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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.