Between the governor’s stay at home order, now extended through April 26, and county health orders, questions have arisen as to what constitutes residency in the state of Colorado.
The answer is in the state’s tax rolls, but not property taxes and where you pay them. Specifically, it’s the address you list on your state income tax.
Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order directs people to stay home. Home has a specific definition.
“The Title 1 statute has the residency requirements for voting. Basically, you have one legal residence,” says Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell. “It is your primary residence … can’t be vacant land or a business.”
The state statute Mitchell refers to, C.R.S. 1-2-102, states, “The residence given for voting purposes shall be the same as the residence for state income tax purposes and for motor vehicle registration.”
Chaffee County initiated a public health order in mid-March that closed lodging and directed all visitors to leave.
“Visitors to Chaffee County are directed to return home immediately and persons considering visiting Chaffee County should remain home,” Andrea Carlstrom, director of Chaffee County Public and Environmental Health said March 18.
Colorado state statute also determines residence as primary place of abode.
“In determining what is the principal or primary place of abode of a person, the following circumstances relating to the person shall be taken into account: Business pursuits, employment, income sources, residence for income or other tax purposes, age, marital status, residence of parents, spouse or civil union partner, and children, if any, leaseholds, situs of personal and real property, existence of any other residences and the amount of time spent at each residence, and motor vehicle registration.” – C.R.S. 1-2-102
Per the public health department order, residency restrictions include Chaffee County’s vast federally managed public lands in addition to Colorado Parks and Wildlife closures.
On March 26, CPW closed all playgrounds, campgrounds, camping and camping facilities at Colorado’s state parks and State Wildlife Areas until further notice.
Non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails, boat ramps, marinas and shorelines as well as some picnic and parking areas where social distancing could be practiced remained open.