After two failed attempts, the women’s suffrage movement won voting rights for women by a state referendum in 1893. The amendment was drafted by J. Warner Mills, a Denver lawyer, and sponsored by state Rep. J.T. Heath of Montrose County. “The opposition saloonkeepers and brewers, who feared women voters would crack down on liquor, were not taking the suffrage campaign seriously and mounted little opposition,” according to an Internet article on the vote.
Colorado became the second state to enfranchise women behind Wyoming, paving the way for the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.
One of the leaders in the suffrage movement was Eliza Pickrell Routt, the wife of Colorado’s first governor, John Routt.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has honored the former first lady and her contributions to women’s suffrage by naming an award after her. It goes to high schools where 85 percent or more of the senior class has registered to vote.
“When women got the right to, she was the first one to register,” he said.
The head of a national Latino organization visited with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams this week to talk about the importance of an accurate count for the 2020 census.
Arturo Vargas, the chief executive officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, enlisted Williams’ help to make sure Colorado residents are counted. Williams explained the governor’s office handles the census, but that he would do everything he could so that Colorado gets its “fair share of everything from highway dollars, to housing, to community development block grants, to everything else that is out there.”
As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, America each decade counts its population. Vargas and Williams agreed that the message to Coloradans to participate is critical
“If you tell me it’s my civic duty,” Williams said, “it’s not as compelling as saying that this will help fix that road in front of your house or this will help a clinic or help provide funding for this various issue and tying it into something they care about.”
Bolder Boulder refers to a race, but can accurately be applied to the Boulder County elections division, too. This year,the division is giving away coasters, bookmarks, posters and even temporary tattoos that contain election information.
“Our office takes voter outreach seriously, and that means reaching voters in unconventional ways and unconventional places,” said Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall.
“By conducting our outreach in a variety of channels we are helping reinforce the message that voting is a priority. It helps the voter engage in the process, check their registration, and puts election information at their fingertips in a variety of settings.”
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams praised Hall and other clerks for their efforts to boost voter registration and turnout. “There’s a reason we’ve got the highest voter registration in the country, and we’re tops in turnout, too, and innovate ideas such as this are part of our success story.
The panel discussed the 2016 election and what Masterson described as a “real and concentrated effort to undermine confidence.” Williams pointed out that many Americans are still troubled by the cyber attacks and dissemination of disinformation on social media in the last national election.
Both Masterson and Hicks said their roles are to support the states to prevent and respond to security threats, as well as encourage wider participation help to ensure a safe election.
The working relationship between Homeland Security and the National Association of Secretary of States, or NASS, has improved. Williams, who serves on the NASS board, said in 2016 the federal agency did not know who to tell about election security threats. Now, both the states and the federal government have made a concerted effort to work together.
“The difference between then and now is the difference between night and day,” he said.
Masterson, a former EAC member, agreed, noting “the biggest change and improvement is the amount of information being shared… We are just getting regular information from states and locals. That is critical to understanding the threat, sharing information, and managing risks.”
New Mexico and Colorado both utilize risk limiting audits to ensure that voter confidence remains high in the tabulation of the election and monitor social media to respond to misinformation.
“If you believe that your vote will get counted,” Williams said, “you’re more likely to vote.”
It’s hard work to run an office as seamless as the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Once a year, the Human Resources Department holds employee appreciation week to show thanks to staffers for all their efforts throughout the year.
Each day this week, activities were offered such as daily walks, trivia questions, food and more:
Monday: The week kicked off with “Statey” award ballots, where the staff nominates their colleagues for various awards, and try to solve puzzles about the office and employees.
Trivia question of the day — Who won the coveted “Sunshine Award” in last year’s Statey Awards? Carla Moore, in the Finance Department and she’s been beaming even brighter ever since.
Tuesday: Employees were treated to bagels, cream cheese, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate for breakfast.
Trivia question of the day — Which month contains the most days that our office is closed (not including weekends)? November.