Secretary Wayne Williams bets on the Super Bowl, is food-bank bound

A Super Bowl bet to help the hungry already is paying off for Coloradans even before the game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers officially kicks off.

Investigator Abbas Montoya with the Colorado Secretary of State is helping collect canned goods as part of the Super Bowl bet.
Investigator Abbas Montoya with the Colorado Secretary of State is helping collect canned goods as part of a Super Bowl bet.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Rick Enstrom of Enstrom Candies are scheduled to deliver a load of groceries Thursday to the Food Bank of the Rockies.

Williams and North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall wagered an unusual bet on Sunday’s Super Bowl game: Each office would collect food and donate it to their respective food banks.

If the Broncos win, the donations in both states are under their name. If the Panthers win, the donations are under their team name.

When Marshall indicated she wanted to wager on the game, Williams planned on betting buffalo steaks and Enstrom’s famous toffee. After hearing the bet was about food banks, Enstrom said he would load up on groceries.

“We’re delighted the Colorado and Carolina secretaries of state created this challenge and are choosing to help hungry families in honor of the big game,” said Kevin Seggelke, president and CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies.

Our good friends at the Denver clerk’s office, Denver Elections and the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder’s Office are also in on the action, collecting goods for us to deliver to the food bank after the game.  Thursday’s drop off involves only Enstrom’s donations.

WHAT: Food Bank of the Rockies grocery drop off

WHERE: 10700 E. 45th Ave., Denver

WHO: Secretary Wayne Williams and businessman Rick Enstrom

WHEN: 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 4.

Colorado candidates collect signatures to get on the ballot

State Rep. Su Ryden, an Aurora Democrat, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Capitol Friday for Military Appreciation Day. Ryden is collecting signatures to get on the ballot for her state Senate run.
State Rep. Su Ryden, an Aurora Democrat, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Capitol Friday for Military Appreciation Day. Ryden is collecting signatures to get on the ballot for her state Senate run.

Candidates who are planning to collect voter signatures to try to get on the June 28 primary ballot may start circulating their petitions today, although it’s likely the weather will crimp campaigning.

Collecting voter signatures is one way of getting on the ballot. Another is going through an assembly and receiving at least 30 percent of the delegate vote.

For candidates going the signature route, the petition format first must be approved by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. So far, 21 candidates have received the OK to proceed. Other candidates are waiting to have their petition formats approved.

A number of Republicans have lined up to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the Democratic incumbent. So far, five have had their petition formats approved.

Some candidates are collecting signatures and planning to go to their assemblies. That way if the assembly doesn’t work out, they will have the signatures to fall back on.

Read moreColorado candidates collect signatures to get on the ballot

Colorado county clerks call conferences “extremely rewarding”

San Miguel County Clerk Kathleen Erie and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference in Fort Collins this month.
San Miguel County Clerk Kathleen Erie and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference in Fort Collins this month.

By Keara Brosnan

Colorado county clerk and recorders say attending conferences with their back-to-back workshops can be taxing, but they are extremely rewarding.

“I have been to every one since being elected” in 2010, Clerk Kathleen Erie from San Miguel County said. “They play a huge role in keeping us all informed on best practices and law changes.”

The Colorado County Clerks Association hosts two statewide conferences annually. Clerks and their staffs also have the opportunity to attend regional training throughout the year sponsored the association and by Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office.

The clerks finished their winter conference in Fort Collins last week, which was hosted by Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers. The CCCA’s summer conference is in Arapahoe County Aug. 1-3 and will be hosted by Arapahoe Clerk Matt Crane.

Washington County Clerk Garland Wahl and Morgan County Clerk Susan Bailey at the Colorado County Clerks Association meeting in Fort Collins.
Washington County Clerk Garland Wahl and Morgan County Clerk Susan Bailey at the Colorado County Clerks Association meeting in Fort Collins.

“I have only been a clerk for about a year now, so this conference is valuable to network and learn so much from the other clerks,” said Morgan County Clerk Susan Bailey

Other more seasoned county clerks had a similar response to the winter conference.

“I have been a clerk for 34 years now and I still learn so much new information coming to these conferences,” said Clerk Garland Wahl from Washington County. “Every conference is different and I always learn something new.”

The clerks also found time to compete in a lip sync competition.

Read moreColorado county clerks call conferences “extremely rewarding”

Colorado’s county clerks learn, laugh, lip sync at winter conference

Steven Bennett with Dominion Voting Systems, the firm selected to provide equipment for the state, talks with clerks at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference this week in Fort Collins. The clerks are, left to right, Kiowa's Delisa Weeks, Cheyenne's Patricia Daugherty and Washington's Garland Wahl.
Steven Bennett with Dominion Voting Systems, the firm selected to provide equipment for the state, talks with clerks at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference this
week in Fort Collins. The clerks are, left to right, Kiowa’s Delisa Weeks, Cheyenne’s Patricia Daugherty and Washington’s Garland Wahl.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod.

Colorado’s hard-working county clerks traded tips on what works — and what might not — during their winter conference this week in Fort Collins.

The Colorado County Clerks Association’s conference offered clerks and their staffs the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops on topics ranging from motor vehicle registrations, the November election and communication best-practices.

“We’re a small county,” said Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod. “We really need to think outside the box and you get ideas to do that at this conference.”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams attended the three-day event.

Colorado Secretary of State gets a kick out of the cupcake he received Tuesday on his 53rd birthday. It was presented to him by Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association at its conference in Fort Collins.
Colorado Secretary of State gets a kick out of the cupcake he received Tuesday on his 53rd birthday. To his right is Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association.

“Both I and my staff welcomed the opportunity to share best practices and legal requirements with our county partners,” Williams said. “And I enjoyed seeing so many of my friends.  If I had to be away from family for my birthday, there’s no finer group to be with.”

Williams turned 53 on Tuesday. Clerks serenaded Williams after Pam Anderson, the executive director of the association, presented the secretary with a cupcake.

Williams talked to the clerks about his decision to go with vendor Dominion Voting Systems, which was the No. 1 choice of a committee studying voting systems.  And he announced Wednesday that the state will use federal Help America Vote Act funds to cover 50 percent of a county’s costs to train, test, install and manage the project this year and next.

Gunnison County is one of more than 20 counties that will be switching to Denver-based Dominion this year.

Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell said she spent a “considerable amount of time” meeting with Dominion, one of the many vendors that had a booth set up at the conference.

Gunnison County Clerk Kathy Simillion and Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell.
Gunnison County Clerk Kathy Simillion and Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell.

Gunnison Clerk Kathy Simillion said learning about the equipment was “just part of it.”

“I also enjoy the camaraderie and learning ideas from other clerks,” she said.

For several clerks, it was a chance to meet for the first time the secretary of state staffers they have talk to on the phone on a regular basis.

The conference also saw the changing of the guard, with Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane taking over for La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker as president. Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon is the president elect, while Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell was sworn in as vice president.

Former Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle was named an honorary lifetime clerk.  He was introduced by his successor,  Clerk Angela Myers.

“I look out upon this room and see lots of hardworking clerks. The work you do is challenging, but it is extremely important and the basis of our free society,” Doyle said.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Denver Clerk Debra Johnson and SOS staffers during the lip-synch competition at the Colorado County Clerks Association banquet Wednesday in Fort Collins. The group was introduced as "Lil Wayne and the Hanging Chads."
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Denver Clerk Debra Johnson and SOS staffers during the lip-synch competition at the Colorado County Clerks Association banquet Wednesday in Fort Collins. The group was introduced as “Lil Wayne and the Hanging Chads.”

After the banquet,  clerks and their staffs competed in a hilarious lip-sync contest. Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes and staffers took top prize for for their rendition of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”

Williams and his staff, along with Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, performed “Under Pressure.” They got a good laugh when they were introduced as “Lil’ Wayne and the Hanging Chads.”

Rachel Maddow surprises Fremont County Democrats

Thanks, Fremont County Democrats, for the invitation to speak at your annual FDR Dinner.
Thanks, Fremont County Democrats, for the invitation to speak at your annual FDR Dinner.

When the Fremont County Democrats asked me to speak at their FDR dinner, I  pointed out I now worked for a Republican, Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

I added I was a registered Republican, although at times I have been a Democrat and unaffiliated.

No matter, said chair Gloria Stultz.  They wanted to hear me speak ever since, when as a Denver Post reporter, I gave MSNBC host Rachel Maddow a tour of the Democrats’ Bannock Street Project in Denver during the 2014 election.

So one week ago today, I headed to Cañon City with a surprise for the Fremont County Democrats: Williams and Maddow videotaped a greeting for the dinner guests.

“I’m sending you this video message basically as like a liberal hall pass for Lynn Bartels,” Maddow said. “I hearby swear she’s awesome, she’s totally trustworthy, she is way funnier than your average liberal or conservative. … Lynn Bartels is one Republican who has this liberal’s good housekeeping seal of approval.”

Read moreRachel Maddow surprises Fremont County Democrats