Secretary Wayne Williams tells clerks in Rifle he knows they’re always busy

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with county clerks who attended regional training in Rifle last week. Back row, left to right: Pam Phipps, Clear Creek, Kathy Neel of Summit, Michelle Nauer of Ouray, the secretary of state, Tressa Guynes of Montrose and Boots Campbell of Rio Blanco. Front row, Sara Rosene of Grand Junction, Teri Stephenson of Delta, Kathleen Erie of San Miguel, Colleen Stewart of Gilpin, Janice Vos Caudill of Pitkin, and Ladonna Jaramillo of San Juan. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams urged county clerks to voice their opinions next month after they view proposed regulations for allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without any restrictions.

The Secretary of State’s office earlier asked some clerks for their ideas on drafting rules to deal with Proposition 108, which voters approved last November. It allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without affiliating with a party. The Secretary of State’s office is working on proposed regulations to be sent to clerks in May.

“When you get the draft regulations, please review them,” Williams said. “Please let us know if something works or if something doesn’t work. I need both of those.”

Williams on Friday spoke to clerks and their staffs who gathered at the western region clerks’ conference in Rifle.

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Secretary Williams talks to clerks about voter fraud

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Wednesday address county clerks on the state’s eastern edge, who were meeting in Sterling for training. (SOS photo)

Check out staffer Julia Sunny’s video on the visit with county clerks from the eastern regional. As Kiowa County Clerk Delisa Weeks says, “We’re small, but we’re fun.” YouTube video.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addressed the issue of voter fraud when he spoke to county clerks on the Eastern Plains Wednesday, warning them that in the coming months his office could be asking about certain constituents suspected of voting twice in the 2016 election.

“Some of you are aware there were accusations that there was rampant fraud in the elections. Some said there was no fraud,” Williams said. “The answer is somewhere in between.”

Colorado is part of a national months-long check of voter histories that flags the names of voters who appeared to have voted more than once.

“I anticipate there will be some people in Colorado who voted in multiple states. There are not tens of thousands of them. It did not change the result of the election,” Williams said.

“But there are elections that decided by a single vote. I presided over those elections as a county clerk. So we care about that issue. The message from us isn’t that vote fraud never occurs, but we make it difficult to occur and we help prosecute people when we find out about it.”

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House committee unanimously passes Colorado election petition bill

Last-minute negotiations on an elections bill took place last week right before it was heard by the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. Left to right, Tim Griesmer, legislative liaison for the Secretary of State’s office; Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County; Martha Tierney, attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party; and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s election drama last year over forged petition signatures and the failures of some petition candidates to initially make the ballot is being addressed by the Colorado legislature.

A House committee voted 9-0 in favor of a bill by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, that allows the Secretary of State’s office to conduct signature verification on candidate petitions, similar to what is done with mail ballots, and provides a signature cure process. It also allows petition circulators to cure administrative deficiencies in their circulator affidavits.

Members from organizations such as America Votes and Common Cause, along with Secretary of State Wayne Williams last Thursday testified in favor of HB17-1088.

“Allowing us to work with a candidate to fix (problems) improves the process and increases the integrity of the election,” Williams told the House State Affairs, Veterans & Military Committee.

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Colorado’s 64 county clerks, “out there on the front lines”

Colorado Secretary Wayne Williams, third from left in the back row, and county clerks who attended a regional meeting this week in Cañon City. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told county clerks at a regional gathering this week that his office is reviewing how to implement voter-approved ballot measures, including one that changes signature gathering for ballot proposals.

Amendment 71 requires that any new constitutional amendment pass with 55 percent of the vote instead of a simple majority. In addition, a percentage of the signatures to put the measure on the ballot must be gathered in all 35 Senate districts, which will change how the state reviews petitions to determine whether backers collected enough valid voter signatures.

Williams addressed a variety of topics, from early-voting requirements to ballot drop boxes, when he spoke Wednesday to clerks from the state’s southern region at their conference in Cañon City.

“Our job is to help you and to help the voters,” Williams told the clerks. “You’re the ones out there on the front lines.”

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Fracking & friendship: Dan Haley made my nephew’s day

Erin Cummings, who teaches science at Skinner Middle School in Denver, and her student, Maxwell Bungum, my nephew. (Skinner photo)

One day when cleaning out my Google account I saw an e-mail from my nephew Maxwell Bungum that I had missed. I opened it up to find an invitation to edit his fracking homework.

Fracking! Editing! I was too busy to inquire what was going on, but Max called several days later to say, “Did you get my e-mail? You’re supposed to forward it.” Then he hung up and headed for school.

I still didn’t know what the whole thing was about but I forwarded his report to Dan Haley, the president and CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. What happened next made a 12-year-old happy, his parents very proud and his sixth-grade science teacher at Skinner Middle School ecstatic.

“A CEO actually took the time to write a full blown letter,” teacher Erin Cummings said. “We need more CEOs to do that. I was shocked when Max showed me the letter.”

Haley told Max his paper was “fantastic.”

“We need more people like you who take the time to research a controversial topic, in this case hydraulic fracturing,” Haley said, “and then draw your own conclusion based on science and facts, rather than what your friends or social media might be saying.”

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