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Handful of changes to Wisconsin voting rules
10/22/16 |
Publication Date: 
Saturday, October 22, 2016 - 01:00

Under [a new state law] absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, in order to count. Previously, mail-in absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Election Day and received by a clerk’s office by 4 p.m. on the next Friday.

The new law is one of a handful of changes to voting rules that could trip up some of the half-million to a million people in the state who only turn out to vote once every four years for presidential elections.

The most substantial change for them will be the new voter ID requirement, which critics fear will cause long lines on Election Day and result in some eligible voters being turned away at the polls. Supporters say the requirement will prevent voter fraud, though incidents of illegal voter impersonation are exceptionally rare. ...

Those without a photo ID can apply for a free voting ID at a Division of Motor Vehicles location. For those lacking certain documentation, such as a birth certificate, the DMV must issue a receipt within six days that can also be used for voting while a request for ID is being processed.
How Charges of Voter Fraud Became a Political Strategy
10/21/16 |
Publication Date: 
Friday, October 21, 2016 - 01:00

[T]he principal fraud that Mr. Trump and most Republicans assail, and the only one that voter identification laws address — voters who intentionally misrepresent themselves at polling places — is exceedingly rare, experts say. They add that it is almost impossible to perpetrate on a scale that would affect the results of a national election. Democrats also note that with Republican domination of state governments, voting nationwide is increasingly overseen by Republicans. ...

Since the 2000 presidential election underscored the crucial role of voting rules in close races, allegations of widespread fraud also have figured in high-stakes political strategies. Increasingly, voter identification laws and other restrictions advertised as election security measures help determine who votes, and who does not.

“Suddenly, it became clear that in very close elections, manipulating the rules could potentially matter,” said Mr. Hasen, the election law expert. “And so voter fraud became an excuse for making it harder to register and to vote.”

And as the notion of pervasive fraud gained political value, keeping it in the public eye became smart politics as well. 

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Colorado Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: There is no voter registration deadline in Colorado.  Voters can register up to and on Election Day.

For more information, visit  

Election Day:

On Election Day, Voter Service and Polling Centers (“VSPCs”) will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

In Colorado, voters are also permitted to vote prior to Election Day.  All active registered voters will receive a mail ballot, which they can mail in or drop off at a designated ballot drop box or VSPC.  Alternatively, if a voter wants to vote in person, he or she can visit a VSPC in his or her county.  Prior to Election Day, VSPC and ballot drop box hours may vary.  Visit to find a VSPC or drop-off location in your county and to verify its hours. 

How to Find Your Polling Place:

To find a Voter Service and Polling Center in your county, visit


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines:

There is no voter registration deadline.  Voters can register up to and on Election Day.

However, for a voter to receive a mail ballot, the voter must submit their paper registration/update form or online registration/update by the eighth day before Election Day. For the 2016 general election, that deadline is October 31, 2016. After October 31, 2016 and through Election Day, voters can go to any Voter Service and Polling Center (“VSPC”) in the county where they live and update their registration to receive a regular ballot.  Visit to verify a location’s hours.

How to Check Your Registration:  Visit to view and update your voter registration information. Alternatively, you can contact your county clerk and recorder’s office.

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to vote in the State of Colorado, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Have resided in Colorado 22 days immediately before the election in which you intend to vote;
  • Be at least 18 years of age or older on Election Day; and
  • Not be serving a sentence of confinement, detention, or parole for a felony conviction. 

How to Register:

You can register to vote in Colorado in one of the following ways:

1. Online (requires a valid Colorado driver's license or ID)
Register to vote online using the Colorado Secretary of State’s website:

2. Mail, Fax, or Email
Fill out and sign the Colorado voter registration application located at Print, sign, and return the form to your county clerk and recorder’s office. 

3.  In Person

Voter registration is also offered at:

  • The County Clerk’s office in your county.
  • A Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle office when you apply for a driver’s license, renew, or update your driver’s license information.
  • All offices that provide public assistance, including offices of state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities.
  • Recruitment offices of the U.S. armed forces.
  • Any federal, state, or local government office, or nongovernment office that chooses to provide voter registration service or applications.  
  • A Voter Service and Polling Center.

Identification Required for Registration:  If you have a Colorado driver’s license or ID card, you must provide that when you register.  If you do not have one of those documents, you may register using the last four digits of your social security number.  If you have none of the above, voters may register without identification, but then they must provide a form of identification if they vote in person at a VSPC, or a photocopy of their identification when they return their mail ballot. 

If You Want to Vote Early

Mail ballots are sent out to every registered active voter, beginning on October 17, 2016; there is no need to request one.  Simply vote the ballot once it arrives and put it back in the mail or drop it off at a dropbox or Voter Service and Polling Center.

For a voter to receive a mail ballot, the voter must submit their paper registration/update form or online registration/update by the 8th day before Election Day. For the 2016 general election, that deadline is October 31, 2016.

The signature on every mail ballot envelope is verified, and once verified, all mail ballots are counted.  Be sure to sign the envelope when you return your mail ballot.

Also, be sure that your county clerk receives your ballot no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. If you are not sure if your ballot will arrive in time, drop it off in person. Visit to find your nearest ballot drop off location. 

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

One of the following forms of ID is required to vote in person.  In addition, voters voting by mail for the first time who did not register online or show an ID when they registered may also need to provide a photocopy of their identification with their mail ballot.  If you receive a mail ballot and you are required to provide a photocopy of your ID, the ballot will be marked to indicate this requirement.

  • A valid Colorado driver’s license;
  • A valid identification card issued by the State of Colorado’s Department of Revenue;
  • A valid United States passport;
  • A valid employee identification card with a photograph of the voter issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government or of Colorado, or by any county, municipality, board, authority, or other political subdivision of Colorado;
  • A valid pilot’s license issued by the FAA or other authorized agency of the United States;
  • A valid United States military identification card with a photograph of the voter;
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. “Current” means that the date of the document is within 60 days of the date it is submitted for ID purposes.
  • A Certificate of Degree of Indian or Alaskan Native Blood.
  • A valid Medicare or Medicaid card issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the United States Health Care Financing Administration);
  • A certified copy of a birth certificate for the voter issued in the United States;
  • Certified documentation of naturalization;
  • A valid student identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector issued by an institute of higher education in the State of Colorado;
  • A valid veteran identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans’ Health Administration with a photograph of the voter;
  • A valid ID card issued by a federally recognized tribal government certifying tribal membership;
  • Verification that a voter is a person committed to the Department of Human Services and is eligible to register and vote.
  • A letter from the director or administrator of a group residential facility indicating that the elector resides at the facility and at the street address listed in the voter registration database;
  • A Division of Youth Corrections ID card issued by the Department of Human Services.

“Valid” means that the identification is current and has not expired.  If the identification shows an address, it must show a Colorado address.  

A voter that is unable to provide a valid form of identification is still entitled to cast a provisional ballot.  

VoteRiders has created Colorado voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

A voter can update his or her registration address by appearing at any Voter Service and Polling Center (“VSPC”) in the voter’s current county of residence up to and on Election Day.  The voter may then vote at the same VSPC where he or she updated his or her registration.  Visit to find a VSPC in your county and to verify its hours.

Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for early voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Merchant Marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States.  These individuals are known as UOCAVA voters.

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an early ballot at the same time.  You can submit the FPCA by mail, email or fax. To submit by mail, download and complete the FPCA and mail it to your election official. To submit by email, scan the signed FPCA into your computer. Be sure to include the Electronic Transmission Sheet. Email this package directly to your election official. If you choose to fax your FPCA to your election official, you also must include the Electronic Transmission Sheet. To register, the FPCA must be sent by November 8, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. It must be received by the eighth day after the election. 

Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) Colorado page at for more information.  The FPCA form is available at      

Receiving and casting an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may receive their absentee ballot by mail, email or fax. They may submit their completed ballots the same way: by mail, email, or fax.  Ballots must be sent by Election Day, November 8, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. They must be received by the eighth day after the election.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by all UOCAVA voters.  UOCAVA voters use the FWAB to write in their votes when they have not received their early voting ballot in time.  If a UOCAVA voter is not registered, the local election office will treat the information submitted in the FWAB transmission envelope as the voter’s registration application.  The FWAB form is available at  Ballots must be sent by Election Day, November 8, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. They must be received by the eighth day after the election.

In Colorado, it is illegal to register to vote or cast a vote while serving a sentence of confinement, detention, or parole for a felony conviction. However, a voter has the right to vote after having served their sentence, including parole.  The day an individual is released from parole is the day she or he will be eligible to register to vote.  If a voter was previously registered, that registration will have been canceled and they must re-register to vote. In addition, an individual currently serving a sentence in jail for a misdemeanor, being held in jail prior to trial, or on probation for a misdemeanor or felony CAN register and vote.

It is important to understand the difference between probation and parole.  Many people confuse the two and think they are the same thing:

  • Probation is a sentence ordered by a judge, and is usually an alternative to prison.  A sentence of probation allows a person to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer.  It is legal to register to vote and cast a vote while under a sentence of probation.
  • Parole is a period of supervision after release from prison.  In Colorado, parole is considered a part of the sentence.  It is illegal to register to vote or cast a vote while on parole.  Additionally, a period of Federal Supervised Release is the functional equivalent of parole, and is also considered part of the sentence, making it illegal to register to vote or cast a vote.


Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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2016 Election Information for your state