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March 15 - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold Announces 2023 Legislative Priorities

State of Colorado
Department of State

1700 Broadway
Suite 550
Denver, CO 80290

Jena Griswold
Secretary of State

Chris Beall
Deputy Secretary of State

Colorado state seal

News Release

State of Colorado
Department of State

1700 Broadway
Suite 550
Denver, CO 80290

Jena Griswold
Secretary of State

Chris Beall
Deputy Secretary of State

Media contacts
303-860-6903
Annie Orloff - annie.orloff@coloradosos.gov
Jack Todd - jack.todd@coloradosos.gov

Denver, March 15, 2023 - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is highlighting her legislative priorities for the 2023 Colorado Legislative Session, which are focused on fortifying and defending Colorado’s democracy and helping Coloradans throughout the state achieve their American dream.

“Colorado is a state where every person can achieve their American dream, from starting a new business to making their voice heard at the ballot box. But across the nation, anti-democratic forces continue to destabilize the nation – threatening Americans’ fundamental rights and putting the American dream at risk,” said Secretary Griswold. “This legislative session, I am proud to champion legislation to strengthen Colorado’s election model, fortify our democratic institutions, and make business ownership affordable and efficient for hard working Coloradans.”

Secretary Griswold’s priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session include:

Defending and Fortifying Colorado’s Democracy

After every major election, the Secretary of State’s Office assesses Colorado’s election laws to determine which components need to be clarified or adjusted to ensure they work for voters and election officials across Colorado. To maintain Colorado’s leadership, the 2023 Colorado Votes Act includes the following provisions which increase access, improve administration, and address emerging threats to democracy.

Preventing Delays in Ballot Counting: Voters in Colorado and national observers rely on and expect election results to be reported in a timely and consistent manner. This provision in the Colorado Votes Act will require all counties to post results at specified times on election night and require counties with over 10,000 voters to begin tabulating ballots at least four days before election day. These changes will ensure that counties do not fall behind and the public receives as much information on election night as possible.

Stopping the Abuse of Recounts: The 2023 Colorado Votes Act will ensure that discretionary recounts are not exploited to spread disinformation and slow down election administration. This provision will allow discretionary recounts if the margin of victory in the race is within 2%. Currently, 12 other states have an upper threshold at which a candidate cannot request a recount; 2% is at or above the threshold of nine of those states.

This provision will modernize and clarify Colorado’s discretionary recount process with several administrative reforms such as: clarifying when a recount can be requested, changing how counties provide cost estimates to interested parties, and necessary changes to comply with the Electoral Count Act. These reforms will ensure all candidates are given a fair opportunity to pay for a recount, allow recounts to start sooner, give candidates more time to pay for recounts, and eliminate unnecessary recounts that only place unnecessary demands on Colorado’s dedicated election workers.

Improving Access for Voters on Tribal Lands: The 2023 Colorado Votes Act will establish a process to allow Tribal Membership lists to be used for automatic voter registration. The provision would also guarantee early voting on Tribal lands on the Friday, Saturday, and Monday before an election, as well as on Election Day. These changes made in partnership with the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes will help reverse the historical voter suppression of Native voters, and further improve voting access for Native Americans in Colorado.

Supporting Coloradans to Achieve their American Dream

Investing in programs that uplift Colorado’s working families, entrepreneurs, and the small businesses that are critical to our economy and communities.

Protecting Colorado business owners from deceptive solicitations: This legislation will protect Colorado business owners from deceptive, third-party business filing solicitations. This bill will address solicitations sent by third-party organizations that encourage Colorado business owners to pay exorbitant costs for services which can be done directly through the Secretary of State’s Office, including filing periodic reports, or retrieving free Certificates of Good Standing. The solicitations often mislead business owners by appearing to be sent from a government office or entity.

Fee relief for Colorado businesses and entrepreneurs: The 2022 Business Fee Relief Act, which made filing to open a business with the Secretary of State’s Office just $1, was incredibly successful in supporting new business owners and entrepreneurs. Since July 2022, when the Colorado Business Fee Relief Act took effect, nearly 80,000 new LLCs have been formed in the state – a 34% increase from the same period last year. In partnership with the Governor’s office, the Secretary of State seeks to continue this fee relief into the next fiscal year.