Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

Read moreGo Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

Eat, drink and make merry with the Colorado Restaurant Association

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, and Grand Junction Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby at the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Blue Ribbon Reception Wednesday night. (SOS photo)

When I covered the legislature for the Rocky Mountain News the editors loved it that the Colorado Restaurant Association’s reception occurred on opening day, meaning I actually made deadline so I could dash over to the event that night.

My first Blue Ribbon reception was in 2000 and one of the first lawmakers I talked to was Rep. Marcy Morrison, a Republican from Manitou Springs. Where’s that? I asked. She explained it was west of Colorado Springs and I remember thinking, “El Paso County! She must be really conservative!” Talk of an example of why stereotypes don’t work.

These days I don’t have to worry about deadlines, but I still can’t wait for the legislature’s opening day and the best legislative reception of the year. My tweet from last night’s Blue Ribbon reception:

Read moreEat, drink and make merry with the Colorado Restaurant Association

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.

Read moreFrom Telemundo to a town hall, Secretary Williams on the go

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!