Secretary Williams accepts award from Colorado Nonprofit Association

Michael Hartman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, on Tuesday accepted awards from Renny Fagan, right, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, at an association workshop at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel. (SOS photo)

As a statewide elected official, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is regularly asked to present awards during the Colorado Nonprofit Association conferences, but the tables were turned Tuesday when it was Williams up on stage accepting an award from CEO Renny Fagan.

He joined three state lawmakers and another state agency, the Colorado Department of Revenue, who also were honored with Impact Awards for their help passing a bill this year that allows Colorado taxpayers the opportunity to donate all or part of their tax refund to any nonprofit registered in Colorado.

Three lawmakers share a laugh before being honored Tuesday for their work on a bill that allows Coloradans to donate part or all of their income-tax refund to any registered nonprofit. From left to right, Reps. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver. (SOS photo)

“I think one of the things that Mike Hartman over at the Department of Revenue and I have a common is we’re looking for ways in government to say ‘yes’ as opposed to ways to say ‘no.’ I think both of us are very proud to be a part of this process,” Williams said.

This time, the secretary did not break down.

Also honored was Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver, and Reps. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, who sponsored Senate Bill 141 in the 2018 legislative session.  SB 141 authorizes a new line on the tax form for 2020 called the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund,” which allows Colorado taxpayers to donate part or all of their income-tax refund to any nonprofit registered in Colorado.

The effort was several years in the making.

“We’re all here celebrating a kind of a Super Bowl victory, but we had a couple of losing seasons in this deal,” Wilson said, of his and Court’s initial efforts. “A liberal lady and a conservative cowboy working together, what could go possibly go wrong with that deal?”

Read moreSecretary Williams accepts award from Colorado Nonprofit Association

Pueblo organization wows Secretary Williams, other visitors

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams recently toured Pueblo Diversified Industries, a community resource for people who have disabilities and other challenges. From left to right, board member Michael Shoaf, Williams, board chairwoman Holly Hanson and David Pump, the president and CEO of PDI. (SOS photo)

Amazing. Inspiring. Exciting. Awesome. Incredible. Innovative.

Lots of vowel words were used when recent visitors described Pueblo Diversified Industries.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams toured the facility last week and came away impressed with PDI, a Colorado nonprofit and community resource for people with disabilities and other challenges.

“One of the best parts of the tour was when we saw flight crew check lists books  — they make those there . Someone else visiting the center happened to be a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot and said she, ‘Hey, I used those,'” Williams said.

“It really was an amazing and inspiring tour. They help people with diverse abilities.”

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Secretary Williams spends National Voter Registration Day with Angels

Secretary of State Wayne Williams speaks to students at East High School in Denver today as a part of National Voter Registration Day. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams paid a visit to a Denver’s East High School today as part of National Voter Registration Day, where Inspire Colorado and New Era Colorado, organizations dedicated to getting young people to vote, hosted a voter registration drive.

“Colorado is the state that has the highest percentage of registered voters in the United States of America,” Williams told students, which resulted in the crowd erupting with cheers.

Secretary Wayne Williams was presented with an East High School Angels shirt from senior Michael Ankner, center, and Principal John Youngquist, right. (SOS photo)

Currently, there are 3.2 million active voters in Colorado, according to figures collected by the Secretary of State’s office through August. September’s numbers are expected to be released next week.

Michael Ankner, 2018’s American Legion Eagle Scout of the year and an Inspire student leader at East, told his peers about his recent trip to Mongolia and that the ability to vote there is scarce.

“I want you to know how important it is to participate in our democratic processes and how it really does help improve the way our government functions and makes things better for everyone,” Ankner said.

Members of the East Angels soccer team proudly show off their National Voter Registration Day stickers. Left to right are Itza Lasso-Karner, Marko Babiak, Zion Wagoner and Kevin Salgado. (SOS photo)

The National Association of Secretaries of State in 2012 designated September as National Voter Registration Month with the fourth Tuesday in September set as National Voter Registration Day to encourage voter participation and increase awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.

Williams challenged the students to register, enticing them with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award, given to high schools where at least 85 percent of eligible seniors register to vote.

“One of the things I want to do is come back here when you reach the 85 percent of registered seniors because if you do that, you will join a number of other high schools in getting the Eliza Pickrell Routt award,” Williams said. “I challenge you to reach that level. It is how we make a difference in this world.”

Colorado Secretary of State efforts to boost voter registration include:

Text to vote. Eligible Coloradans can simply text the word “Colorado” or “CO” to “2Vote” (28683) on their smartphones, and then open the link to the SOS online voter registration and election information site.

Online registration. Colorado in 2010 became the fourth state to allow online voter registration and www.govotecolorado.com has processed more than 2 million transactions.

High School registration. The office hands out the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to high schools where at least 85 percent of eligible seniors have registered or preregistered to vote.

Secretary Williams on 2020 census: “We want Colorado counted”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Gillian Winbourn and Rosemary Rodriguez of “Together We Count” today discussed efforts to ensure state residents get counted in the 2020 census. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams told the founders of  “Together We Count” that he is committed to their efforts in getting residents to respond to the 2020 census.

The former El Paso County commissioner said he understands how important that information is for local government because a number of funding formulas – for transportation and human services, for example – are based on census data.

“We want people to be citizens when it comes to voting, but we still want an accurate census,” Williams said. “As a commissioner, I was active 10 years ago encouraging people to participate in the census, and I’m happy to do that again.

“We want Colorado counted.”

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All about U — and your quest to be Colorado’s first “kid governor”

Hudson Short, 7, who wants to be Colorado’s first “kid governor,” and his wooden U. (Family photo)

Of course our office sent a wooden U to Hudson Short to decorate. How could we resist after he mailed Secretary of State Wayne Williams a letter in May asking to be “Colorado’s first kid governor”?

“Will kid candidates be included in the next election?” Hudson wanted to know. “I want to make Colorado a great place to live. I want to help people, especially the homeless and poor. Would you please let me know how I can be kid governor?”

Well, Hudson, the Colorado Constitution says you have to be 30 to run for governor, but it makes no mention of the office of “kid governor.” We might have to talk with Gov. John Hickenlooper, who leaves office in January, and the Colorado legislature about that one.

It also says you have to live in Colorado, and your mother, Diana Gatschet, tells us you’ll be moving to New York City in August. Have a great time in the Big Apple. Maybe you can be their first kid  mayor.

Read moreAll about U — and your quest to be Colorado’s first “kid governor”