Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) signed a bill into law Friday aimed at improving Colorado’s nation-leading vote by mail system.

Sponsored by state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial), the bill improves the processing of late ballots, ensuring destroyed or spoiled ballots do not stand in the way of a Coloradan’s right to vote.

Rep. Tom Sullivan

“As the nation discusses whether or not to adopt vote by mail–a proven, safe, and democratic system–Colorado is busy working to make our already effective process even better,” said Sullivan in a news release.

As one of a handful of states that has transitioned to voting almost exclusively by mail, the universal mail ballot system puts Colorado in a unique position to safely administer upcoming elections during the COVID-19 health pandemic, according to a statement by the Colorado House Democrats.

The bill further upgrades the system by improving the process for registration updates, ensuring that new ballots are sent within an appropriate timeline. 

It allows voters to obtain a replacement ballot if their ballots are destroyed, spoiled, or not received for any reason. The voter would have to request a new ballot at least eight days prior to the election. 

The bill also ensures that mail replacement ballots are sent to voters who update their information at least eight days prior to an election, even if their original ballot has already been mailed. 

Furthermore, counties are required to mail ballots by First Class Mail if they are sent within 11 days of an election, ensuring they will be delivered to the voter in a timely manner.

Colorado’s mail-in voting system has been recognized across the country as one of the most secure and successful ballot administration systems in the nation, according to The Denver Post

“The state avoided the miserable lines that voters in Georgia and Wisconsin recently endured — lines that are a waste of time and, even worse, a health risk during a pandemic,” wrote an article from The New York Times columnist David Leonhardt. “And unlike in Kentucky and New York, Colorado didn’t take a week or more to count its ballots.”

“Now more than ever, it’s crucial to make sure that health concerns don’t get in the way of any Coloradan’s constitutional right to vote,” said Sullivan.