Colorado: Documenting the 2012 Vote

Note: This page covers information specific to Colorado. For general information regarding legal issues associated with documenting your vote, see the Documenting the Vote 2012 page.

Colorado election law may affect your ability to use video or still photography in and around your polling place, as well as your ability to interview other voters at the polls. The following provisions may be important to you:

Prohibited Zone

Section 1-13-714 of the Colorado Statutes (link to Colorado Revised Statutes -- this is a PDF of "Title 1: Elections"; Article 13, which contains the relevant sections, begins on p. 315) creates a 100-foot radius around any building in which a polling place is located. Within that radius, no person may engage in any electioneering activities, including campaigning for or against any candidate, "issue," or "question" on the ballot or soliciting signatures for a candidate petition, a recall petition, or a petition to place a ballot issue or ballot question on a subsequent ballot. Taking photographs and shooting video in this area does not appear to violate Colorado law directly, but you should beware of using a camera in a manner that could be deemed to interfere or intimidate other voters.

Outside of this 100-foot zone, you are free to take photographs, shoot video, and interview voters (with permission), as long as you are not on someone's private property.

Inside the Polling Room

Rules 8.1.3 and 8.12 of 8 Colorado Code Regulations ยง 1505-1 provide that media observers with valid and current media credentials may be present to witness voting. However, at the discretion of the county clerk and recorder, media observers may be required to appoint one member of the media as a pool reporter, and one member as a pool photographer to represent all media. Colorado law does not provide a right for members of the general public to be present in the polling place throughout Election Day unless they have been appointed by the Secretary of State or a political party or candidate.

For voters without media credentials who wish to document their own voting experience, rules vary by county. Some county clerks do not permit cameras, cell phones and other electronic devices inside the polling place. The Colorado Secretary of State recommends (see FAQ Question 19) that voters contact their county clerks for more information.

Citizens are generally forbidden from interfering with other voters. Sections 1-13-711 and 1-13-713 of the Colorado Statutes prohibit interfering with any voter who is inside the immediate voting area, interfering with any elector's exercise of the right to vote, or compelling any elector either to vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or measure.

Photographing or Videoing Your Own Marked Ballot

Section 1-13-712 of the Colorado Statutes prohibits any voter from "show[ing] his ballot after it is prepared for voting to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents," and prohibits "endeavor[ing] to induce any voter to show how he marked his ballot."


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