Colorado Rights Blog


  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

After ACLU letter, Durango reverses position on voter registration volunteers

October 12, 2012

The ACLU of Colorado recently scored a victory that will positively impact future elections in our important swing state. The City of Durango Library Director sent an email to library staff incorrectly advising staff that it was illegal for people to register voters while wearing campaign paraphernalia. An Organizing for America voter registration volunteer working outside the Durango Public Library was asked by a Durango Public Library employee to stop his voter registration activities because he was wearing campaign buttons. The volunteer then contacted the ACLU of Colorado to verify that the city’s policy was not supported by Colorado law. The volunteer’s suspicion was correct, there is no law in Colorado which prohibits private citizens from donning clothing, wearing buttons, or stickers, or otherwise carrying signs indicating support for a particular candidate while registering voters.

In response to the volunteer’s report about Durango’s mistaken directive to its employees, ACLU staff attorney Sara Rich sent a letter to the Director of the Durango Public Library to address the fact that library employees were violating the First Amendment rights of citizens and impeding open access to voter registration solely based on the flawed policy. The Durango City Attorney responded to the ACLU of Colorado’s letter and agreed to notify the Library Director and the City Clerk that the City of Durango will no longer attempt to prohibit citizens from registering voters while wearing campaign paraphernalia. This decision brings the City of Durango in line with the law in our state which allows private citizens to register voters while wearing campaign paraphernalia, as long as the individual does not discriminate based on party affiliation and registers all individuals who seek to register. 

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