From Denver to the plains — three Colorado High Schools receive voter registration awards

Kit Carson High School, Denver South High School and Peak to Peak High School all recently received the Eliza Pickrell Routt award for registering 85 percent or more of eligible seniors to vote.

Kit Carson High School

Secretary Williams with the seniors in attendance at the Eliza Pickrell Routt award ceremony in Cheyenne county. (Pat Daugherty photo)

This is the second year in a row that the seniors at Kit Carson HS have received this award. Last year, seniors Jaxon Crawford and Bradley Johnson registered not only students at their high school but also at their rival high school, Eads, to win the Eliza Pickrell Routt award for both schools. The two boys worked with Inspire Colorado, a nonprofit dedicated to getting high schoolers registered to vote.

During their efforts last year, the junior class also participated in registering, but since the award is only for seniors, they had to wait. Kit Carson exceeded the 85 percent registration requirement again thanks to Crawford and Johnson, who were also recognized with this year’s award. Every member of the senior class registered to vote this year.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams traveled to the eastern plains to recognize these students and present the awards. Crawford and Johnson were not in attendance because of college finals, and the majority of the senior class was at a Rockies game as part of the senior sendoff.

Cheyenne County Clerk Pat Daugherty congratulated the students on their second award in a row and thanked Williams for making the trip.

 

Denver South High School

Colorado state elections director Judd Choate, left, South HS seniors Sophie Cardin and Tori Wyman, and South HS Principal Jen Hanson. (SOS photo)

In Denver’s Wash Park neighborhood, the South High Rebels senior class were presented with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award for the first time. Colorado state elections director Judd Choate presented the award.

Two students, Torie Wyman and Sophie Cardin, led the voter registration effort and registered 85 percent of their eligible peers to vote. Inspire Colorado partnered with the school and offered updates and support. Wyman is headed to Colorado State University to study journalism and Cardin, a Boettcher scholar, is going to Colorado College to study philosophy.

“We foster student voice at South and this will help them carry this into their adult lives,” Principal Jen Hanson said. “They are our future and need to know how they can impact change.”

 

Peak to Peak High School

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, left, Peak to Peak senior Robin Peterson, center, and Inspire Colorado regional coordinator, Hannah Sieben, right. (SOS photo)

In Boulder, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert presented the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to Peak to Peak for the second year in a row. 119 of the 140 seniors registered to vote, putting them at 85 percent registration.

Senior Robin Peterson pioneered the effort this year and last year. She had help from Inspire, who trained her on voter registration and leadership in civic engagement and provided her with support and materials for the days that the school did voter registration drives.

Peterson will be attending Claremont McKenna College in California to study government and politics this fall.

“Robin was a pleasure to work with and really did this out of her own interest,” Hannah Sieben, Inspire regional coordinator, said.

Peterson’s English teacher, Josh Benson, and three other students, Elle Triem, Bella Sicker and Sudeepti Nareddy assisted in registering students.

“It’s difficult to make a difference when you’re young,” Peterson said. “I feel that a simple act like registering my peers to vote has the most profound impact on our country and in Colorado.”

To learn more about the Eliza Pickrell Routt award and how your school can participate, visit our website.

 

Fairview High School — a voter registration feat

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, third from left, with Fairview High School students and teachers. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Secretary Wayne Williams visited Fairview High School in Boulder on Friday to recognize  the efforts in getting their peers registered to vote by presenting students with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.

Thanks to the work of more than two dozen students and one dedicated social studies teacher, a whopping 90 percent of eligible seniors are registered to vote at Fairview. Seniors Henry Magowan, Ayesha Rawal and Edden Rosenberg and two freshmen, Sophia Murray and Elyana Steinberg, along with 25 freshman volunteers, visited classrooms, entered data and carried out the logistics of the project.

Aaron Hendrikson, a social studies teacher, was approached by the Fairview Young Democrats club with the belief that “we need to do a better job engaging young citizens in our democracy,” the students told him. “For a variety of reasons, we currently have a politics that is dominated by older voters and their priorities and as a consequence, younger Americans often don’t see themselves represented in government.”

Secretary Wayne Williams congratulates students at the Fairview High School library. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Their motto throughout this project was a quote from Margaret Mead, a prominent American anthropologist, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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The Post: “How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote”

A story in The Washington Post today about Colorado’s stellar election security has been read far and wide — to the delight of those who handle elections in the Centennial State.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and the SOS chief information officer Trevor Timmons, have made election security a goal. (SOS office)

“Nationwide, states are taking a variety of measures to bolster their election systems ahead of November, from replacing old equipment to conducting vulnerability tests to hiring new staff,” Post reporter Derek Hawkins wrote. “But few, if any, have gone as far as Colorado has — indeed, many states don’t have the funding to make the upgrades.”

The headline of the article: “How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote.”

“If people perceive a risk, they’re less likely to participate in voting,” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is quoted as saying.  “We want to protect people from that threat, and we want to people to perceive that they are protected from that threat.”

Read moreThe Post: “How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote”

Elections staff brings joy to Judi’s House

SOS elections staff serving dinner to Judi’s House children and their families. From left to right, Melissa Polk, legal manager for the elections division, Kris Reynolds, campaign finance trainer, Hilary Rudy, deputy elections director, Annie LeFleur, elections legal fellow, and Minerva Padron, voter registration coordinator/Judi’s House grief counselor. (SOS photo)

Big hearts and some chicken goes a long way, as a group of election staffers with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office found out when they volunteered at Judi’s House.

Minerva Padron, a voter registration coordinator, is also a bilingual grief counselor at Judi’s House, a nonprofit devoted to providing care for grieving children and their families. It was founded by former Denver Broncos quarterback Brian Greise and his wife. Padron visits middle schools in the Denver metro area and holds “grief groups,” group counseling sessions for students who have lost someone close to them.

Judi’s House, in the City Park West neighborhood of Denver. (Judi’s House photo)

Two years ago, SOS staffers served dinner at Ronald McDonald house in Denver so Padron suggested a similar volunteer opportunity at Judi’s House.

Deputy elections director Hilary Rudy jumped at the idea and sent an email to elections staffers asking if they could donate time or money to the cause. She said it wasn’t hard to find volunteers or donations because a lot of people were interested.

“I tried to make it clear I wasn’t pressuring them given my position,” she joked.

Once they had a group together and donations, the group bought deli chicken, mashed potatoes, fruit salad and rolls and served it to the 60 or so children and families at Judi’s House last Thursday.

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Secretary Williams doesn’t have a magic wand but …

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Chuck Berry, president of the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry, at CACI’s board meeting April 19. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told business leaders recently that he and other state officials are working to help create a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies.

MyBizColorado, when it is unveiled, will be user friendly, intuitive and a more expedient way to register a business and obtain necessary licenses and permits.

“We want to make it easier for business,” Williams told the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry at a board of directors lunch meeting.

After his talk, Williams was asked, “If you could wave a magic wand to fix a few things what would they be?”

“The ability to get from Colorado Springs to Denver in a shorter amount of time,” said Williams, who commutes on Interstate 25.

Read moreSecretary Williams doesn’t have a magic wand but …