Cheyenne County Clerk Patricia Daugherty’s artistic talent is clear in the U she decorated.
“I wanted to represent our area,” she said. “I painted the blue and clouds, then added wheat fields, cows, oil wells, sunflowers, and a family, things that make up Cheyenne County.”
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the wooden U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to help educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in the primary election Tuesday, but they can only vote one ballot. If they turn in both the Republican and Democratic ballot neither will count. The campaign has a web page, Facebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.
Colorado’s county clerks have done an amazing job decorating their U’s. La Plata County, faced with fierce wildfires, thanked firefighters. Logan County took it’s U around the county for various photo ops. Montrose County kept the U plain but surrounded it with amazing scenery. Like Cheyenne County, Weld County went with local images.
This is the second year in a row that the seniors at Kit Carson HS have received this award. Last year, seniors Jaxon Crawford and Bradley Johnson registered not only students at their high school but also at their rival high school, Eads, to win the Eliza Pickrell Routt award for both schools. The two boys worked with Inspire Colorado, a nonprofit dedicated to getting high schoolers registered to vote.
During their efforts last year, the junior class also participated in registering, but since the award is only for seniors, they had to wait. Kit Carson exceeded the 85 percent registration requirement again thanks to Crawford and Johnson, who were also recognized with this year’s award. Every member of the senior class registered to vote this year.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams traveled to the eastern plains to recognize these students and present the awards. Crawford and Johnson were not in attendance because of college finals, and the majority of the senior class was at a Rockies game as part of the senior sendoff.
Cheyenne County Clerk Pat Daugherty congratulated the students on their second award in a row and thanked Williams for making the trip.
Denver South High School
In Denver’s Wash Park neighborhood, the South High Rebels senior class were presented with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award for the first time. Colorado state elections director Judd Choate presented the award.
Two students, Torie Wyman and Sophie Cardin, led the voter registration effort and registered 85 percent of their eligible peers to vote. Inspire Colorado partnered with the school and offered updates and support. Wyman is headed to Colorado State University to study journalism and Cardin, a Boettcher scholar, is going to Colorado College to study philosophy.
“We foster student voice at South and this will help them carry this into their adult lives,” Principal Jen Hanson said. “They are our future and need to know how they can impact change.”
Peak to Peak High School
In Boulder, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert presented the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to Peak to Peak for the second year in a row. 119 of the 140 seniors registered to vote, putting them at 85 percent registration.
Senior Robin Peterson pioneered the effort this year and last year. She had help from Inspire, who trained her on voter registration and leadership in civic engagement and provided her with support and materials for the days that the school did voter registration drives.
The line at the Huerfano County Clerk’s counter never seemed to subside on Friday and Clerk Nancy Cruz said it’s not just because of Tuesday’s election.
Marriage licenses, recording documents, Motor Vehicle registrations, the growing population of Huerfano County has lots of business to do and Cruz’s staff make sure it gets done.
Of course, the election is the big thing right now and the staff and election judges were taking in ballots and scanning them on the new equipment from Dominion Voting Systems.
“What a good system,” Cruz said.
Myrna Falk used to work for the clerk’s office and now is an election judge. When asked her age, she replied, “I’m older than dirt.”
“I can remember when we hand counted ballots in the basement,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot of (election) systems, believe me. But being able to run 25 ballots at a time through (Dominion), that’s something.”
Secretary of State Williams urged college students to get involved when he addressed Colorado Mesa University’s political science club a week ago.
He told them a college student served as campaign manager when he ran for secretary of state in 2014.
“The hour-long presentation and question and answer session covered a variety of subjects ranging from the responsibilities of Williams’ office to his personal decisions as a college graduate,’ the student newspaper, The Criterion, reported.
Williams’ visit also was covered by KKCO and KJCT television stations in Grand Junction.
Most Colorado counties are holding elections this November, but to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ dismay the turnout won’t be anything like last year’s presidential election, when 2.9 million Coloradans participated.
“Off-year elections” usually involve school board races and tax issues for local districts. Some cities are holding council elections.
“These are issues that can directly affect your property values,” Williams said. “Given how much is at stake, I think it’s absurd that people aren’t going to vote in the upcoming election.”
Williams also disputed claims of massive voter fraud.
“I’ve seen no evidence of millions of people voting illegally,” he told the League of Women Voters. “We have found instances of people voting in Colorado and other states at the same time, and we are investigating that.”
It was the secretary’s third talk on election issues in 10 days.