Ahhhh, November. The month of feasting with friends and family, preparing for the holidays, and …. voting!
If you are reading this the first few days of November, you have until Tuesday, November 5, at 7 p.m. to get your ballot in.
And if you’ve already voted, congratulations! You are adding to Colorado’s consistently high rates of voter participation.
In last year’s mid-terms Colorado had the second-highest voter turnout nationwide, with 63% of registered voters voting. Only Minnesota was higher with 64% turnout.
We did just as well in the presidential general election in 2016. Just over 2.5 million Coloradans (almost 64%) of registered voters cast their vote. Only Maine and Wisconsin had higher voter turnout that year. Still, like the rest of the country, Colorado could do much better. About 3.2 million people over 18 live in Colorado. So, clearly we are falling short of the number of people registered to vote and then actually follow through and vote.
It’s key to remember voting is the first step in battling our climate crisis. Considering the millions of dollars the oil and gas industry pour into state elections, making sure you vote in local races is paramount.
But, our turnout does make Colorado consistently one of the top voting states.
So if you are not yet part of the 2.5 million proud Colorado voters, don’t hesitate to get registered before our next election: the Presidential Primary on March 3rd, 2020.
With climate action at the top of the list of our urgent problems, the stakes couldn’t be higher for voters.
Here is what you need to know to become a Colorado voter:
*You must be a US citizen.
*You must be 18 years old by election day. (You can pre-register at age 16, as long as you are 18 on voting day you are good to go.)
* You must be a resident of Colorado.
With a Colorado Driver’s license or State ID to establish residency, the easiest way to register is here:
And just this year, the state is making it even easier to register with AVR, Automatic Voter Registration. Which means if you are applying for a driver’s license you are automatically registered to vote.
Just arrived in Colorado and don’t have a driver’s license or state ID? You can print the registration form, scan other proof of residency listed here: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/FAQs/VoterRegistrationFAQ.html
Mail it or, you can do what I did: When I moved here two months before last November’s election, I grabbed my rental agreement and utility bill – proof of residency – and dashed down to the state election office and filled out the form there to make sure I was registered in time to vote Yes on prop 112.
If you are a college student in Colorado and want to vote here, the rules are a bit squishy. But basically out-of-state students are not considered permanent Colorado residents. This is because the state does not want out-of-state students who vote here claiming residency for in-state tuition. However, If students do prove residency and register to vote in Colorado, they must give up their home state registration. Or, students can request an absentee ballot from their home state. For more info on this check here:
When you register you can have options of voting by mail, how the majority of Coloradans vote, or in person. By mail, you get your ballot a few weeks before election day providing time to research candidate positions on Climate Action and the Green New Deal. Then pop your ballot in the mail at least five days before election day or drop it off at a ballot box location.
If you prefer to vote the old-school way at your neighborhood precinct, you still can. Even if you haven’t registered you can walk in, register and vote, all on election day.
Colorado has high turnout in part because it’s so easy to register and vote. And if you haven’t yet registered, do it now! Because we know for our planet and our future, the least we can do is vote.
by Kim Osborn Mullen