By Lynn Bartels and Eddie Morgan
Costilla County Clerk and Recorder Karen Garcia had never had a secretary of state visit her office — until Wayne Williams dropped by one year ago.
Williams visited three other county clerks that September day as part of his effort to check in on the elected officials, view their election set up and see if there is any way his office can help. The office published blogs about the other clerk visits, but wasn’t able to get a hold of Costilla County to check some details.
Fast forward to Wednesday when Williams visited Salida, where clerks from the southern region were holding training. Williams met two staffers from Costilla County. Costilla County? We wrote a blog about you, but couldn’t publish it because we had check out some final details.
“We kept looking for it,” staffer Miranda Esquibel said.
“No one answered any phone number we called,” she was informed, only to be told the number changed but the old one continued to ring, making people think it was still in service.
Esquibel said the training in Salida on Tuesday and Wednesday was great.
SOS staffers Hilary Rudy, Jessi Romero and Danny Casias talked to clerks and their staffs about a variety of topics, and conducted training for a post-election audit that Colorado will be the first to institute.
A year ago, Garcia told Williams she wanted to put a 24-hour ballot drop box in the northern part of Costilla County, where most of the people live. The office expects to have the box installed by the election this November.
Esquibel said it was great to have Williams drop by the office in San Luis last year because, “it’s always nice for people to come see us in our small little town.” San Luis, which was founded in 1851, is the oldest town in Colorado.
Costilla County, which is on the New Mexico border, was one of the original 17 counties created by the Territory of Colorado on Nov. 1, 1861. Portions were later folded into Saguache, Hinsdale, Rio Grande and Alamosa counties. Costilla County arrived at its modern boundaries in 1913, and now is the ninth least populous county of Colorado’s 64 counties, according to census data.
The latest election figures from the Colorado Secretary of State shows nearly 2,500 active voters in Costilla County.
Eddie Morgan works for the Colorado Secretary of State’s election division.