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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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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Wayne Williams’ rock-star reception

Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks with elections judges working the Colorado Springs municipal election. To his left is Marguerite Terze. (SOS photo)

No one wonder Secretary of State Wayne Williams wanted to say “hi” to the folks working the upcoming Colorado Springs municipal election.

When Williams walked through the door of the room where the election judges were handling ballots, cries of “Hey, Wayne,” “Wayne!” and “Look who’s here!” greeted the Colorado Springs resident Wednesday.

Williams served as the El Paso County clerk and recorder for one term before being elected secretary of state in 2014.

Many of the local residents who work as election judges in county and state elections also volunteer to work in municipal elections, which is why there were so many familiar faces.

Judge Rich Schwarz also complimented Williams on the ease and transparency of the Secretary of State’s website and filing system. Schwarz  works with the bingo operation for the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale; the secretary of state oversees bingo.

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Secretary Williams visits Fremont County for clerks’ meeting

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Fremont County’s chief deputy clerk, Dotty Gardunio, and Clerk Katie Barr. The Fremont County clerk’s office is hosting a regional clerks meeting. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited scenic, friendly Fremont County twice in two days as county clerks in the southern region are meeting in Cañon City.

Williams addressed the clerks Wednesday morning, answering questions, fielding compliments and talking about how new ballot measures voters passed in 2016 will impact their operations.

“Some of you are wondering will there be an issue on the ballot this November. Why might you care?” Williams asked, and then explained that if a statewide issue is on the ballot then counties get reimbursed from the state some of the costs of running an election.

One proposal going through the legislature would ask voters in November to decide on a sales tax increase to help fix Colorado’s roads. It is sponsored by Cañon City’s own Kevin Grantham, the Senate president and a Republican, and House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Denver Democrat. The first committee hearing on their proposal, House Bill 1242, is being held today at the state capitol.

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