DENVER (AP) – Democrats on Monday rejected proposals from Colorado Republicans that would make mail ballots optional and allow anyone to challenge votes cast by mail.

The bills failed Monday on 3-2 party-line votes in a Senate committee.

Last year, Democrats passed an election-law overhaul that, among other things, allowed voter registration on Election Day and required mail ballots for every registered voter.

Republicans have criticized the election changes and have expressed concerns over possible fraud. They have pledged to try this year to address portions of the new election rules or try to undo them. But with Democrats controlling both legislative chambers, they will be facing long odds.

That was apparent Monday with a couple of the bills they argued for, and the Republican sponsors saw the fate of their proposals coming.

Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg, who proposed allowing people to opt-out of getting a ballot by mail, stood up and was about to leave before the committee took a vote.

While making a case for his bill, he said some people prefer to vote in person and don’t trust getting ballots in the mail.

“I have spoken to a lot of people who do not want to receive their ballots in the mail. They don’t want their ballots to be traveling through the custody of the U.S. Postal Service and end up in a mail box and then delivered to ” he said.

Democrats argued that letting people opt out of getting mail ballots was unnecessary because they can still vote in person if they choose.

The other bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Ted Harvey, would have let anyone challenge the validity of a ballot cast by mail. “This is simply putting in place that ability to be able to challenge mail ballots by election judges as those judges come in,” he said

Peg Pearl, an attorney with Colorado Ethics Watch, argued that Harvey’s bill would implement “a new yet vague challenge process for mail ballots that creates a likely possibility that an eligible Colorado voter would be disenfranchised.”

Democrats on the committee also argued that Harvey’s proposal was too broad.

LINKS: Mail-Ballot Opt-Out | Mail-Ballot Challenges

– By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer

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