Secretary Williams joins other election officials for national discussion

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams today appeared on a panel concerning best election practices that was hosted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. From left to right: West Virginia Secretary of Sate Mac Warner, Paul Lux, supervisor of elections for Okaloose County, Fla., EAC Vice Chair Christy McCormick, Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County, Ohio, board of elections, and Williams. (EAC photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams today joined other election officials and talked about Colorado’s registration statistics, its risk-limiting audits, and voter confidence. He opened by wishing the room a “Happy Rocktober,” a shout-out the Rockies for their historic win against the Chicago Cubs last night.

Williams was part of a U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Election Readiness Summit.

“There are really two goals in an elections process,” Williams said. “One is to run it fairly and accurately, and the other, and just as important in many ways, is for the people to recognize that it has been done fairly and accurately.”

He was joined by West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County, Ohio, board of elections, Paul Lux, supervisor of elections for Okaloosa County, Fla., and the panel moderator, EAC Vice Chair Christy McCormick.

The panel also discussed youth involvement in the election process, highlighting Ohio’s Youth at the Booth program, West Virginia’s Jennings Randolf award, and Colorado’s High School Student Ambassador Program.  Check out Williams visit to Denver’s East High School last week for National Voter Registration Day.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams shows voter turnout data. (EAC photo)

Secretary Warner opened the panel, entitled “Putting Voters First — Best Practices in Election Administration,” by noting that less than seven out of 100 military and civilians serving overseas have votes counted in elections, according to Federal Voting Assistance Program’s report to congress. He reflected on the difficulty that he and his family faced as service members trying to cast their votes and emphasized the importance of including those serving overseas in the democratic process.

“When you’re in harm’s way you want to have a voice in who sends you into harm’s way,” Warner said. “You want to vote for the person that’s going to get you out of harm’s way.”

Lux also discussed ballot access for active military and the measures his office has taken to increase participation, as one in five of Lux’s constituent base is military or family. He discussed proactively entering in voter data to create a “pull system” and his expansion of the voting use of the federal right in absentee ballot.

Secretary Williams pointed out Colorado’s strong voter turnout record.

He pointed to the state’s use of risk limiting audits, which has been in place for two elections so far and won numerous awards including a digital award last week.

“We have a way of statically proving, of showing with statistical certainty, that nobody in Moscow, and nobody in Beijing, and nobody anywhere else in the world changed a single vote in the election,” Williams said. “That to me is a critical thing.”

Yet, he said, as much as 38 percent of Americans think officials haven’t done very much, or anything at all, to prevent foreign interference, according to a recent NPR Marist survey.