From Telemundo to a town hall, Secretary Williams on the go

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stands with volunteers answering election questions during a phone bank at Telemundo on Thursday. They are, left to right, Ben Schler with the SOS; John Shoch; his daughter, Gloria Shoch and Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talked elections Thursday night in two appearances, first at Telemundo and then at a town hall with Sen. Angela Williams at Manual High School in Denver.

The interview at Telemundo, an American Spanish-language television network, focused on Tuesday’s coordinated election. Most but not all of Colorado voters are deciding on contests in their districts, from tax questions to school board races and municipal contests.

In addition, the Secretary of State’s office participated in a phone bank, handling election questions from viewers.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and state Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, at a town hall Nov. 2. (SOS photo)

The conversation at Sen. Williams’ town hall concerned business operations at the office and elections, followed by a question-and-answer period.

Among the participants were Denver residents Pat Manning and Ruben Espinosa.

Secretary Williams  talked about the ballot measure voters approved last year that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without declaring to be a Republican or a Democrat. That means unaffiliated voters will receive both a Democrat and Republican ballot mailed to them for the June 2018 primary, but they can return only one ballot.

Already, there is plenty of interest in Colorado’s crowded open governor’s race and other contests.

“Angela and I, by the way, are two of the people in the state not running for governor,” the secretary of state said to laughter.

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Say goodbye to political ads (just kidding…kind of)

The “I already voted” initiative website.

Tired of receiving all those election calls even after you’ve voted? The “I Already Voted” initiative in Aurora is set to change that.

Founder Jon Haubert started the initiative for the benefit of both citizens and candidates to “reduce the number of unnecessary political advertisements at election time,” according to the “I Already Voted” website. It is designed to save campaigns from spending money on a voter who has already voted and saves the voter from receiving an overload of political ads.

Jon Haubert, founder of the “I Already Voted” initiative.

Once you have voted, you can head over to the IAV website and submit your name, address, and date of birth. I Already Voted will then notify candidates, campaigns and media to stop targeting those voters. Haubert assures users that the information they submit will be safe.

“It’s important to note that we redact birthdates and email addresses when sharing voter information with campaigns,” Haubert mentioned. “We don’t want the IAV Initiative to foster identity theft or become a tool to spam voters, either.”

The initiative is currently being run and tested in Aurora for the coordinated election on Nov. 7. Haubert says he chose Aurora because “it’s the third largest city in Colorado, is demographically diverse, and has a municipal election with 20 candidates running for five council seats,” Denver 7 reported.

Haubert says that the initiative has been successful thus far. Users have found the website easy to use and are clear on what IAV is trying to accomplish.

“More than ninety-five percent of the voters utilizing the system are in Aurora, which is a tremendous success because that is where our test is focused,” Haubert said. “Outliers were expected, but we’ve had far less than anticipated. ”

If IAV  is successful in Aurora’s election this year, backers are looking at expanding their efforts statewide in 2018.

If you live in Aurora, have already voted and want to try out the system, sign up here. Here’s what the local paper, the Aurora Sentinel, said about the effort.

Colorado’s county clerks know how to get lots of likes

Colorado’s county clerks have gotten creative with their election-related social media postings. Here are a few of our favorites:

Colorado County Clerks Association reminding voters that ballots are being sent:

Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien showing off a sign for a 24-hour ballot drop box:

Logan County’s selfie station:

Arapahoe County’s election judges taking their oath:

A GIF from Denver Elections reminding voters they can check the status of their ballot using BallotTRACE:

A behind-the-scenes look at Boulder county’s mail ballots:

Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kim Bonner and her staff wearing “Routt County Elections” jerseys to promote voter registration at the showcase of their new voting equipment:

Lincoln County reminding voters that this piece of mail isn’t junk:

Mail ballots for the 2017 coordinated election were sent out on Oct. 16.  Ballots must be received by Nov. 7. To update your registration, view your sample ballot, check your mail ballot status, or find an in person voting location or ballot drop off location, please visit www.govotecolorado.com.

There is no statewide ballot measure, and six counties do not have any local issues so are not holding an election.

Happy voting!

“The big guy” talks about elections issues with Jon Caldara

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Jon Caldara, president of the right-leaning Independence Institute, discussed a range of election topics during a recent appearance together, from the Russians to the impact of a measure that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without declaring to be a Republican or a Democrat.

Williams appeared on Caldara’s show, Devil’s Advocate, which was taped last week and airs at 8:30 tonight on Colorado Public Television Channel 12.  (Update: Here’s the link to the show.)

“We’re going to have open primaries, which is crazy to me but the law is the law and now unaffiliated candidates will be able to vote in any primary,” Caldara said, referring to Propositions 107 and 108, which voters passed a year ago. “So if I’m a registered Republican, at this point why bother? You can just be unaffiliated and get both ballots.”

Williams pointed out that more than 90 percent of candidates get on the ballot through the caucus and assembly process. And in some places with lopsided registration — GOP- dominated El Paso County or Democratic-laden Denver — that process can determine who wins in November.

“So there’s still a very good reason to be affiliated and participate,” he said.

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Knoedler & Witwer: The next generation

Aida Knoedler and Kit Witwer ran for president of their fifth grade class at Dennison Elementary School in Jefferson County.

Facebook is filled these days with posts about people’s kids running for school offices, but the one that warmed my heart belonged to former state Rep. Matt Knoedler of Lakewood and featured a picture of his daughter.

“Wouldn’t you vote for her? Meet Dennison Elementary’s newly elected 5th grade President!”

Knoedler’s Facebook post inspired several fun comments, including one from Jon Caldara, the political court jester at the right leaning Independence Institute.

“Does that mean she has the power to pardon me?” Caldara asked. “She does but she wouldn’t,” Knoedler replied.

Dennison was one of five Colorado schools recognized Thursday as National Blue Ribbon Schools, cited for high performance on state and national tests, The Denver Post reported.

Aida Knoedler beat more than 10 other candidates, including the son of former state Rep. Rob Witwer, which inspired this gracious tweet:

Knoedler jokingly responded to the Tweet by saying it was “fake news” that his daughter colluded with sixth graders.

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