Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talked elections Thursday night in two appearances, first at Telemundo and then at a town hall with Sen. Angela Williams at Manual High School in Denver.
The interview at Telemundo, an American Spanish-language television network, focused on Tuesday’s coordinated election. Most but not all of Colorado voters are deciding on contests in their districts, from tax questions to school board races and municipal contests.
In addition, the Secretary of State’s office participated in a phone bank, handling election questions from viewers.
The conversation at Sen. Williams’ town hall concerned business operations at the office and elections, followed by a question-and-answer period.
Among the participants were Denver residents Pat Manning and Ruben Espinosa.
Secretary Williams talked about the ballot measure voters approved last year that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without declaring to be a Republican or a Democrat. That means unaffiliated voters will receive both a Democrat and Republican ballot mailed to them for the June 2018 primary, but they can return only one ballot.
Already, there is plenty of interest in Colorado’s crowded open governor’s race and other contests.
“Angela and I, by the way, are two of the people in the state not running for governor,” the secretary of state said to laughter.
Before Williams started her portion of the town hall, on the upcoming 2018 legislative session, she thanked Williams, saying the secretary of state’s office has been incredibly responsive when she has reached out on behalf of constituents in her northeast Denver district.
The interview with Telemundo’s Pamela Padilla looked at voter turnout in Tuesday’s coordinated election.
“Older people are voting at a much higher rate,” Williams said in English, which was translated to Spanish for viewers.
In connection with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Telemundo operated a phone bank so viewers could ask questions. Because the show was set for the same time as the SOS’ Spanish speakers who were in the field or in class, the office reached out for volunteers. Taking questions from Spanish-speaking viewers were Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County, Gloria Shoch, a community affairs manager for MillerCoors, and her father, John Shoch. Secretary of State staffers Ben Schler and Melissa Polk helped provide answers.
“We had some great calls,” Gloria Shoch said. “One person said he wanted to vote for president — we had to explain not this election. Another person said it was their first time voting. And another wanted to vote for the guest who had just been on TV.”
That guest was Aurora City Council candidate Martha Lugo, but the caller was from Lamar and couldn’t vote in Aurora’s municipal election.