Secretary Williams’ war games, election style proves to be epic

Colorado Secretary of State shakes hands with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen before her keynote speech at Colorado’s Election Preparedness for Infrastructure and Cybersecurity exercise Thursday. (DHS photo)

The role-playing was, well, EPIC.

When election and cybersecurity officials from Colorado and and other parts of the nation gathered for a training exercise, they were given assignments to play as various election disaster scenarios played out.

Misleading tweets that confuse voters. Equipment outages. Hackers.

Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien served as a county election director.

Dwight Shellman, the county support manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, plays the role of a reporter asking tough questions during a mock election disaster drill.  He is interviewing Tammy Patrick of Democracy Fund, while in the background is the SOS’s Steve Bouey. (SOS photo)

Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill portrayed her former employee, Dwight Shellman, who now is the county support manager for the Secretary of State’s office.

And Shellman assumed the identity of various Denver reporters, from the Colorado Sun’s John Frank to 9News’ Marshall Zellinger, asking tough questions of election officials.

“I out Marshalled Marshall,” Shellman boasted.

Welcome to war games, election style or, as the exercise was officially dubbed, EPIC — Election Preparedness for Infrastructure and Cybersecurity.

The goal, Secretary of State Wayne Williams said, was to help prepare Colorado election officials for the Nov. 6 election. Clerks, their staffers, county IT officials and others gathered in five separate rooms and were instructed to deal with the scenarios that were unfolding.

Read moreSecretary Williams’ war games, election style proves to be epic

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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A soldier’s story: Colorado leads when it comes to military voting

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Army Major Eric Lintelmann at Colorado Springs’ Armed Forces lunch on May 17.

You can’t blame Secretary of State Wayne Williams for beaming when a solider at an Armed Forces lunch praised Colorado’s process for overseas and military voters.

And then  Army Major Eric Lintelmann followed up with an e-mail to the state’s top election official.

“Sir,” the soldier began.  “As a native Coloradan, I am extremely proud of our state’s voting process.”

Lintelmann explained that when he was stationed in Iraq in 2016 mail was taking anywhere from one to three months to arrive.  At the time, he was the voting assistance officer.

“I had voters from Mississippi, Illinois, California, Texas, and mostly Colorado,” he wrote. “The people from the non Colorado states had much more trouble getting help voting … However, all Colorado voters who wanted to vote were able to vote. I had soldiers from Teller, El Paso, Douglas, Elbert and Denver counties.”

With Memorial Day just around the corner, when America honors those who died in active military service, it’s important to note that Colorado has 8,086 military voters. Nearly one-third are registered to vote in El Paso County, home to five military installations, including Peterson Air Force Base, where Lintelmann is stationed.

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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 58 statewide.
Radio host Steffan Tubbs’ U reflects his work with veterans.

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.”

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