Nov. 6 went “extraordinarily well” — from an election official’s standpoint

Look, it’s election staffers at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and man did they do a great job this year! From left to right, deputy elections director Hilary Rudy, elections director Judd Choate and Kris Reynolds with campaign finance. (SOS photo)

The two top election staffers in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office praised colleagues Wednesday for their behind-the-scenes work that led to the successful general election on Tuesday.

“We ran a really fantastic election yesterday,” elections director Judd Choate said to those assembled outside his office.

Among the Colorado Secretary of State staffers listening to a speech about how well Tuesday’s election went were, in the foreground, Joel Albin and Jeff Mustin, behind him, with ballot access, and Steve Ward on the phone talking to voters calling in with questions. (SOS photo)

In fact, the bipartisan attorneys who hang out in the Secretary of State’s office on election day handling reports from their folks in the field conceded the day was a bit boring.

That was  just fine with Choate and his deputy director, Hilary Rudy.

“We had a great election, a secure election,” Choate said.

“One of the things about working in elections is you get notoriety or publicity when things go badly. That’s when people pay attention to elections. They don’t really think about the people behind the curtain,” he said. “I just want you all to know that we appreciate you and I think all of the citizens of Colorado appreciate all of your work.”

Choate and Rudy addressed election division staffers, as well as others who assembled, including Chief of Staff Gary Zimmerman, IT director Trevor Timmons and Mike Hardin, director of Business and Licensing.

Choate got a laugh when he singled out Hardin, noting that fees paid on the business side “helps fund all that we do.” The office does not get general fund money from the legislature.

Three Colorado Secretary of State staffers who work in elections — Caleb Thornton, Edward Morgan and Jonathan Layman — listen as their bosses talk about about how Tuesday’s general election went. Behind them to the left is Rose Sanchez in elections. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who on Tuesday lost his re-election bid to Democrat Jena Griswold, was at an event in Colorado Springs and out of the office. But earlier Wednesday he wrote a letter to the staff earlier in the day about how the election went “extraordinarily well.”

Rudy got slightly emotional as she talked about the “months of months of preparation” elections officials put in before the event and then afterward with audits and canvassing. She conducts training for clerk staffers throughout the state.

Democrat Jena Griswold and Wayne Williams, the Republican secretary of state, at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference in Salida in August. She defeated Williams on Tuesday. (SOS photo)

“I just wanted to say congratulations and how much all of your hard is appreciated,” she said.

Zimmerman echoed that sentiment, noting how well the different divisions work together in the office as well as with outside partners.

“I’ve seen things go wrong. I’ve heard about things in other states. This was operational excellence,” the chief of staff said. “I’m just really proud of you all.”

Griswold will be sworn in on Jan. 8. Williams, a former El Paso County commissioner and clerk, was elected secretary of state in 2014.

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