Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams this week congratulated his elections staff on their work and asked them to help make the incoming secretary as successful as he has been.
Colorado set a record turnout for a midterm election, although ballots are still being counted.
“You guys did a phenomenal job,” the secretary said. “Thank you.”
On another Nov. 6, in 1990, Coloradans elected Republican Hank Brown to the U.S. Senate and re-elected Democrat Roy Romer governor. On this Nov. 6, Democrats shattered the state’s reputation as a ticket-splitter, electing Democrats to every statewide constitutional office.
The two top election staffers in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office praised colleagues Wednesday for their behind-the-scenes work that led to the successful general election on Tuesday.
“We ran a really fantastic election yesterday,” elections director Judd Choate said to those assembled outside his office.
In fact, the bipartisan attorneys who hang out in the Secretary of State’s office on election day handling reports from their folks in the field conceded the day was a bit boring.
That was just fine with Choate and his deputy director, Hilary Rudy.
“We had a great election, a secure election,” Choate said.
“One of the things about working in elections is you get notoriety or publicity when things go badly. That’s when people pay attention to elections. They don’t really think about the people behind the curtain,” he said. “I just want you all to know that we appreciate you and I think all of the citizens of Colorado appreciate all of your work.”
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, widely regarded as one of the best election chiefs in the country, on Tuesday lost his re-election bid to Democrat Jena Griswold.
Here is the letter he penned to the staff at 12:20 this morning:
By the time you read this in the morning, most of you will be aware that the administration of the 2018 general election went extraordinarily well. We had record turnout and voters across the state were able to easily participate and our election processes ran wonderfully.
Unfortunately for me, the results in my election were not what I desired. Jena and I spoke last night and plan to meet soon to discuss the transition that will occur on January 8.
Today I’m visiting with Brazilian election observers in Colorado Springs so I will be out of the office. I’ll be back on Thursday to prepare for the risk limiting audit.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with you for the past four years. Together we have built the best Secretary of State office in the nation. I’m proud of all we’ve done as a team and wish the very best for each of you during the next term.
Visitors from Hungary and India visited Secretary of State Wayne Williams today to learn more about how Colorado elections are run.
With the midterm election Tuesday, the international guests were eager to ask questions about the process. Among the Hungarians were members of FIDESZ party, the ruling party in Hungary for the last eight years, parliament members, and communications directors for various offices of the Hungarian government.
“Mail ballots are strange to us, we don’t have that in Hungary,” one guest said.
Williams said mail ballots make voting more accessible.
Another question: “Would online voting make young people vote more?”
Williams said he doesn’t trust the security of it yet, but he did explain how some military and overseas voters are able to vote online, through an encrypted system.
“Some people don’t believe someone who works on a submarine should be allowed to vote,” he said. “We do.”
After two failed attempts, the women’s suffrage movement won voting rights for women by a state referendum in 1893. The amendment was drafted by J. Warner Mills, a Denver lawyer, and sponsored by state Rep. J.T. Heath of Montrose County. “The opposition saloonkeepers and brewers, who feared women voters would crack down on liquor, were not taking the suffrage campaign seriously and mounted little opposition,” according to an Internet article on the vote.
Colorado became the second state to enfranchise women behind Wyoming, paving the way for the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.
One of the leaders in the suffrage movement was Eliza Pickrell Routt, the wife of Colorado’s first governor, John Routt.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has honored the former first lady and her contributions to women’s suffrage by naming an award after her. It goes to high schools where 85 percent or more of the senior class has registered to vote.
“When women got the right to, she was the first one to register,” he said.