Secretary Williams and Monty Python

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addressed the elections staff Wednesday, a day after the general election. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams this week congratulated his elections staff on their work and asked them to help make the incoming secretary as successful as he has been.

Colorado set a record turnout for a midterm election, although ballots are still being counted.

“You guys did a phenomenal job,” the secretary said. “Thank you.”

On another Nov. 6, in 1990, Coloradans elected Republican Hank Brown to the U.S. Senate and re-elected Democrat Roy Romer governor. On this Nov. 6, Democrats shattered the state’s reputation as a ticket-splitter, electing Democrats to every statewide constitutional office.

Among the victors: Jena Griswold, who nixed Williams’ bid for a second term.

“The new secretary is going to need your support and help because that’s the only way new secretaries are able to do it,”  said Williams, who was elected to the office in 2014.

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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.”

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Wayne Williams’ bittersweet day

Republican Wayne Williams, Colorado’s secretary of state. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, widely regarded as one of the best election chiefs in the country, on Tuesday lost his re-election bid to Democrat Jena Griswold.

Here is the letter he penned to the staff at 12:20 this morning:

Dear Colleagues: 

By the time you read this in the morning, most of you will be aware that the administration of the 2018 general election went extraordinarily well.  We had record turnout and voters across the state were able to easily participate and our election processes ran wonderfully.

Unfortunately for me, the results in my election were not what I desired.  Jena and I spoke last night and plan to meet soon to discuss the transition that will occur on January 8.

Today I’m visiting with Brazilian election observers in Colorado Springs so I will be out of the office.  I’ll be back on Thursday to prepare for the risk limiting audit.

It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with you for the past four years.  Together we have built the best Secretary of State office in the nation. I’m proud of all we’ve done as a team and wish the very best for each of you during the next term.

Very truly yours,

Wayne

NALEO chief asks Secretary Williams’ help in “saving the census”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, right, again commits to encouraging Coloradans to participate in the 2020 census. He met this week with Arturo Vargas, chief executive officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, and Gillian Winbourn and Rosemary Rodriguez of “Together We Count.” (SOS photo)

The head of a national Latino organization visited with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams this week to talk about the importance of an accurate count for the 2020 census.

Arturo Vargas, the chief executive officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, enlisted Williams’ help to make sure Colorado residents are counted.  Williams explained the governor’s office handles the census, but that he would do everything he could so that Colorado gets its “fair share of everything from highway dollars, to housing, to community development block grants, to everything else that is out there.”

As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, America each decade counts its population. Vargas and Williams agreed that the message to Coloradans to participate is critical

“If you tell me it’s my civic duty,” Williams said, “it’s not as compelling as saying that this will help fix that road in front of your house or this will help a clinic or help provide funding for this various issue and tying it into something they care about.”

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Secretary Williams accepts award from Colorado Nonprofit Association

Michael Hartman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, on Tuesday accepted awards from Renny Fagan, right, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, at an association workshop at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel. (SOS photo)

As a statewide elected official, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is regularly asked to present awards during the Colorado Nonprofit Association conferences, but the tables were turned Tuesday when it was Williams up on stage accepting an award from CEO Renny Fagan.

He joined three state lawmakers and another state agency, the Colorado Department of Revenue, who also were honored with Impact Awards for their help passing a bill this year that allows Colorado taxpayers the opportunity to donate all or part of their tax refund to any nonprofit registered in Colorado.

Three lawmakers share a laugh before being honored Tuesday for their work on a bill that allows Coloradans to donate part or all of their income-tax refund to any registered nonprofit. From left to right, Reps. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver. (SOS photo)

“I think one of the things that Mike Hartman over at the Department of Revenue and I have a common is we’re looking for ways in government to say ‘yes’ as opposed to ways to say ‘no.’ I think both of us are very proud to be a part of this process,” Williams said.

This time, the secretary did not break down.

Also honored was Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver, and Reps. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, who sponsored Senate Bill 141 in the 2018 legislative session.  SB 141 authorizes a new line on the tax form for 2020 called the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund,” which allows Colorado taxpayers to donate part or all of their income-tax refund to any nonprofit registered in Colorado.

The effort was several years in the making.

“We’re all here celebrating a kind of a Super Bowl victory, but we had a couple of losing seasons in this deal,” Wilson said, of his and Court’s initial efforts. “A liberal lady and a conservative cowboy working together, what could go possibly go wrong with that deal?”

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