Secretary Wayne Williams shows how easy it is to register to vote in Colorado

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson and Secretary of State Wayne Williams celebrate National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday. (Lynn Bartels)
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson and Secretary of State Wayne Williams celebrate National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday. (Lynn Bartels)

Hats off to Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who spent a chunk of Tuesday talking about why voting matters and how easy it is to register to vote in Colorado, and then topped it off by starring in a voter-video set to  “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).”

Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, where the importance of voting was stressed at events throughout the country.

When Williams served as El Paso County clerk and recorder, two school board races in 2013 were decided by a single vote, he said at various events.

Williams left his Colorado Springs house early Tuesday to arrive at CBS Denver at 6:15 a.m. He capped off the day at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in historic Five Points where a voter-registration event was hosted by Black Women for Positive Change, an international group. The chairman of the Colorado chapter is Patricia Duncan, whose late sister, Secretary of State Vikki Buckley, died in office in 1999.

“Colorado makes it extraordinarily easy to vote,” Williams said, asking library participants to get out their smart phones.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and host Tom Green of KWGN on the set of Daybreak Colorado.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and KWGN host Tom Green on the set of Daybreak Colorado.

He then directed them to GoVoteColorado.com, where Coloradans with a driver’s license or valid ID can register, update their home address or change their party affiliation. He pointed out that at CBS 4 earlier that morning he assisted traffic reporter Joel Hillan in updating his address and did the same with 5 a.m. producer Greg Young at KDVR/KWGN.  The procedures took only a couple of minutes.

Colorado was the fourth state to allow online voter registration, in 2010, and the first to allow registration via smart phone or tablet, in 2012.

The event at the Blair-Caldwell library was also hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. which was founded in 1913 and is the largest black sorority in the country.  Among those who participated in the voter-registration event  were Patricia Shaver, chairwoman of the Arapahoe County Democratic Party;  Kadisha Haynes, former chief of staff for the state Senate Democrats;  Naquetta Ricks, 2014 candidate for CU Regent from District 7; and Denise Edwards and Peggy Wortham, who used to work for former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

Williams has an incredible singing voice, but limited dance moves. Deleno Austin, who was shooting the video, got some laughs afterward when he nodded at Williams and said the video message should be, “If you don’t vote, you will dance like that.”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams , back row, joins others at the Blair-Caldwell African American Library in Denver for an event celebrating National Voter Registration Day. (Lynn Bartels)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams , back row, joins others at the Blair-Caldwell African American Library in Denver for an event celebrating National Voter Registration Day. (Lynn Bartels)

Williams on Tuesday also participated in a National Voter Registration Day rally at Civic Center hosted by Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson and attended by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. He also talked to The Denver Post about updating registration information.

Williams stressed the importance of ensuring ballots count for overseas and military voters.

“The people putting their lives on the line to protect our right to vote ought to have the right to vote,” Williams said.

The National Association of Secretaries of State in 2012 established September as National Voter Registration month. The purpose was to encourage voter participation and increase awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has been at the forefront in urging voter participation. In 2012, then Secretary of State Scott Gessler launched a voter registration effort that included TV, radio, print and social media spots — some done in Spanish — urging Coloradans to register or update their registration.  In addition, the secretary of state’s office sent out around 900,000 postcards in 2012 and 2014 encouraging Coloradans who weren’t believed to be registered to register.

Data from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office shows that Colorado has 3.5 million voters. Of that:

  • 37.4 percent are unaffiliated
  • 31.7 7 percent are Republican
  • 29.7 7 percent are Democrat.

Of the eligible population that is registered to vote, Colorado ranks third of all states:

  • Michigan, 89.5 percent
  • North Carolina, 88.8 percent
  • Colorado, 87.8 percent

Three Colorado counties have less than 1,000 voters:

  • Hinsdale, 689 voters
  • San Juan, 730 voters
  • Mineral, 812 voters

Three Colorado counties have more than 400,000 voters:

  • Denver, 434,287 voters
  • El Paso, 412,858 voters
  • Jefferson, 400, 092 voters

Williams earlier this month talked about how easy it is to register to vote in Colorado with Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh on 850 KOA radio and with KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs.