2021 election guide: Important information and dates
Here’s what you need to know about how to cast your ballot and when
A ballot drop-off sign at the Pikes Peak Community College Centennial campus in southern Colorado Springs on Sept. 27, 2021. (Julia Fennell/Colorado Newsline)
Once again, it is time for Coloradans to make their voices heard by voting in the Nov. 2 coordinated election.
Coloradans are asked to vote on local initiatives and candidates, as well as three statewide measures.
- Coloradans can register to vote and vote up until the end of the day on Election Day.
- County clerks started mailing ballots to registered voters Oct. 8 and will do so through Oct. 15.
- The last day Coloradans can register to vote and receive a ballot in the mail is Oct. 25.
- Until Oct. 25, Coloradans can register to vote online if they have a Colorado driver’s license or state issued ID or complete the voter registration form and deliver or scan the completed and signed form to their local county clerk and recorder’s office. It can also be mailed to the Colorado Department of State Elections Division. After Oct. 25, Coloradans must register to vote and vote in person at a voter service and polling center.
- County clerks recommend voters mail their ballot in by Oct. 25. After Oct. 25, voters should drop their ballot off at a ballot drop off box or vote in person at a voter service and polling center.
- Ballots postmarked by Election Day but not received by 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 will not be counted.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Ballots must be “in the hands of the county clerk” by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. The exception to this: People who are in line at a voting site prior to 7 p.m. will have their vote counted if they stay to vote, even if the vote takes place after 7 p.m.
If a voter doesn’t receive, loses, or damages their ballot, they can request a replacement ballot from their local county clerk, or vote in person at a voter service and polling center.
Colorado has accessible voting options, including the option for voters with certain disabilities to vote electronically. For voters who do not meet the requirements to vote electronically, voting service and polling sites are required to have accessible parking and accessible entrances and exits in the buildings, according to the secretary of state.
Voters who mail in ballots can track the status of their ballot through Colorado BallotTrax.
People who vote in person are required to show identification.
What’s on the ballot
Ballots will contain questions specific to a voter’s county, but all Coloradans will be asked to vote on three statewide measures.
Amendment 78, also called the Legislative Authority for Spending State Money, asks voters if the Colorado Constitution should be amended to give the state Legislature the authority to appropriate “custodial” money — this includes money received from the federal government or through legal settlements — and for there to be a public hearing regarding the use of the funds.
On Aug. 31, the secretary of state announced that the initiative received enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.
Conservative organization Colorado Rising Action supports Amendment 78.
Tamara Pogue, Summit County Commissioner and Scott Wasserman, president of the Bell Policy Center, filed a lawsuit in the Denver District Court to remove Amendment 78 from the ballot on the basis that it should appear on a ballot only in an even year election according to The Colorado Sun.
Proposition 119, or the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program, asks voters if the sales tax on recreational marijuana should be increased 5% to create and fund a statewide tutoring program for students ages 5 to 17.
On Aug. 25, the secretary of state announced the initiative had received enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.
Registered issue committees who oppose this proposition are No On Prop 119, the Cannabis Community for Fairness and Safety, and Coloradans against School Vouchers, according to the secretary of state website. Yes on Prop 119 is in favor of the initiative.
Proposition 120, or the Property Tax Assessment Rate Reduction, asks voters to decide whether both residential and nonresidential property tax assessment rates should be reduced. If passed, the residential property tax assessment rate would be reduced from 7.5% to 6.5% and nonresidential rate from 29% to 26.4%. A bill passed by the Colorado General Assembly in the final days of the 2021 legislative session is excepted to limit Proposition 120’s impact, since it amends state law so that the ballot measure’s changes would apply only to multifamily residential units and commercial lodging properties.
On Aug. 26, the secretary of state announced that the initiative had received enough valid signatures and would be placed on the ballot.
Propositions 119 and 120 require a simple majority of the vote to pass while Amendment 78, because it alters the state Constitution, requires 55% of the vote to pass.
Both Propositions 119 and 120 and Amendment 78 were placed on the ballot by citizen initiative, which means a Coloradan collected enough valid signatures on the petition for the measure to go on the ballot.
Colorado is one of eight states which allow all elections to be conducted by mail, also known as a vote-by-mail state, according to Ballotopedia.
Many college and university campuses have ballot drop off boxes or voting service and polling centers, including the University of Colorado Boulder, Pikes Peak Community College Centennial and Rampart Range campuses, University of Northern Colorado and Front Range Community College.
People who are incarcerated due to a felony conviction in Colorado are not eligible to vote, but people who are on parole, probation, incarcerated awaiting trial, or incarcerated due to a misdemeanor are eligible.
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