All about U: Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell and Steffan Tubbs

Colorado’s county clerks, bold-faced names, lawmakers and others are delighting us here at the Secretary of State’s office with the creative ways they are decorating wooden U’s.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign, which stresses to unaffiliated voters that they can’t vote both the Democratic and Republican ballots they will receive. They have to pick just one ballot. If they vote two, neither will count.

Every day between now and the June 26 primary we will highlight a U or two. Recipients were asked to consider their values when decorating or to just have fun. Some clerks highlighted their counties.

Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell said the U represents all dozen 14’ers in the county; there are 53 statewide.
Radio host Steffan Tubbs’ U reflects his work with veterans.

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.

 

Even without term limits, Colorado lawmakers say good-bye

Not a single House Republican is term limited this year — which is a legislative record — but six of them won’t be coming back anyway.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with two Senate Democrats who are term limited, Lucia Guzman of Denver and Andy Kerr of Lakewood. (SOS photo)

That’s because five of the GOP members are running for another office and the sixth, Yeullin Willett of Grand Junction, chose not to run again.

Every two years, the House and Senate chambers say good-bye to the members who won’t be back, usually because of term limits, which voters approved in 1990 and went into effect in 1998. House members can serve four, two-year terms, senators can serve two, four-year terms.

On the last day of the 2018 session, on May 9, Willett pointed out how many lawmakers who were sworn in with him in 2015 were already gone, backing up the point made by the late, great political sage, Jerry Kopel.

Former lawmaker Jerry Kopel. (Dave Kopel photo)

“Term limit supporters claim it’s necessary to limit terms so legislators don’t overstay. But a little research casts doubt on the idea that overstaying was ever a problem. It would seem the whole reason for term limits is based on a myth of political junky careerist state legislators,” the former lawmaker wrote in 2008.

Kopel’s research showed that an average of 22 or 23 legislators were gone every two years without term limits being involved. Some died in office, others lost elections. And of course some resigned or chose not to run again.

This year, eight of the Senate’s 35 members are term limited. And 17 of the 65 representatives won’t return to the House next year for one reason or another. Here’s a breakdown of departing lawmakers by chamber and by caucus:

Read moreEven without term limits, Colorado lawmakers say good-bye

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”

SBA touts Colorado’s amazing small business success stories

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, left, and Dan Nordberg, right, the regional director of the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII, with the winners of the Colorado Small Business Persons of the Year award, Margot Langstaff and Elisa Hamill with LifeHealth in Littleton. The Colorado-based company provides a range of clinical health services. (SOS photo)

Check out these Small Business Administration loan success stories in Colorado: Otter Box, Chipolte, Snooze, New Belgium Brewing and more.

At an awards ceremony Wednesday in Centennial,  Dan Nordberg, regional director of the SBA’s District VIII, emphasized the impact of small businesses and the SBA in the state.

“Over the last 64 years more than 70,000 Colorado companies have financed their American dream using the SBA’s funding programs,” he said.

The ceremony was part of National Small Business Week, which includes local business events and workshops throughout the state. In addition, each state hands out awards and some recipients are honored at an event in Washington, D.C.

“It was heartwarming to see the successs of these great businesses.  More than a million Coloradans work for the more than 600,000 Colorado small businesses,” noted Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “Our office works hard to provide common sense easy filings for every business and nonprofit across the state.”

Read moreSBA touts Colorado’s amazing small business success stories