Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited three southwestern counties this week to check in with clerks prior to this year’s midterm elections to see if they needed any help from his office.
Williams thanked the clerks for heading to the Denver metro area earlier this month to attend a training exercise called EPIC — Election Preparedness for Infrastructure and Cybersecurity. National and state cybersecurity officials attended the event, where clerks and county officials handled various Election Day scenarios thrown at them.
Ben Schler, the Secretary of State’s legal and policy manager, accompanied Williams on the trip. Schler, who grew up on a farm just outside of Durango, said he was happy to see the fall colors and to “make sure that we provide the clerks with the support they need.”
This week’s deadline for the clerks: Military and overseas ballots must go out by Saturday.
The secretary and Schler met with clerks in San Juan, San Miguel and Alamosa counties.
“I made a commitment when I first ran for this office to visit every county every two years. So far, we have hit 61 counties in this cycle,” Williams said. “Colorado is incredibly beautiful, especially this time of the year with the leaves turning.”
The SBA’s office of advocacy organized round tables across the country to hear from local small businesses from various industries, including transportation, real estate, manufacturing and more. The round tables aim to “discover burdensome regulations that might be hindering the business environment,” SBA Regional Administrator Dan Nordberg said.
The SBA advocacy office will take the information to Congress to try to amend statutory regulations or try to address the regulations within the preview of agencies.
“It’s important to get input from small businesses,” Secretary Williams said. “This program provided an excellent opportunity to receive that input and showcased our office’s commitment to helping folks realize their American dream.”
“Sabor,” the Spanish word for flavor, was the theme of the night, which included a “sensory exploration of the Americas.”
The event featured an impressive array of food and drink, along with traditional Peruvian outfits and live Spanish music. encompassing the Latin American culture.
“Colorado has a rich Hispanic heritage and our office has a great partnership with Denver’s Hispanic Chamber, including working together to make a welcome video for new businesses,” Williams said.
Local businesses came out to celebrate.
Saida Perez, owner of Tru Services insurance agency, stopped Secretary Williams to thank him for his work and take a picture with him.
“The Sabor was a great event for networking and allowing the government and business to work together. I have a lot of clientele that need to have things notarized and Secretary Williams has made this process easy and efficient,” Perez said.
It was an experience repeated throughout the evening.
“It was a lot of fun to sample some great food, experience awesome culture and visit with so many friends,” Williams said.
Denver ‘s elections director Amber McReynolds announced last week that she will be resigning her post to take on a new role as the executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition. McReynolds has served in the City & County of Denver Clerk & Recorder office for the last 13 years, and the last seven as the director of elections.
During her tenure, she has overseen pivotal elections for the city of Denver and developed innovative techniques in election administration which earned the office numerous awards. McReynolds is most proud of Denver’s first-in-the-nation innovations Ballot TRACE and eSign which have both been adopted by other counties throughout the country.
Since Ballot TRACE was implemented in 2009, around 200,000 voters have started to use this customer service application to track their ballots and receive updates on the election, she said. As a result, visibility of the election process has increased and Denver Elections has experienced a 90 percent reduction in calls, McReynolds said.
“I have been blessed to lead an incredible and talented team at Denver elections to transform the office into an exceptional office that is now nationally and internationally recognized,” McReynolds said in a video the office released when she announced her resignation. “Serving the city I love in a field that I am deeply passionate about is what has made my time here so special and inspirational.”
Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson thanked McReynolds for her service and dedication to Denver elections in a recent news release.
“Amber played a critical role in modernizing the election model in Colorado along with many efficiencies and innovations for Denver. We will miss her and her visionary leadership, and wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor,” Johnson said.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams noted that McReynolds is recognized nationally for her efforts.
National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition (NVAHI) focuses on removing barriers to voter participation by encouraging states to adopt a Vote at Home System or universal vote by mail. Moreover, NVAHI believes that “nothing is as fundamental — or as foundational — to the success of our country, as ensuring that when elections happen, as many votes as possible can and do participate.”
McReynolds will leave Denver Elections on Aug 15, but plans to be based in Denver for her new job.
Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne will celebrate Colorado Day at the History Colorado Center at 10 a.m. Wednesday. (Here’s a list of events at History Colorado for the day.)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has lived in Colorado for 26 years and enjoys life with his wife Holly and family in Colorado Springs. He said the beautiful weather, friendly people, and “can-do” attitude drew him to Colorado as a recent University of Virginia law school graduate.
Colorado native Chris Cash, the charities program manager for the SOS, grew up in Boulder and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.
“Like everybody else, I love the mountains,” Cash said. “As a youngster, I especially valued skiing. Now that I have no knees and I-70 is impassable it’s practically irrelevant, so I find other ways to enjoy the outdoors.”
Among other Secretary of State staffers, enthusiasm also runs high for the Centennial State. Just last month, Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler hiked to the summit of San Luis Peak as part of the #UChooseCO campaign.