THE BLOG
06/22/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Elections Modernization Bill Won't Get a Vote

This article was originally published on New Era News

On April 21st, 2010, Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll announced that he would not be introducing the Elections Modernization bill during this session.

For those not in the know on what this bill would have done, it would have eliminated, or at least significantly reduced what is called a black out period -- the amount of time between the last day to register to vote and election day.

The Denver Post wrote an op-ed on the bill on April 7th, 2010. They said,

We're not convinced the system is capable of handling same-day registration while also maintaining the integrity of the election (though that day is likely coming, given the advancements in technology), but we do favor the idea of reducing the blackout time. Technology, like online registration via the Secretary of State's website (GoVoteColorado.com), makes the ban seem too lengthy.

While it's true that most government websites seem to still use their designs and operating systems circa 1997, technology cited as a barrier for voter participation is an odd argument.

The bill would have also sent mail-in ballots to everyone who is registered, but would keep some service centers open on Election Day for those that would want to vote in person.

Carroll cites concern on the part of county clerks and partisan blockage as the reason the bill will not see a vote.

"These concerns, coupled with a lack of bi-partisan support, meant that it was not possible to reach a consensus in the next 20 days before the session ends," Carroll said in a press release. "I'm disappointed that some were misinformed by political spin and half truths. Motivated by fear of new voters, a few partisans blocked this effort at every turn."

The bill would have made it much simpler for first time voters and people who are uninformed about voter registration deadlines to be able to participate in the process. If a person moves, they must re-register to vote. There is fear that voters who voted for the first time in 2008, and may have moved since, will not re-register on time to participate in the critical 2010 Election.

It's a shame to see a genuine effort at increasing participation not even see a vote on the floor. What effect this will have on youth voter turnout will only be seen in November, but it makes the work to retain them much more tenuous. Young people want to vote and not being privy to deadlines is no excuse for taking away their ability to make their voice heard in an election.

"It was encouraging to see clerks of both parties engaged in an election conversation that rose above politics," Carroll continued. "I hope all the important stakeholders who have been involved in this conversation thus far will continue to be involved."