Secretary Williams visits with county clerks on the eastern plains

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, wearing the Denver Broncos shirt and standing in the back row, talks to county clerks and their staffs at the Colorado County Clerks Association eastern region Sept. 8 in Limon. That happened to be the same day as the Broncos home opener. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, wearing the Denver Broncos shirt and standing in the back row, talks to county clerks and their staffs at the Colorado County Clerks Association eastern region Sept. 8 in Limon. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams assured county clerks and election officials that the goal of his office this time of the year is to “make sure you’re ready for the election.”

Williams attended the Colorado County Clerks Association eastern region conference in Limon on Sept. 8. The SOS’ election director, Judd Choate, also spoke at the event.

During the morning session Thursday, the secretary urged clerks to take advantage of the office’s offer to help pay for ballot drop boxes so voters don’t have to mail their ballots. Regardless of when a ballot is mailed, it must be received by the clerk at 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to count.

“I want a drop box in every county,” Williams said.

Baca County Clerk Sharon Dubois said she found the two-day conference “very informative,” noting “it’s a lot easier to understand the details when you are talking about them instead of just reading the rule book.”

“And I loved that Wayne Williams was there,” she added.

The first day of the conference was the same day as the Broncos home opener. As a result, a number of clerks and their staffers wore Broncos shirts — as did the secretary of state.

Williams also questioned clerks about how many voters turned out on the first day that voter service centers were required to be open for an election. Not many, was the response. Some even had no voters. The number of centers required and when they must open is dictated by a massive elections bill the legislature passed in 2013. Williams wants lawmakers next year to tighten up the time frame and allow flexibility on the hours the centers are required to be open.

“My preference is to eliminate as many mandates as possible,” the secretary said.

When he was El Paso County clerk and recorder in 2014, he was required to have 12 polling sites open on the first day of early voting. Each was open for five hours. The number of voters: five.

In addition to Baca’s Dubois, the county clerks at the conference were: Kit Carson, Susan Corliss; Kiowa, Delisa Weeks; Lincoln, Corinne Lengel; Logan, Pam Bacon; Morgan, Susan Bailey; Prowers, Jana Coen; and Yuma, Bev Wenger. The clerks also sent their election directors and other staffers.