El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman: thinking outside the big box

El Paso County’s newest 24-7 ballot box is huge, and was custom made to accommodate all the ballots received at the East Library location. (EPC photo)

When it comes to elections, El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman can now boast opening the first 24-hour vehicle registration kiosk in the state and installing the largest ballot-drop box in Colorado – and possibly the country.

The kiosk opened one week ago today and someone took advantage of it at 1:50 a.m. the next day. Broerman joked that he’s not sure if a customer wanted to see if the kiosk truly was a 24-7 operation, or if he or she was doing some bar hopping and realized the car tags were expired.

As for what is Broerman is calling The MOAB  — The Mother of All Ballot Boxes — it was a custom built and is 68 percent larger by volume than the largest industry box. That’s a whole lot box but it was needed for a whole lot of customers. Broerman said the 24-hour ballot box at East Library in Colorado Springs was so heavily used it had to be emptied four or five times a day.

When he talked with Fort Knox Ballot Box Co. he was told that the box at the library already was the biggest one the company makes. The company came up with a couple of custom designs.

“They offered to make an even bigger box than the one we selected but it was so massive I thought we were going to have to have an FAA-approved landing light on it,” Broerman said, with a laugh.

Read more

#COleg, others mourns deaths of Debbie Haskins and Dan Chapman

Debbie Haskins, a much beloved legislative staffer, died Oct. 7. Services are set for Saturday. (Haskins family photo)

UPDATE: OLLS writes a wonderful story about Debbie Haskins.

Tributes continue to pour in for Debbie Haskins, one of the many behind-the-scenes players who provide stability at the Colorado Legislature, a place where lawmakers make their mark and then move on.

Haskins became an entry-level attorney for the Office of Legislative Legal Services in 1983 and worked her way up to assistant director. She died Saturday, Oct. 7.

Haskins had appointments scheduled for the week of Oct. 9 to work on legislation for the 2018 session.

Her husband, Steve, said her heart “just stopped.”

“It was very painless and it was quick,” he said. “She turned 60 in April. We had a big party for her. We just went on a big trip to France and Italy last May so that was good.”

A celebration of Debbie Haskins’ life is planned for 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 21, at First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 S. Colorado Blvd., in Cherry Hills Village.

“One of the hardest working people I’ve ever known,” former state Sen. Linda Newell tweeted after Haskins’ death. “Her  level of detail literally saved kids’ lives in my bills. Beautiful spirit.”

News of Haskins’ death stunned her family, friends and the Capitol community, which is its own kind of family.

“Not many people outside the Capitol know who Debbie Haskins is, but you can bet that over the past 34 years, not a single piece of important Colorado legislation got passed without Debbie’s eyes on it,” Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman said in a statement.

“She was one of the important conductors who made sure the trains ran on time, and it was thanks to her that new legislators and staffers could easily learn how the law-making process works.”

Read more

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.

Colorado, the “Burger King of elections”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to Coloradans 50 and older about elections and other issues. He and Elena Nunez, the director of Common Cause, addressed an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class on Tuesday. (SOS photo)

Colorado is “kind of the Burger King of elections,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams told a class Tuesday during a talk with seniors learning about government.

Williams and Elena Nunez, executive director of Common Cause Colorado, spoke to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a program through the University of Denver that provides adult learning for men and women age 50 and “better.”

Williams explained that Colorado is the only state that offers a mail-ballot system, early voting and polling-place locations two weeks before an election.

“So it’s kind of the Burger King of elections, right?” he said. “Having it your way, however you want to do it.”

Read more