International professionals visit CO Secretary of State

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Deputy Suzanne Staiert at his side lead a discussion with international visitors about elections in Colorado. (SOS photo)

International professionals from four continents visited with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Tuesday where they learned about the state’s nationally lauded election system. The participants hail from countries including Chile, Afghanistan, and South Sudan and are leaders in their fields of politics, business, and journalism.

“Coloradans vote at some of the highest rates in America because we make the process easy and fair, empower citizens to vote on taxes and other matters though initiatives and referenda, and instill confidence in the voters,” Williams said. “They know that their vote matters and that it will be counted.”

The participants, who are with the International Visitor Leadership Program,  visited Washington D.C. and Kansas City, Mo., before arriving in Denver. The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program and has sought to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations since its launch in 1940.

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Guests from around the world stop at Colorado SOS

 

Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks Colorado elections to government officials and their guests from India. (SOS photo)

Visitors from Hungary and India visited Secretary of State Wayne Williams today to learn more about how Colorado elections are run.

With the midterm election Tuesday, the international guests were eager to ask questions about the process. Among the Hungarians were members of FIDESZ party,  the ruling party in Hungary for the last eight years, parliament members, and communications directors for various offices of the Hungarian government.

Secretary Williams with Hungarians visiting the United States to observe the 2018 general election. (SOS photo)

“Mail ballots are strange to us, we don’t have that in Hungary,” one guest  said.

Williams said mail ballots make voting more accessible.

Another question: “Would online voting make young people vote more?”

Williams said he doesn’t trust the security of it yet, but he did explain how some military and overseas voters are able to vote online, through an encrypted system.

“Some people don’t believe someone who works on a submarine should be allowed to vote,” he said. “We do.”

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Coloradans celebrate Taiwan

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams helps the Republic of China celebrate its 107th birthday, along with Director General Jerry Chang and Congressman Mike Coffman, who represents a number of Coloradans with ties to Taiwan. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Congressman Mike Coffman and others gathered Friday night in Denver to celebrate Double Ten Day commemorating the events that led to the creation of Taiwan, America’s close friend and ally.

“The United States has been, is and will always be Taiwan’s closest partner,” said Director General Jerry Chang, with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver.

Ian Silverii, the director of ProgressNow, and Shirley Chang, with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver, at the Double Ten celebration Friday night. (SOS photo)

When his assistant, Shirley Chang, who is no relation, introduced the secretary of state she got a laugh from the crowd. She called Williams “our good friend” and said he was “most popular.”

Williams mentioned his visit to Taiwan a year ago, and how impressed he was with the nation.

“Taiwan is an example of the type of leadership and freedom that we all seek throughout the world,” he said.

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Colorado SOS participates in Homeland Security election exercise

Two Colorado Secretary of state staffers, Trevor Timmons, left, and Rich Schliep, right, flank two Dominion Voting Systems staffers, Donetta Davidson and Kay Stimson, after a Department of Homeland Security tabletop exercise Monday. (SOS photo)

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office and other agencies participated Monday in a virtual exercise aimed at election preparedness.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sponsored the tabletop exercise with some 20 states as the general election looms and concerns continue about election security issues.

“They posed scenarios and asked, ‘How would you approach this?’” said Trevor Timmons, chief information officer for the Colorado Secretary of State.

Timmons and other SOS officials, along with members of the Colorado National Guard, the Governor’s Office of Information and Technology and DHS officials based in Colorado participated in the table top from the Secretary of State’s conference room.

Additionally,  Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, recognized as a leader in election security, appeared today on a national public radio program to talk about election security.

“You have to have processes in place that people can have confidence in. That’s why Colorado has some of the highest voter participation rates in the country,” he told The Takeway.

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Homeland Security “hunts” at Colorado Secretary of State’s office

The “bad boys” of the Colorado Secretary of State’s IT department: Craig Buesing and Dave Shepard, network and security engineers, Trevor Timmons, chief information officer, and Rich Schliep, chief information security officer. (SOS photo)

At the invitation of Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Department of Homeland Security officials came to Colorado hunting for bad guys in the SOS’s network.

Did they bag anything?

“I learned a new acronym: NSTR — Nothing Significant to Report,” said  Trevor Timmons, the Secretary of State’s office chief information officer.

The exercise is the latest effort by Williams to ensure that Colorado’s elections are accurate and secure. The Washington Post recently wrote about “how Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote.” Colorado already had implemented many of the measures recommended after election officials learned of Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.

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