A Session in Review: The Victories Won for Colorado Voters

Unite Colorado
July 12, 2021

It was a strenuous session for the Colorado state legislature — at center stage was the fight for the soul of Colorado’s elections. The question legislators had to ask themselves: would our state weaken the election system that had made our state the gold-standard, or would the legislature put people before politics and put voters first? 

Unite Colorado is proud to report that this session was a positive one for Colorado voters. 

Below, a brief recap of some big voter victories this legislative session:

  1. Expansion of ranked choice voting across Colorado

Ranked choice voting is coming to a county near you! Ranked choice voting, already in use in towns like Telluride and Basalt, will be available for use in other municipalities following the successful passage of HB1071. 

Starting in 2025, municipalities will have the ability to use RCV in coordinated elections with counties thanks to this bipartisan bill. This is a big step for voters towards implementing RCV across Colorado and orienting state elections towards the people, paving the way for cleaner, more issue-focused campaigns.

  1. Comprehensive gerrymandering reform

In 2018, Coloradans successfully passed a ballot initiative to establish independent redistricting commissions to draw the state’s legislative maps. Coloradans were clear: they would no longer tolerate gerrymandering that put party interest over people’s interest. HB1074 requires county commission districts to closely mirror the legal requirements of the state’s independent redistricting commissions; in other words, no more gerrymandering county-level districts

Now, with fair maps at the local level as well as the state level, Colorado elections will allow voters to choose their candidates, rather than the other way around.

  1. Ensuring access to multilingual ballots

We believe that voter engagement should never be limited by what language you speak—all citizens should be able to participate in our democracy. HB1011 requires the election officials to provide multilingual ballot access in counties where it’s most needed. 

This bill will increase ease of ballot access for thousands of Coloradans. This bill, passed with bipartisan support, will make our elections more representative of all voters.

In other parts of the country, hyperpartisanship and electoral strife were constant barriers to good policy. While some states sacrificed the will of voters for political points, Colorado was able to successfully defend our elections and make them even stronger than before. The legislation passed is proof of Colorado’s commitment to its voters. And even though there is still progress to be made, the 2021 legislative session should be remembered as one that kept voters first, acting as a leader in reform for every aspect of the electoral process. Colorado is already a national leader in putting voters first; these pieces of legislation continue the work of improving our politics by putting people over party.

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