The Immigrant Voting Project and
New York University Law Students for Human Rights
Resident Noncitizen Voting in Colorado:
Connecting women’s and non-citizens’ voting rights, Coloradans resisted women’s suffrage in 1876, at the same time as the state opened voting to male non-citizens, and then liberalized voting rights with regard to women in 1893, shortly before it closed voting to non-citizens. At the Convention on the adoption of Colorado’s Constitution of 1876, female suffrage, not alien suffrage, was the most controversial voting provision debated. The Constitution ultimately adopted did not give women the right to vote, although suffragists succeeded in pushing through a provision enabling Colorado to adopt women’s suffrage in the future by a simple majority vote of the legislature and electorate, rather than a constitutional amendment. One delegate to the Convention, in a minority report supporting female suffrage, cited many arguments that modern advocates advance in support of non-citizen voting rights, declaring that:
“It may be stated as a rule applicable to every species of republic, that depriving any class of the right of Suffrage, invites contempt of that class, and in fact produces it. Further, in a republic the right of Suffrage is part of the means of wellfare of any person, or class of persons….
In the city of New York alone, more than forty thousand women are making vests and shirts at ten cents apiece, toiling with bleeding fingers and weary eyes at late hours, to find a scanty support for their children.
In all the Union there are doubtless near a million of such cases. They represent perhaps three millions of children. There are today thousands in Colorado. In the near future there will be ten thousand. Can any one suppose that if these women had the right to vote their interests would not be looked after by the politicians of all classes?”
 CO Const. of 1876, Art. VII, Sec. 1. Reproduced in Francis Newton Thorpe, The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Hertofore Forming the United States of America 492 (1909).
 Raskin at 1416.
 CO Const. Art. 7, § 1.
 C.R.S.A. § 1-2-101.
 Colorado voters and legislators voted to enfranchise women in 1893. Women and Social Movements website, Why Did Colorado Suffragists Succeed in Winning the Right to Vote in 1893 and Not in 1877?, Available at http://womhist.binghamton.edu/colosuff/intro.htm.
 “Judge Bromwell’s Minority Report on Suffrage: Read, Ordered Printed, and Laid on the Table for Future Consideration,” 8 February 1876, pp. 1-9, Records of the Colorado Constitutional Convention (1875-1879), -M1599, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado. Available at http://womhist.binghamton.edu/colosuff/doc1.htm .
 Skafte v. Rorex, 191 Colo. 399, 402 (Colo. 1976).