For many years, a Colorado statute has provided that persons on parole—approximately 6000 in Colorado—are forbidden to vote or to register to vote. C.R.S. § 1-2-103(4). This class action, filed in 2005 on behalf of approximately 6000 Colorado parolees, asserts that this statute violates the Colorado Constitution.
In Article VII, Section 10, the Colorado Constitution provides that persons lose their right to vote when they are confined in a public prison as a result of a criminal conviction, but it also provides that their civil rights are restored automatically when they complete their “term of imprisonment.” The lawsuit relies on decisions of the Colorado Supreme Court that hold that persons released on parole have completed their term of imprisonment.
Originally filed in federal court as a class action, the lawsuit moved to state court. After the Denver District Court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument, the case was heard by the Colorado Supreme Court, which held that the challenged statute did not violate the Colorado Constitution. Danielson v. Dennis, 139 P.3d 688 (Colo. 2006).
The Colorado legislature restored the right to vote to parolees in 2019 with the enactment of HB19-1266.
"ACLU files class action suit to restore right to vote for Colorado parolees," ACLU News Release, November 17, 2005
"Parolees deserve right to vote," Cindy Rodriguez, The Denver Post, December 19, 2005
"State high court to consider parolees’ right to vote," The Denver Post," The Denver Post, June 6, 2006
"Should felons on parole vote?," Opinion, The Denver Post, June 9, 2006
"Court rules parolees cannot vote," The Denver Post, July 31, 2006
ACLU case number