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VRM in the States: Colorado

Colorado began implementing automatic voter registration at DMV offices in early 2017.

Published: March 16, 2018

In early 2017, Colorado began implementing an administratively-approved automatic voter registration system. Eligible citizens who interact with the DMV are registered to vote or have their existing registration information updated, unless they decline. Learn more about automatic registration here.

Prior Advances in Voter Registration Modernization

This reform builds upon Colorado’s existing voter registration modernization efforts:

  • Electronic Voter Registration: Colorado launched electronic voter registration at DMV offices in 2016. Information is electronically transferred from DMV offices to election officials.
  • Online Voter Registration: Colorado launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2010. Eligible citizens with a state driver’s license or non-driver ID can use the system to register to vote and update their registration information.
  • Election Day Registration: Colorado implemented Election Day registration in 2013. Coloradans vote primarily by mail, but individuals may register and vote in person at any Voter Service and Polling Center in their county during the early voting period and on Election Day.
  • Preregistration: 16– and 17-year-olds can preregister to vote. Those who preregister can vote once they turn 18 without needing to re-register.

Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Colorado

The steps Colorado has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration and financial benefits for the state. For example:  

  • During a September 2013 interview with Brennan Center staff, Colorado election officials described that processing online registration applications costs one-quarter of what it costs to process paper applications. The state also reported a reduced need to hire temporary workers for application processing prior to elections.
  • Colorado implemented their online voter registration system at a cost of less than $30,000.
  • Between November 2014 and November 2016, the state received 119,605 new voter registration applications through its online portal.
  • In the November 2016 general election, 19,190 voters registered on Election Day or during the early voting period.