Secretary Wayne Williams tells clerks in Rifle he knows they’re always busy

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with county clerks who attended regional training in Rifle last week. Back row, left to right: Pam Phipps, Clear Creek, Kathy Neel of Summit, Michelle Nauer of Ouray, the secretary of state, Tressa Guynes of Montrose and Boots Campbell of Rio Blanco. Front row, Sara Rosene of Grand Junction, Teri Stephenson of Delta, Kathleen Erie of San Miguel, Colleen Stewart of Gilpin, Janice Vos Caudill of Pitkin, and Ladonna Jaramillo of San Juan. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams urged county clerks to voice their opinions next month after they view proposed regulations for allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without any restrictions.

The Secretary of State’s office earlier asked some clerks for their ideas on drafting rules to deal with Proposition 108, which voters approved last November. It allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without affiliating with a party. The Secretary of State’s office is working on proposed regulations to be sent to clerks in May.

“When you get the draft regulations, please review them,” Williams said. “Please let us know if something works or if something doesn’t work. I need both of those.”

Williams on Friday spoke to clerks and their staffs who gathered at the western region clerks’ conference in Rifle.

Aspen County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill, left, and her elections applications administrator, Greg McPherson, right, flank Jerome Lovato, with the Colorado Secretary of State’s election staff. (SOS photo)

“It’s a busy time, but that’s pretty much always the case when you’re a county clerk,” Williams said.

He speaks from experience. He served as the El Paso County clerk and recorder before becoming secretary of state in 2015.

Williams also noted that he has told county commissioners to expect their clerks to ask for more money to run elections because of Proposition 108.

“I know you guys are good, but none of you can send out more ballots at the same cost,” he said.

Prior to the passage of Prop 108, unaffiliated voters had to declare party affiliation to participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary. Now, all unaffiliated voters will automatically be mailed ballots.

Ouray County Clerk Michelle Nauer and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Williams addressed some of the same issues when he attended other regional training conferences for the clerks. He visited Cañon City on March 22 for the southern regional and Sterling on April 13 for the eastern regional.

Williams touched on voter fraud, the popularity of 24-hour drop boxes and bills going through the legislature.

Williams doesn’t have to go far to the next  regional conference.  The clerks’ central region meets May 3 in Colorado Springs, where Williams lives. He commutes to the Secretary of State’s office in Denver.