Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has been on the speaking circuit in recent weeks, answering questions about voter lists, election security and how it will work next year when unaffiliated voters get mailed a Democrat and a Republican ballot for the primary.
Williams is scheduled to address Colorado Mesa University’s political club on Friday, and he will appear with Sen. Angela Williams — no relation but they joke about being brother and sister — at a town hall in Denver on Nov. 2. He or his deputy have spoken to two chapters of the League of Women voters, and the Broomfield Democrats and the Jeffco Republicans.
“Colorado lets people vote,” Williams told the Douglas County Republican Women on Wednesday in Lone Tree.
“I grew up in a community in Virginia where there was no school board election, they were appointed. I grew up in a community where you didn’t get to vote on tax increases, on ballot questions.
“You have the right to vote here and Coloradans treasure that right.”
This fall’s coordinated election is Nov. 7. There is no statewide ballot measure, but voters will consider school board races, City Council races in some jurisdictions and local tax measures. Clerks could mail ballots starting Monday.
Williams said he’s happy to accept speaking requests because it’s important to educate Coloradans on new laws that have been passed and talk about how the office operates.
“If you have moved since the last election or you have kids or grandkids who have moved, please have them go to govotecolorado.com so they can update your address so the ballot is sent to the correct location,” Williams said. “We do not forward ballots because you may have moved across the county line and that means you have different races you can vote in.”
He also addressed Proposition 108, which voters approved last year concerning unaffiliated voters and primary elections. Previously, unaffiliated voters could participate in primary elections by affiliating with the Republican or Democratic parties. Voters then could go online and immediately unaffiliate afterward.
But starting with next year’s primary on June 26, unaffiliated voters will be mailed both a Democratic and a Republican ballot unless they notify their clerk of their preference for just one ballot.
“They can vote either one of them but they may not vote both of them and so we are working to make sure people understand that,” Williams said.
The secretary praised two lawmakers who were at the lunch, Kim Ransom of Douglas County and Justin Everett of Jefferson County, saying they carried legislation that helps ensure the accuracy of Colorado’s voter lists.
“We have a number of safeguards to ensure the security of the voter list and although our office was ‘scanned,’ there was no penetration by the Russians or anybody else,” Williams said. “We did just hire someone who spent two years in Russia but she is an American.”
Williams also touted the office’s business stats. The fees to renew a nonprofit or business every year are among the lowest in the nation.
“We try to make it easy to do business online so you never have to go to the office to take care of things because none of us really want to drive on I-25,” he said, to laughter. “I say that because if you looked at my Facebook post I was heading up on Saturday night for the Volunteers of America Fundraiser, supporting a good cause. I posted a picture in your beautiful county going zero mph — on a Saturday!”
“If you have any complaints,” Weaver joked, “call Lora.”
Also in attendance were Tamra Farah with Americans for Prosperity, and Barbara Phegley Piper representing Sen. Cory Gardner’s office.
Piper pointed to a ranking from the Center for Effective Lawmaking listing Gardner as the 12th most effective Republican in the entire U.S. Senate. She read a story on the ranking written by Dan Njegomir of Colorado Politics.
“No, that’s not some GOP front that gins up rave reviews for swing-state party members with an eye toward the next election,” the article stated. “Indeed, 2nd Congressional District Democratic U.S. Rep. (and gubernatorial contender) Jared Polis of Boulder does almost as well by the center’s standards.”
There weren’t quite the cheers in the room at the mention of Polis as there were of Gardner.