Colorado SOS participates in Homeland Security election exercise

Two Colorado Secretary of state staffers, Trevor Timmons, left, and Rich Schliep, right, flank two Dominion Voting Systems staffers, Donetta Davidson and Kay Stimson, after a Department of Homeland Security tabletop exercise Monday. (SOS photo)

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office and other agencies participated Monday in a virtual exercise aimed at election preparedness.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sponsored the tabletop exercise with some 20 states as the general election looms and concerns continue about election security issues.

“They posed scenarios and asked, ‘How would you approach this?’” said Trevor Timmons, chief information officer for the Colorado Secretary of State.

Timmons and other SOS officials, along with members of the Colorado National Guard, the Governor’s Office of Information and Technology and DHS officials based in Colorado participated in the table top from the Secretary of State’s conference room.

Additionally,  Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, recognized as a leader in election security, appeared today on a national public radio program to talk about election security.

“You have to have processes in place that people can have confidence in. That’s why Colorado has some of the highest voter participation rates in the country,” he told The Takeway.

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Sabor attendee: Secretary Williams “cares about our community”

The Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 11th annual Sabor on Friday night at the Denver Botanic Gardens attracted plenty of people. From left to right, state GOP chairman Jeff Hays, with his back to the camera, Maria Del Carmen Guzman-Weese, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton and Rocío Pérez, the CEO of Inventíva. (SOS photo)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis. (SOS Photo).

Secretary of State Wayne Williams attended the 11th annual Sabor last week hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver at the Denver Botanical Gardens.

“Sabor,” the Spanish word for flavor, was the theme of the night, which included a “sensory exploration of the Americas.”

The event featured an impressive array of food and drink, along with traditional Peruvian outfits and live Spanish music. encompassing the Latin American culture.

“Colorado has a rich Hispanic heritage and our office has a great partnership with Denver’s Hispanic Chamber, including working together to make a welcome video for new businesses,” Williams said.

Saida Perez and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Local businesses came out to celebrate.

Saida Perez, owner of Tru Services insurance agency, stopped Secretary Williams to thank him for his work and take a picture with him.

“The Sabor was a great event for networking and allowing the government and business to work together. I have a lot of clientele that need to have things notarized and Secretary Williams has made this process easy and efficient,” Perez said.

It was an experience repeated throughout the evening.

“It was a lot of fun to sample some great food, experience awesome culture and visit with so many friends,” Williams said.

“The best thing, though, was being stopped by folks I’d never met who wanted to let me know how easy it was to use our website to register a business or nonprofit, become a notary, or register to vote,” Williams said.

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Denver’s Amber McReynolds to take on a new election role

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Denver Elections director Amber McReynolds, who will be assuming a new kind of election role this month.

Denver ‘s elections director Amber McReynolds announced last week that she will be resigning her post to take on a new role as the executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition. McReynolds has served in the City & County of Denver Clerk & Recorder office for the last 13 years, and the last seven as the director of elections.

During her tenure, she has overseen pivotal elections for the city of Denver and developed innovative techniques in election administration which earned the office numerous awards. McReynolds is most proud of Denver’s first-in-the-nation innovations Ballot TRACE and eSign which have both been adopted by other counties throughout the country.

Since Ballot TRACE was implemented in 2009, around 200,000 voters have started to use this customer service application to track their ballots and receive updates on the election, she said.  As a result, visibility of the election process has increased and Denver Elections has experienced a 90 percent reduction in calls, McReynolds said.

“I have been blessed to lead an incredible and talented team at Denver elections to transform the office into an exceptional office that is now nationally and internationally recognized,” McReynolds said in a video the office released when she announced her resignation. “Serving the city I love in a field that I am deeply passionate about is what has made my time here so special and inspirational.”

Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson thanked McReynolds for her service and dedication to Denver elections in a recent news release.

“Amber played a critical role in modernizing the election model in Colorado along with many efficiencies and innovations for Denver. We will miss her and her visionary leadership, and wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor,” Johnson said.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams noted that McReynolds is recognized nationally for her efforts.

National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition (NVAHI) focuses on removing barriers to voter participation by encouraging states to adopt a Vote at Home System or universal vote by mail. Moreover, NVAHI believes that “nothing is as fundamental — or as foundational — to the success of our country, as ensuring that when elections happen, as many votes as possible can and do participate.”

McReynolds will leave Denver Elections on Aug 15, but plans to be based in Denver for her new job.

Tom Noel, also known as Dr. Colorado, to appear for Colorado Day

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and University of Colorado Denver history professor Tom Noel, after stepping of a 16th Street Mall shuttle bus on Monday. (SOS photo)

One of the best things about riding the 16th Street Mall shuttle is you run into folks you know, including Tom Noel, a lover of history, particularly Denver and Colorado history.

It turns out Professor Noel, or Dr. Colorado as he is known, on Monday was hitching a ride to his barber so he would look spiffy for Colorado Day today when Noel and other members of the new State Historians Council will be introduced to the public at History Colorado. Noel will lead the group.

I was happy to introduce Noel to my boss, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who asked, “What’s a state historian?”

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Wednesday is Colorado Day

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams during his trip to visit the county clerk and recorders this summer in Jackson and Grand counties. (SOS photo)

On Aug 1, 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation of statehood for Colorado, making our colorful state the 38th member of the Union. Now, 142 years later, many across Colorado are celebrating with free admissions to parks on Aug 6, cooking up a classic Colorado meal or by attending any number of the cultural events in Denver this week.

Chris Cash, the charities program manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. (SOS photo)

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne will celebrate Colorado Day at the History Colorado Center at 10 a.m. Wednesday. (Here’s a list of events at History Colorado for the day.)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has lived in Colorado for 26 years and enjoys life with his wife Holly and family in Colorado Springs. He said the beautiful weather, friendly people, and “can-do” attitude drew him to Colorado as a recent University of Virginia law school graduate.

Colorado native Chris Cash, the charities program manager for the SOS, grew up in Boulder and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.

“Like everybody else, I love the mountains,” Cash said. “As a youngster, I especially valued skiing. Now that I have no knees and I-70 is impassable it’s practically irrelevant, so I find other ways to enjoy the outdoors.”

Among other Secretary of State staffers, enthusiasm also runs high for the Centennial State.  Just last month, Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler hiked to the summit of San Luis Peak as part of the #UChooseCO campaign.

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