Former Morgan County Clerk Connie Ingmire honored

Former Morgan County Clerk Connie Ingmire and others admire the award she received Saturday from Secretary of State Wayne Williams. From left to right, Jean Danford, Shirley Kula, Ingmire and Bob Kula at the Kulas’ home in Fort Morgan. (SOS photo)

Colorado  Secretary of State Wayne Williams had an award to hand out to former Morgan County Clerk Connie Ingmire but he  wasn’t sure when and how to present it to her so she would get the recognition she deserved.

Ingmire unwittingly solved the problem when she asked the secretary to speak to the Morgan County Republican Women at their brunch Aug. 11 in Fort Morgan. She is club president.

Williams talked about the office and the services it provides for elections, business registrations, notary training and such.

Former Morgan County Clerk Connie Ingmire and Secretary of State Wayne Williams with the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award. (SOS photo)

He also pointed out that when he was the El Paso County clerk and recorder and Ingmire held the same position in Morgan County, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler appointed them to a group to study election equipment. Williams continued the same committee when he became secretary of state in 2015, and Ingmire, although no longer a county clerk, agreed to serve.

“That’s why I was excited to come here, not just to visit you, but to give this award to Connie,” Williams said.

He then presented Ingmire with the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award. Each secretary of state is allowed to give out five NASS awards annually  to a person or organization who has made a contribution to the office. Williams so far in his tenure has awarded four.

Club members applauded as Ingmire looked stunned. Her sister, Pat Samples-Ehrlich, had been tipped off and was in attendance.

“I was very surprised and very pleased,” Ingmire said afterward. “I’ve always considered Wayne Williams a wonderful state official. He does a lot to benefit the citizens of Colorado, as well as the Colorado County Clerks Association.”

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Good-bye to two good cops

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Schrader, who used to carpool to work with Tom Acernio, attended Acernio’s retirement party July 15. On the far left and right are Donna and Tom Acernio. Between them is Sheriff Jeff Schrader and his wife Jane. (Photo by Lynn Bartels)
Trooper Mike Fohrd and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at an event in April. (Photo by Lynn Bartels)

Two of my favorite men in blue — the Colorado State Patrol’s Mike Fohrd and Jeffco Sheriff’s Tom Acernio — were honored at retirement parties last month.

I made it to Tom’s party, which was held July 15 just down the street from my house at the Potenza Lodge in north Denver.  I had to skip Mike’s party the day before at the Governor’s Mansion, and for that I blame Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach because I was working on a news release about the White House’s election commission.

I met Mike in 2000 when I first started covering the state Capitol and he was assigned to the crew guarding then Gov. Bill Owens and his family. Through the years I always delighted in seeing him, whether he was ferrying around a governor or handling security at the Capitol south door.  “You can let her through,” he would tell the security folks. “She practically lives here.”

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Honoring Douglas County’s Sheri Davis

Judd Choate, elections director at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Sheri Davis with the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Davis, who used to see oversee elections, was recognized by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday for 20 years of service. (SOS photo)

Sheri Davis celebrated 20 years of service as a Douglas County clerk and recorder employee in a ceremony Tuesday that attracted a ring of admirers, including Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

During her tenure, Davis worked in recording, then elections and now is overseeing Motor Vehicles.

Williams told the Douglas County Board of Commissioners that when he served as the El Paso County clerk and recorder his office often turned to Davis, the elections manager, “to find out what made sense, what looked like it was going to work.” That partnership continued when he became secretary of state in 2015.

Sheri Davis, who has worked for Douglas county government for 20 years, and her current boss, Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz. (SOS photo)

“Thank you Sheri for all of your work. Thank you for making it so that I never had to worry, so that I could just call and say ‘Hey, had a question about this,’ and to know that when you said, ‘Yes, things are going fine,’ that that meant they absolutely were,” Williams said. “I appreciate your great work.”

Douglas County commissioners recognize employees’ years of service in five-year increments. It was Davis’ first time to appear before the board during her recognition.

“Wow, my head just really grew,” Davis told those gathered at the Douglas County board room. “I have a passion for serving the citizens of Douglas County and I hope to be able to continue to do that for a few more years. I do appreciate all the support I’ve received over the years.”

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Mea culpa: the uproar over Colorado voter data rolls

“We applaud Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams for turning over only that data that is legally releasable, and dismiss as politically opportunistic calls from some that he should have turned his back to the commission’s request entirely.” –The Grand Junction Sentinel

Hundreds of Coloradans have called, e-mailed or written to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in recent days, urging Secretary Wayne Williams to refuse to turn over public voter roll data to a commission appointed by President Donald Trump.

Had Williams announced he had no intention of doing so, he might have been a hero to some judging from the angry comments we have received. He also would have been breaking the law and setting, he believes, a dangerous precendent.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, right, addresses the National Association of Secretaries of State last week in Indianapolis. To his left is California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. (Photo credit: Jonathan Hawkins Photography for NASS)

“Colorado law does not permit the secretary of state, county election officials or anyone else to say, ‘I’m only going to give it to the people I like,’ or, ‘I’m only going to give it to my friends,’ or, ‘I’m only going to give it to the people in my party,’” Williams said at a news conference last week.

“That is not a provision of Colorado law, nor do you want to put such a provision in place where only favored people can receive that information.”

In the meantime, Williams sponsored a resolution unanimously adopted this week at the National Association of Secretaries of States’ summer conference in Indianapolis. It reiterated that states are in charge of elections.

The furor over the White House’s request was felt from sea to shining sea, but I feel guilty about the depth of the angst in Colorado.

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CLASS ACT: learning provided by the Colorado County Clerks Association

Two Colorado Secretary of State staffers, Trevor Timmons, the chief information officer, and Rich Schliep, the chief security officer, talk with Prowers County Clerk Jana Coen about security breaches during the Colorado County Clerks Association conference in Snowmass Village last week. (SOS photo)

Think of it as a kind of summer school for county clerks and their staffs.

A seminar about a program that allows survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to purchase homes and file those records with county clerks without revealing their location.

Workshops on the Russians and election security.

And a class on election costs and reimbursements.

That’s some of what the Colorado County Clerks Association summer conference offered to attendees at the Westin in Snowmass Village last week.

“I learned a lot,” said Otero County Clerk and Recorder Sharon Sisnroy.

The county will be getting a new system for Motor Vehicle records and will handle property records differently, in addition to needing to educate unaffiliated voters who will automatically receive ballots in the mail for next year’s primary election.

“There’s a lot going on next year so I guess I will be going out with a bang,” said Sisnroy, who has worked at the clerk’s office for 42 years and won’t seek re-election in 2018.

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