DSST Green Valley Ranch receives recognition for voter registration

The Denver School of Science and Technology Green Valley Ranch received an award today from Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back row, left, for its efforts to encourage voter registration.  (SOS photo)

The Denver School of Science and Technology Green Valley Ranch has registered 85 percent of the senior class to vote, making it the first public school in Denver to earn the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.

The award is named after Eliza Pickrell Routt, wife of Colorado’s first governor, John Long Routt, after whom Routt County is named. She was the first woman to register to vote in Colorado.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams told a story he often tells to groups of young people. His high school in Virginia didn’t have a graduating class in 1959 because the town leaders closed the school rather than follow orders to integrate it.

Secretary Williams with the Inspired high school leaders at DSST Green Valley Ranch, John Zeerak and Marjorie Tabora, who are  surrounded by their classmates. (SOS photo)

“I didn’t like that kind of leadership so I got involved and as a high school student,” Williams said.

“I organized about 70 kids to work the polls on election day and stand outside the limit and hand out literature to everyone that came and voted and we changed the leadership in that county for the first time in years.”

Marjorie Tabora, a senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch, who registered the 2017 class and much of the 2018 class, also spoke to her peers about the importance of making your voice heard.

“I know with the current events that happen a lot of you guys are concerned,” she said. “Something to always remember is that voting is the first step and your vote does count and it does matter.”

Secretary Williams reiterated the importance of her message, noting that when he was El Paso county clerk and recorder two school board races that were decided by one vote.

Last year, Yuma High School and Eaglecrest High School received the inaugural Routt awards. This year, Eads and Kit Carson high schools on the eastern plains, Peak to Peak charter school in Lafayette, and Ouray High School have received the awards.

(Main picture, back row, left to right, Secretary Williams, Bradley West, DSST internship coordinator, Ryan Drysdale, Inspire Colorado program coordinator, John Zeerak, senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch high school, and Alton Dillard, communications director for Denver Elections. Front row, left to right, Front left, Marjorie Tabora, senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch high school and Donalyn White, Inspire Colorado program. coordinator.)

 

 

Drive-thru digs in Elbert County

Colorado Secretary Wayne Williams, center, with various Elbert County officials, including Clerk Dallas Schroeder to his right, pose in front of the new county building sign after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday in Kiowa. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday for the new Elbert County Clerk and Recorder’s office, which features the first drive-up Motor Vehicle Department operation in the state.

That’s what happens when you move into a former bank building.

“Because it used to be a bank, it’s set up for customer service,” Elbert County Clerk staffer Sheryl Borden said.

The clerk and the treasurer’s office opened Tuesday for service. They used to operate out of the county administration building just down the road.  Gone are the days of cramped motor vehicle counters and “commissioners looking over our shoulders,” joked Dallas Schroeder, Elbert county clerk and recorder.

“It is going to be a good service, it’s something that’s going to benefit not just the employees but it’s going to benefit the citizens as well,” Schroeder said. “We have more space, we have more motor vehicle counters, its just going to be a great service that we can offer.”

Tony Anderson, with the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and Tasha Gomez, with the Elbert County clerk and recorder’s office in the clerk’s new digs. To their right is the drive-up window. (SOS photo)

Schroeder, Williams, county commissioners, state Department of Revenue employees and others participated in the ribbon-cutting, which attracted a crowd. Williams talked about the benefit for elections.

“You’ve got the ability for folks to be able to come in, cast their ballot, register to vote, participate in the process and it is exciting to see the facility here and all its going to offer Elbert county voters as well as motor vehicle,” he said.

Just before the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Samuel Elbert building, visitors were warned about touching door jams and other objects that had just received a paint touch up just minutes before. The building is named after Samuel Hitt Elbert, who served as governor of the Colorado territory in the 1870s and later went on to serve as a Colorado Supreme Court justice. Elbert County, Mount Elbert, and the town of Elbert are all named after him.

The bank-turned-county office features a fireplace centered in the lobby, which prompted a zinger from the secretary of state.

Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder is flanked his wife, Rebecca, left, and Rhonda Braun, elections director. (SOS photo)

“Hey Dallas,” he said, “is it true that on election night CNN will be here with the fireplace in the background?”

“They’re always invited,” Schroeder replied.

At that, county commissioner Chris Richardson mumbled, “We were hoping for Fox News,” which caused an eruption of laughter. Elbert County is the one of the — if not the — most Republican performing counties in the state.

Meanwhile, neighboring El Paso County on Friday will open the first 24-hour Motor Vehicle kiosk in the state, allowing patrons to handle their registration business around the clock. It will be located at the Union Town Center branch in northern Colorado Springs.

Williams praised both Elbert and El Paso counties, saying the innovation is a game-changer.

“These are levels of customer service you normally don’t get from government,” he said.

Inspired by Inspire Colorado

DSST Cole High School students pose with their Inspire Colorado gear Tuesday for National Voter Registration Day.

Engaging Colorado youth in the elections process is the core focus of Inspire Colorado, and the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is proud to partner with the group.

As part of National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, Colorado elections director Judd Choate spoke to students at an Inspire Colorado event at DSST Cole High School. He talked about the importance of registering to vote, ballot issues, preregistration and mail ballots.

“Inspire Colorado is much more about being involved than it is about winners and losers,” said Choate.

Two Cole students made a schoolwide effort in getting their peers registered by working with Inspire and the Secretary of State’s office. In an effort to boost their school’s percentage of registered voters, voter registration forms and NVRD stickers were handed out Tuesday.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams has encouraged young Coloradans to vote by presenting the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to high schools that have 85 percent or more of the seniors preregistered or registered to vote.

Can you say “elections conference room” in Russian?

The “ballot” that lists the options for the name of a new conference room in the Elections Division at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

UPDATE: The conference room has been named, and no, we did not use any of @NotScottGessler‘s ideas. The winning name is “Juniper.”

After 670 days, a room filled with junk at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is finally becoming an official conference room for the elections division.

The division welcomed suggestions as to what the new conference room should be called, resulting in some pretty hilarious ideas — even if some of them are a little inside baseball. Dwight Shellman? Risk-limiting audits? And “Room Next to Steve’s Office,” referring to campaign finance guru Steve Bouey. The elections staff will conduct an election for the winner  — paper ballots allowed — which will be announced at the end of the month.

Elections staffers Caleb Thornton, Shayla Gavin-Futas and Olivia Mendoza testing out the new conference room. (SOS photo)

Among the suggestions:

конференц-зал выборов — which means Elections Conference Room in Russian

“Undisclosed Location”

 

 

 

Happy 70th, U.S. Air Force

Senior airman Justine Sunny during an incentive flight, which is awarded to airmen that excel in all aspects of Air Force life.

“The world’s greatest air force” turns 70 today. On Sept. 18, 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act, which established the U.S. Air Force.

Full disclosure: The Air Force is near and dear to my heart. My younger sister, Justine, is an airman serving at Kadena Air base in Okinawa, Japan. More on that later.

Wayne Williams, then chairman of the Colorado Springs Housing Authority, Brig. Gen. Mike Drennan, Dick Sullivan, the Housing Authority executive director and Col. Jack Perroni on the July/August 2000 cover of Defense Communities magazine.

My boss, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, helped those stationed at Peterson Air Force base obtain affordable housing when he served as chairman of the board for the Housing Authority in Colorado Springs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Williams, who practiced law at the time, worked with the board on a development where monthly rent would equal the enlisted members’ housing allowances. At the time, there was a housing shortage for those assigned to Peterson.

The Air Force has a huge presence in Colorado. The Air Force Academy is in Colorado Springs. There are four air bases in Colorado: Buckley, Cheyenne Mountain, Schriever and Peterson.

Justine and me.

And then of course, there was Lowry. During World War II, Lowry became so critical in providing trained personnel to the U.S. military that the base population reached 20,000 and operated in three shifts, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, according to a Lowry website.

During a ceremony Friday honoring the Air Force as it approached its 70th birthday, President Trump praised the organization as he addressed the military at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

The president said he was “honored to join you on this really, really historic occasion, the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force. The greatest air force on the face of this Earth. By far.”

As for my sister, Justine enlisted her senior year at Lakewood High School, Class of 2015,  and went off to basic training just a few months after graduation.

She works in armament, so basically she loads missiles on to fighter jets.  She is a little over two years in to her six-year contract, I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Check out the video of some of the SOS staff and their experience in the Air Force.