Colorado: Documenting Your Vote (2008)

NOTE: The information on this page was current as of the 2008 presidential elections, and might not be accurate for later elections. We are retaining this page for historical purposes only. For information related to the 2012 election, visit our revised state-by-state guide.

Colorado has no statutory provision that expressly prohibits the use of photographic or video equipment inside a polling place while you are voting.  But, according to a lawyer in the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, "many county clerks have specific prohibitions against video or photography equipment in the polling place." Therefore, your safest bet is to contact your county clerk to find out if there is a complete ban on photography and videography in your polling location.

Even if your county allows you to use photographic or video equipment inside of the polling place, make sure that your activities do not interfere with the voting process or intimidate voters.  Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-13-711 prohibits interfering with another voter inside the immediate voting area, and Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-13-713 prohibits voter intimidation, including impeding, preventing, or interfering with the voting process.  Additionally, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-7-115 requires that voters "shall leave the immediate voting area as soon as voting is complete."  It is unclear whether this statute is referring to the voting booth or the entire polling place. (Here is a link to the Colorado Revised Statutes.)

Beyond that, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-13-712(1) impacts your ability to photograph or video your own marked ballot and upload the image to the Internet.  It states: "no voter shall show his ballot after it is prepared for voting to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents." The statute does not prohibit the act of photographing or videoing your marked ballot itself, but it does prohibit showing that image to anyone else. As our contact in the Secretary of State's Office wrote in an email to us: "There is no state statute that prohibits videoing or photographing one's ballot.  However, it is illegal for one to then disclose how one has voted." So, if your county allows photography/videography, you could record your own vote for your own purposes, but you would violate the law if you uploaded the video to YouTube or showed it to your friends.

No state statute addresses the use of photographic or video equipment outside of Colorado polling places, but Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-5-105(1) bans any "election-related activity . . . within one hundred feet of any building in which a polling place is located."  Although it is unlikely that "election-related activity" encompasses interviews for the purpose of newsgathering, we suggest that you stay at least 100 feet away from the building if you want to interview voters about the election.

Finally, 8 Colo. Code Regs. § 1505-1, Rule 8.12 allows "media observers" to observe and photograph "early voting, election day voting and the processing and counting of provisional, mail and mail-in ballots."  However, a media observer must have "valid and current media credentials" and must have a certificate of appointment.  Therefore, this privilege is likely not available to non-traditional journalists who do not work for media organizations.


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