Secretary Williams makes his way to Weld County

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes in Greeley Monday. (SOS photo)

Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes was excited to show Secretary Williams the county’s new elections office ballots processing center, which is in an old bank building, complete with a vault where the ballots will be stored.

Koppes says she is welcoming name suggestions for the processing center since “elections office ballots processing center” is a mouthful. Her favorite suggestion so far is the “Koppes Center.”

She thanked Williams for his visit to Greeley and praised the SOS staff.

“You guys are rock stars,” she told him. “You do a good job supporting us.”

This year is the first time Colorado will conduct a primary election where unaffiliated voters can automatically participate.

The door to the vault where Weld County’s ballots will be stored. (Weld County clerk photo)

Williams launched the UChoose campaign earlier this year to inform unaffiliated voters about the primary and emphasize that they can’t vote both the Democratic and Republican ballots they will receive. They have to pick just one or neither ballot will count.

The campaign also handed out wooden U’s to decorate. Weld county’s U is decked out in images of the county, which is located on the Wyoming border and is known for its agriculture.  There are also images of Uncle Sam encouraging “U” to vote.

Koppes says that they have received a few questions on why unaffiliated voters received two ballots. Republicans are the largest voting block of active voters in Weld County with 61,880 voters, but the unaffiliated are close behind with 61,669 voters. Democrats trail with 37,164 active voters, according to the latest registration data from the SOS.

“We are keeping track of the questions we receive,” she said. “That way we will be ready for 2020. You know, us elections geeks, always thinking ahead.”

All about U: Denver Chamber

Kelly Brough with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce speaks at a kickoff for the UChooseCO campaign targeted at unaffiliated voters at a news conference in Denver in April. Two decorated wooden U’s sit on the podium. (SOS photo)

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce was a big supporter of a 2016 ballot measure to allow unaffiliated voters to automatically participate in primary elections so of course chamber president and CEO Kelly Brough was invited to speak this year at a kickoff to talk about what those voters needed to know.

Mainly, don’t spoil it.

Unaffiliated voters who did not indicate a ballot preference — whether they wanted a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot — will automatically be sent both when clerks mail out ballots this week to in-state voters. If a voter marks up both ballots, for example, a Republican candidate for treasurer and a Democratic candidate for attorney general, neither ballot will count. Only vote one ballot.

The U decorated by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams launched the @UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

“By allowing unaffiliated voters to vote, we believe our elected officials will be rewarded for solving problems and finding solutions,” Brough said at the Denver kickoff.

“… This is all about being fair and in Colorado we like things to be fair.”

Williams also has handed out wooden U’s and asked recipients to decorate them.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Governor signs two bills backed by Secretary of State Williams

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs into law two-elections related measures as Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, to the governor’s right, SOS staffers, lobbyists, lawmakers and election activists look on. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Deputy Secretary Suzanne Staiert looked on this week as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law two bills  that will help to make Colorado’s elections even more accurate, accessible and transparent.

One measure involved updating and changing current election law, while the other concerns voter registration and the criminal justice system.

Williams often reminds Coloradans that when he took office in 2015 he was told that because the Senate was controlled by Republicans and the House by Democrats he would have a hard time getting anything through the split legislature. Instead, a majority of the legislation his office has worked on or testified on behalf of has passed.

“I think we continue to dispel the myth,” the secretary said, “that election issues have to be partisan and, yes, you can get things done.”

Here’s a look at the two bills signed Tuesday:

Read moreGovernor signs two bills backed by Secretary of State Williams

All about U: Wellington Webb

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his decorated U. In 1991, he was elected Denver’s first black mayor and went on to serve three terms.

Here’s to former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his staff at Webb Group International for their iconic U.

Colorado Secretary of State Williams is handing out the wooden U’s as part of the office’s UChooseCO campaign, which stresses to unaffiliated voters that they can’t vote both the Democratic and Republican ballots they will receive for the June 26 primary. They have to pick just one ballot. If they vote two, neither will count.

The Webb group’s Josh Miller went all out. He ignored the colored markers in the UChoose box and bought paint. The result is a U with Denver’s logo, a tennis shoe and a shoelace.

After all, the story of Webb and his size-12 sneakers is a part of Colorado’s political history.

The Rocky Mountain News, which endorsed underdog Wellington Webb in Denver’s 1991 mayor race, focused on his sneakers in an ad congratulating him after his victory.

Out of money in his first race for mayor, Webb announced he would campaign on foot, spending the night in supporters’ houses as he traversed the city, traveling only by bus. The press corps, robust in those days, followed to see if Webb was keeping his word.

At the time, Webb was third in polls that gave him only 7 percent of the vote.

Webb went on to serve three terms as Denver mayor, and was succeeded in 2003 by brewmeister John Hickenlooper, who now is governor of Colorado — and who has yet to decorate his wooden U!

Miller suggested that Secretary Williams donate the U’s to the History Colorado Center. This is the first time in state history that unaffiliated voters, now the largest voting block in Colorado, can automatically participate in primary elections. Voters approved the change in 2016 when they supported Proposition 108.

The UChooseCO campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

All about U: Secretary Williams

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his decorated U. (SOS photo)

Memorial Day is the perfect day to highlight Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ wooden U because it is focused on family, faith and freedom.

Williams is handing out the U’s as part of its UChooseCO campaign, which stresses to unaffiliated voters that they can’t vote both the Democratic and Republican ballots they will receive. They have to pick just one ballot. If they vote two, neither will count.

This is the first time in state history that unaffiliated voters, now the largest voting block in Colorado, can automatically participate in primary elections.

Voters approved the change in 2016 when they supported Proposition 108. The legislature authorized Williams to launch the campaign to educate unaffiliated voters amid concerns from county clerks, party officials and others that unaffiliated voters as well as Democrats and Republicans would be confused.

The other side of Secretary Wayne Williams’ wooden U.

Already, Democrats and Republicans are asking how Proposition 108 impacts them for the primary — it doesn’t.

The Secretary of State’s office contracted with Forté Advertising to target active unaffiliated voters with a mostly digital “UChoose” campaign, although some voters are receiving mailers. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

Every day between now and the June 26 primary we will highlight a wooden U or two.

Recipients were asked to consider their values when decorating or to just have fun. Some clerks highlighted their counties. Williams’ staff,  primarily Julia Sunny in communications, decorated his U.

Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.