The Colorado Libertarian Party filed suit in Denver District Court yesterday over the implementation of the new election law and the ensuing patchwork of residency requirements. The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office was named as a defendant in the suit, along with the Colorado Secretary of State and three other county clerk offices.
The crux of the suit is that the recently enacted HB13-1303 permitted same day voter registration but did not change long-established residency requirements to vote in certain elections. Colorado law requires non-property owners to reside in a special district for at least 30 days in order to vote in an election for that special district. Similarly, voters must live in a school district for at least 25 days in order to vote for school district directors; but do not have a similar residency requirement to vote on other school district questions—like School District 38’s questions 3A—or on state ballot questions.
The inconsistent requirements are a direct result of the newly enacted law and limit the opportunities of citizens who move less than 30 days before the election to vote on certain matters. The new law removed the right that those who recently moved had to cast a ballot for every question at their prior residence.
Approximately 700 El Paso County residents may be affected by these varying residency requirements. El Paso County mailed each of these individuals a Self-Affirmation Form (attached) to maximize voting opportunities. “We wanted to ensure that every citizen had the opportunity to vote on every race they legally could,” noted El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. “We submitted our procedures to the Secretary of State to ensure compliance with Colorado law.”
While El Paso County is following the law’s residency requirements, the suit alleges that some counties are not following the law, and that the application of the law should be uniform.
In response to the lawsuit, Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams stated: “This lawsuit illustrates one of a number of problems with the hastily passed HB13-1303. That is why citizens and newspapers alike from across the state urged lawmakers to slow down as the bill was rushed through the legislature. I urge the legislature to address the numerous issues with the law when they reconvene. Until they do so, Coloradans concerned about the issues with the law will continue to seek judicial solutions. While we will fully cooperate with the litigation process, fixing the issues with the law really is the responsibility of the legislature.”