Colorado Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated October 07, 2014
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration Form: Received 22 days before Election Day (through a voter regsitration drive); received 8 days before Election Day (online, or by mail if you wish to vote by absentee ballot); you may also register and vote in person on Election Day.
  • Absentee Ballot Application: Received by the Tuesday before the election
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Received by the close of polls on Election Day

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

Register to vote using the Colorado Voter Registration Application.  It's a good idea to include a copy of your identification with this form (otherwise you'll need to include it with your voted absentee ballot).  Acceptable forms of ID are listed below in the Frequently Asked Questions section. 

Mail your completed application - and a copy of your ID - to your County Clerk and Recorder (the addresses are on the form).

You can also use our Voter Registration Tool. Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form. 

Finally, you can use Colorado's online registration tool. (NOTE: you will need to provide a driver's license or state ID number.  If you do not have this form of ID, use one of the above methods instead.)

Verify your voter registration

It's best to verify your voter registration before applying for your absentee ballot.  If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

Good news!  Any Colorado voter may vote by absentee ballot. You don't even need to be registered to apply for an your absentee ballot. 

Apply for your absentee ballot

Colorado uses an all by-mail voting system. Use the online tool at or use the Colorado Voter Registration Application to update your address information. If you use the paper form, mail the completed form to your County Clerk.

Note: Colorado currently does not account for a temporary change of mailing address. So if need your ballot sent to you for just one election, you need to update your address information before that election, and then update it back again after the election is over.

Your application must be received by the close of business 7 days before the election if you would like your absentee ballot MAILED to you.  Mail-In Ballots may be obtained IN PERSON at the County Clerk’s Office until close of business on the Friday proceeding election day.

Receive, vote and return your absentee ballot

Absentee Ballots will be mailed approximately 30 days prior to Election Day, or thereafter within 3 days of the county clerk receiving a request for a Mail-In Ballot.

Fill out your ballot, sign it, and return it to your County Clerk. The address will be on the return envelope.  If you registered by mail and you made it all the way to this step without providing your identification, include a copy of your ID in the outer envelope of your ballot.  If you put your ID inside your ballot, your ballot will not be counted.

In the event your original Absentee Ballot is not received, or it becomes “spoiled,” you may request a Replacement Absentee Ballot. Contact your County Clerk and Recorder for additional information about obtaining a Replacement Absentee Ballot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to provide ID when I register to vote in Colorado?

No, but you do need to provide your Colorado Driver's License Number or your Department of Revenue Identification Number.  If you don't have one of these numbers, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number.  If you don't have any of these numbers, you must indicate this on your voter registration form.  If you don't follow these guidelines, you're voter registration form will not be processed.

Please note: Colorado law requires ID from all voters at the polls, and from all first-time voters who cast absentee ballots (i.e. by-mail ballots).  If you plan on voting by absentee ballot, you can include a copy of your ID with your voter registration form OR with your absentee ballot application OR with your voted absentee ballot. 

Do I need to provide ID when I vote by absentee ballot in Colorado?

Not unless you're a first-time Colorado voter.  If you're a first-time voter, and you did not include a copy of your ID with your voter registration form, you must include a copy with your absentee ballot application or with your voted absentee ballot.  The following forms of identification are acceptable, as long as they show your name and a Colorado address:

  • A valid Colorado driver’s license
  • A valid identification card issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue
  • A valid U.S. passport
  • A valid employee identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government or of this state, or by any county, municipality, board, authority, or other political subdivision of this state
  • A valid pilot’s license issued by the federal aviation administration or other authorized agency of the United States
  • A valid U.S. military identification card with a photograph
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the elector (A cable bill, a telephone bill, documentation from a public institution of higher education in Colorado containing at least the name, date of birth, and residence address of the student elector, or a paycheck from a government institution are sufficient forms of ID)
  • A valid Medicare or Medicaid card
  • A certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate
  • Certified documentation of naturalization
  • A valid student identification card with a photograph issued by a institution of higher education in Colorado

Can I vote by absentee ballot on a permanent basis in Colorado? 

YES!  You can update your mailing address online at, anytime you change your address. You can also use that service to change your address back, if you wish to have mail delivered again to the address where you are registered to vote. 

Can I vote in person before the election in Colorado?

Yes. Check out our Early Voting page for details.

I lost my Colorado absentee ballot.  Can I still vote in person?

YES!  If you lose your Absentee Ballot or otherwise destroy it, you may vote during the Early Voting period or on election day. When you vote, you will be provided a provisional ballot, and you must affirm that you requested an Absentee Ballot and did not and will not vote it.

Additional Information

State Elections Website:
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 


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