Secretary Wayne Williams: Helping other nations is our responsiblity

By Keara Brosnan

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back row in the center, and elections director Judd Choate, back row left, with foreign dignitaries who are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back row in the center, and elections director Judd Choate, back row left, with foreign dignitaries who are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program.

The cost of elections equipment was one concern of international dignitaries who met with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Tuesday.

The leaders, who represented 23 different countries, are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program organized by the U.S. Department of State.

“Helping other nations and their elected officials is our responsibility,” Williams said.

Ukraine, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, Pakistan, Nigeria, New Zealand and Vietnam were among the participating countries.

International visitors talk elections and government with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.
International visitors talk elections and government with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (Photo by Keara Brosnan)

The countries represented are at varying stages of democracy, with some countries appointing officials rather than electing them.

Many of the questions for the secretary and elections director Judd Choate revolved around partisanship, voter turnout and money needed to conduct a fair and democratic elections process.

Williams spoke on the importance of bipartisan cooperation, voter accessibility and government transparency.

“The United States has a long history of improving elections systems providing for a democratic-republican form of government,” Williams said.

Rauf Denktash from Cyprus jokingly asked Choate if he would support Williams if the secretary ran for governor despite their party affiliation. Williams is a Republican and Choate is a Democrat.

“That’s not actually that crazy,” said Choate.

Today is the second time in a month that Williams has met with foreign dignitaries with the International Visitor Leadership Program. In March they talked to Williams about Colorado’s “messy” caucus system, which they had witnessed the night before.