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Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Monday issued the following press release on the state’s voting laws and promised to prosecute anyone threatening voter safety:
Attorney General Phil Weiser today issued public advisories reassuring Coloradans that the state will protect their right to vote safely and will work to ensure the security of all officials and employees charged with safeguarding and administering Colorado’s elections. Attorney General Weiser also pledged that his office will hold accountable those who threaten or intimidate voters, election workers, and election officials.
The advisories provide guidance on the crimes of voter or election worker intimidation, their penalties, and how to report violations should a person witness or be a target of voter intimidation at a polling center or at an official ballot drop box. They also highlight a new law that states it is unlawful for anyone to openly carry a firearm near voting locations.
Weiser is releasing these advisories as primary ballots are sent out through the mail this week, making clear that voter intimidation is illegal under state and federal law.
“Coloradans have the right to a free and fair election,” said Weiser. “Whether someone chooses to vote via mail, at a ballot drop box, or in person at a polling center, they and those who are ensuring the security of those votes should feel safe to participate in our democratic process. My office will hold accountable anyone who should attempt to interfere.”
Under Colorado law, voter intimidation occurs when someone interferes, impedes, or prevents another from voting, or pressures a person to vote for or against a candidate or ballot initiative. Voter intimidation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year imprisonment, or both. It is also illegal to interfere with an election official while performing their duties. The crime of interfering with an election official is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $750, up to 120 days imprisonment, or both.
The attorney general and local district attorneys have authority to prosecute voter intimidation crimes.
Highlights from the attorney general’s advisories include:
Any person who witnesses or is a target of voter intimidation or election worker intimidation should contact their local law enforcement agency or county clerk and recorder for immediate assistance, or the Colorado Attorney General’s Office at (720) 508-6000. In an emergency, people should call 911.
Additional information on voting procedures can be found on the Colorado Secretary of State’s voter resource webpage.