International professionals visit CO Secretary of State

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Deputy Suzanne Staiert at his side lead a discussion with international visitors about elections in Colorado. (SOS photo)

International professionals from four continents visited with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Tuesday where they learned about the state’s nationally lauded election system. The participants hail from countries including Chile, Afghanistan, and South Sudan and are leaders in their fields of politics, business, and journalism.

“Coloradans vote at some of the highest rates in America because we make the process easy and fair, empower citizens to vote on taxes and other matters though initiatives and referenda, and instill confidence in the voters,” Williams said. “They know that their vote matters and that it will be counted.”

The participants, who are with the International Visitor Leadership Program,  visited Washington D.C. and Kansas City, Mo., before arriving in Denver. The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program and has sought to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations since its launch in 1940.

Participants in the International Visitor Leadership Program met with Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Deputy Suzanne Staiert on Tuesday. (SOS photo)

Williams highlighted Colorado’s mail-in ballot and high voter turnout. This year, over 2.5 million Coloradans voted by mail and in-person, placing Colorado among the highest states in the nation for voter turnout and breaking the state’s record for the number of ballots returned by over 500,000.

The number of active voters who participated so far is at 75 percent, while the turnout by the voting eligible population is at 61.9 percent.

South African Journalist Rebecca Davis asked about the conflict of interest in running an election while being a candidate on the ballot. Williams might have overseen the 2018 general election, but he lost to Democrat Jena Griswold.

And Colorado’s risk limiting audit allows the state to make sure that incumbent county clerk elections are fair and accurate, bolstering voter confidence. On Friday, the state will conduct its third risk-limiting audit and target 11 county clerk races to make sure machines tallied ballots as voters intended.