Secretary Wayne Williams visits Rio Grande County clerk

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with the Rio Grande County clerk and recorder's office. From left to right: Megan Gallegos, Williams, Michelle Montoya, Kathy Gonzales, Clerk Cindy Hill, Sherryl Steving, Matilda Quintana and Jake Mikeljack. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with the Rio Grande County clerk and recorder’s office. From left to right: Megan Gallegos, Williams, Michelle Montoya, Kathy Gonzales, Clerk Cindy Hill, Sherryl Steving, Matilda Quintana and Jake Mikeljack. (SOS photo)

By Keara Brosnan

Some county clerks struggle to find enough election judges, but Rio Grande County Clerk and Recorder Cindy Hill told Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams she isn’t one of them.

“Farmers’ wives make up a lot of the judges, which works out nicely because elections in the fall are different from harvest time,” Hill said.

Williams visited Del Norte this week and met with Hill and her staff as part of his goal to regularly check in with all 64 county clerks in their offices.

Rio Grande boasts of 6,252 active voters and is also one of three Colorado counties with a bilingual requirement, which poses a challenge for such a small county. Based on census data, the U.S. Department of Justice dictates that the clerk provides ballots in other languages.

Rio Grande Clerk and Recorder Cindy Hall and her deputy, Sherryl Steving, talk with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, not pictured. (SOS photo)
Rio Grande Clerk and Recorder Cindy Hall and her deputy, Sherryl Steving, talk with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, not pictured. (SOS photo)

“Sometimes we will send a Spanish ballot to someone with a Spanish surname,” Hill said, “and they will come into the office upset saying they don’t speak Spanish.”

Despite the challenges, Hill had nothing but praise for the Secretary of State’s office, particularly deputy elections director Hilary Rudy. And Hill echoed the sentiments of other county clerks who bemoaned the loss of Paula Barnett, who left the Secretary of State’s office to work for Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell.

“We loved Paula and we are sad to see her go,” Hill said.

The eight employees who work in the clerk and recorder’s office handle everything from elections to recording.

“Everybody does everything,” Hill said, just as an elections staffer helped a customer with license plate information.

Hill has been with the clerk and recorder’s office since 2002. She began her career in elections, moved to recording and has proudly served as county clerk since 2011.