also mandated to each provide a system for collecting signatures from these persons in order to complete their registrations.
I have written extensive comments located on this page on this site addressing each of the problematic provisions in this bill and each provision that raises questions about deleterious side effects. There are also opportunities missed in the bill to correct some poor language in statute and to improve the signature collection and verification process that eligibility in Colorado elections depends on.
Please visit this link to read the comments: https://electionquality.com/co-19-235-auto-voter-reg-hhbd
Colorado has been much complimented on its election process- largely because of excellent security provisions for the internet connected database and the tabulation audit called a risk limiting audit (RLA). A major portion of the election process that has received little attention is eligibility determination for our 95% mail ballot state. The bill SB-235 makes significant changes to the collection of evidence -reference signatures- to support signature verification of signatures on returned ballot envelopes.
In my opinion, much informed by direct observation in dozens of Colorado counties, the bill takes Colorado in a lower integrity direction by unnecessarily adding opportunities for capturing reference signatures that are signed remotely and signed electronically. Electronic signatures currently collected by tablet devices at motor vehicle registration and licensing stations cause difficulties for credible eligibility determination by comparison to signatures on envelopes. Fortunately these problems are correctable if statute reiterates principles to guide the Secretary of State in promulgating rules. One such principle is that the primary reference signature stored in the database should be signed in-person with pen on paper in front of an official. I encourage Colorado to establish this principle in statute for extrapolation in rule.
Harvie Branscomb April 10, 2019 Carbondale CO