Attorney General Suthers Praises Supreme Court Decision Affirming Parolees Not Eligible To Vote

DENVER – Attorney General Suthers today praised the Colorado Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that a Colorado statute prohibiting parolees from voting does not violate the Colorado Constitution.

In May, the Denver District Court granted the Attorney General’s Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of the Secretary of State. Judge Michael A. Martinez, in writing the order, noted that the U.S. Supreme Court and the Colorado Courts have historically held that a “term of imprisonment” also includes a period of parole.

“Today’s decision makes clear that parole is indeed included in the term of imprisonment,” said Suthers. “By affirming the District Court’s decision, the Supreme Court upheld our interpretation of the Colorado Constitution and the will of the General Assembly that parolees not vote.”

The Colorado Supreme Court found that the General Assembly did not violate article VII, section 10 of the Colorado Constitution by enacting C.R.S. 1-2-103(4), which prevents a person who has been convicted of a felony and is serving a sentence of parole from voting or registering to vote. Further, the Supreme Court held that the intent of the constitutional phrase “full term of imprisonment” in article VII, section 10 is to restore an incarcerated person’s full rights upon completion of the entire duration of his or her sentence.

C.R.S. 1-2-103(4) states that “no person while serving a sentence of detention or confinement in a correctional facility, jail or other location for a felony conviction or while serving a sentence of parole shall be eligible to register to vote or to vote in any election. . .”

According to the Department of Corrections, as of June 30, Colorado has 6,551 parolees.

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