Two of my favorite men in blue — the Colorado State Patrol’s Mike Fohrd and Jeffco Sheriff’s Tom Acernio — were honored at retirement parties last month.
I made it to Tom’s party, which was held July 15 just down the street from my house at the Potenza Lodge in north Denver. I had to skip Mike’s party the day before at the Governor’s Mansion, and for that I blame Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach because I was working on a news release about the White House’s election commission.
I met Mike in 2000 when I first started covering the state Capitol and he was assigned to the crew guarding then Gov. Bill Owens and his family. Through the years I always delighted in seeing him, whether he was ferrying around a governor or handling security at the Capitol south door. “You can let her through,” he would tell the security folks. “She practically lives here.”
“We applaud Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams for turning over only that data that is legally releasable, and dismiss as politically opportunistic calls from some that he should have turned his back to the commission’s request entirely.” –The Grand Junction Sentinel
Hundreds of Coloradans have called, e-mailed or written to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in recent days, urging Secretary Wayne Williams to refuse to turn over public voter roll data to a commission appointed by President Donald Trump.
Had Williams announced he had no intention of doing so, he might have been a hero to some judging from the angry comments we have received. He also would have been breaking the law and setting, he believes, a dangerous precendent.
“Colorado law does not permit the secretary of state, county election officials or anyone else to say, ‘I’m only going to give it to the people I like,’ or, ‘I’m only going to give it to my friends,’ or, ‘I’m only going to give it to the people in my party,’” Williams said at a news conference last week.
“That is not a provision of Colorado law, nor do you want to put such a provision in place where only favored people can receive that information.”
Colorado’s county clerks and their staffs learned about election security and costs, Motor Vehicle registration kiosks and privacy vs. public access from a stakeholder’s viewpoint at their conference in Snowmass Village this week.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams addressed the Colorado County Clerks Association on Tuesday, outlining legislation his office advocated for, the state’s leading status when it comes to voter turnout and registration, and future training to learn about election audits.
“Let me tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and how much I and my staff appreciate your … commitment to ensuring that our elections are run with integrity,” Williams said.
Pam Anderson, the former Jefferson County clerk and the executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said 54 of the state’s 64 county clerk offices sent representatives to the summer conference.
County clerks have a variety of responsibilities, from elections to motor vehicles to recording documents, such as marriage licenses and titles.
The titles of the conferences over the three-day workshop reflected that: “Creative Solutions for Long Lines,” “Election Integrity in the Current Political & Media Environment” and a “History of Paper & Demographics.”
Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell, the president-elect of the clerks association, said she and her staffers learned plenty at the seminars. “They were really well done,” she said.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an election petition bill into law designed to prevent some of the problems that plagued last year’s election and thrust a dog named Duke into the limelight.
Under House Bill 1088, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office will conduct signature verification on candidate petitions — previously only the address was checked. It also allows petition circulators to cure administrative deficiencies in their circulator affidavits.
In what is believed to be a legislative first, the measure signed into law was sponsored by a father-son duo. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, introduced House Bill 1088 with his father, Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton. The bill was first heard in committee in March.
“Tustin and I are proof that you can be on different sides of the political spectrum and remain close friends. However, I still remember the shock in her voice when she said, ‘You voted for Bill Owens?'”
My very good friend Tustin Amole retires at the end of this month as the spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District.
I was touched that the district asked me to speak at her going-away party Wednesday night, where the three superintendents she has worked for gushed about Tustin — and deservedly so.