New Program Allows Eligible Denver County Inmates to Vote from Jail

Updated

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Eligible inmates housed at the Denver County Jail can exercise their right to vote in this year’s primary and general elections thanks to a new partnership between the Denver Elections Division, the Denver Sheriff’s Department and the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

The “confined voter process” will also be offered at the county’s Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center.

“In continuing with our mission to administer elections that are secure, accessible, transparent, and efficient, we have identified an opportunity to enhance our service for confined but eligible voters,” said Amber McReynolds, Denver director of elections.

“With this new program, we have enhanced opportunity and access in a secure and effective manner,” McReynolds said.

Sun streams through the gates of the Denver County Jail in Denver, Colo. Eligible inmates will be allowed to vote in jail this November, thanks to an innovative new collaboration.

Paul Cywilko/Rocky Mountain PBS News

Sun streams through the gates of the Denver County Jail in Denver, Colo. Eligible inmates will be allowed to vote in jail this November, thanks to an innovative new collaboration.

Ballots will be mailed to the facilities by the U.S. Postal Service and the Elections Division will work with the program administrators at both facilities to distribute the ballots, according to a news release announcing the program. Staff members from the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition will serve as election judges.

“It is important that government agencies support civic engagement for all citizens, including those unable to vote due to confinement,” Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman said. “The Sheriff’s Department is proud to offer its inmate community this cutting-edge service …”

“There is a misconception that Colorado residents held pretrial and those serving a misdemeanor sentence are ineligible to vote,” said Pam Clifton, CCJRC communication coordinator Pam Clifton said. “They are eligible and they need access.

“This partnership aims to bridge the gap to better ensure that all eligible voters in Denver are able to vote. We are honored to partner with the Denver Election Division and the Denver Sheriff’s Department to improve voting access for people in jail.”

In April, there was brief dust-up in the national media when Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order immediately allowing about 200,000 convicted felons who had completed their sentences to register to vote in the November election.

But those with a completed felony sentence have long been able to vote in Colorado, said Clifton. It’s in the state constitution.

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This post was updated at 10:04 a.m. June 21 to reflect the fact that the new program also covers the primary elections.

2 thoughts on “New Program Allows Eligible Denver County Inmates to Vote from Jail

  1. If you retain your right to vote while incarcerated … shouldn’t you keep your right to bar arms? Sure deciding the future of our nation is a lot more dangerous than having a weapon?

  2. Really ?? Why … does an inmate have the right to do anything other than serve out their sentence… Anyone with any common sense knows the inmate will vote for the party that leans toward lawlessness…. You have Hillary lying under oath & right to America’s face. Hillary is going to have Not a Police widow on stage to give a speech. Oh No she has invited Michael Browns mother to speak at Democratic Convention Now You tell me are they stacking the deck or what…

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