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.”

Read moreSecretary Williams on 2020 census: “We want Colorado counted”

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”

Secretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne today launched MyBizColorado, a tool designed to simplify registering a business and obtaining state licenses and registrations.

The MyBizColorado tool creates a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies responsible for new businesses, including the Secretary of State’s office. The tool works on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. It is tailored to the needs of the small business users instead of state agencies.

The lieutenant governor kicked off the press conference by expressing her excitement about MyBizColorado.

Secretary Wayne Williams shares his experience with starting a business as Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Gov. John Hickenlooper look on. (SOS photo)

“In an excellent example of collaborating across government,”she said. “You’re going to hear from the secretary of state and the sovernor about delivering a product with real value for people looking to do business here.”

Colorado businesses are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office.

Williams explained how he stopped working for a large law firm to start his own business and how difficult it was because there was really no help or guidance.

“The purpose of MyBizColorado is to walk you through the process by asking you questions and doing it in a user-friendly fashion,” he said. “Whether it’s registering your business, establishing eligibility for tax withholding, unemployment insurance, or any steps you need to take to establish a business, it is designed to be focused on the users.”

Hickenlooper is familiar with the struggles of starting a business. He founded Wynkoop Brewing Co. in the late 1980s.

“That experience and how much paperwork there was and how much red tape there was, was really the provocation that took us to try and address these things,” the governor said.

Read moreSecretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

Fairview High School — a voter registration feat

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, third from left, with Fairview High School students and teachers. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Secretary Wayne Williams visited Fairview High School in Boulder on Friday to recognize  the efforts in getting their peers registered to vote by presenting students with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.

Thanks to the work of more than two dozen students and one dedicated social studies teacher, a whopping 90 percent of eligible seniors are registered to vote at Fairview. Seniors Henry Magowan, Ayesha Rawal and Edden Rosenberg and two freshmen, Sophia Murray and Elyana Steinberg, along with 25 freshman volunteers, visited classrooms, entered data and carried out the logistics of the project.

Aaron Hendrikson, a social studies teacher, was approached by the Fairview Young Democrats club with the belief that “we need to do a better job engaging young citizens in our democracy,” the students told him. “For a variety of reasons, we currently have a politics that is dominated by older voters and their priorities and as a consequence, younger Americans often don’t see themselves represented in government.”

Secretary Wayne Williams congratulates students at the Fairview High School library. (Boulder Valley School District photo)

Their motto throughout this project was a quote from Margaret Mead, a prominent American anthropologist, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Read moreFairview High School — a voter registration feat