National election guru says Colorado’s “ACE is the place”

Mindy Moretti with electionline.org. She said it was the only photo she could find on deadline.
Mindy Moretti with electionline.org. She said it was the only photo she could find on deadline.

The Secretary of State’s innovative election-data gathering system, Accountability in Colorado Elections or ACE, is the focus of an article in electionlineWeekly — the must read online publication for folks in the election business.

The piece opens with a very Colorado angle:

“At 14,400 feet, Mount Elbert — part of the Sawatch Mountain Range — is the highest peak in Colorado. If you add up and pile up all the data the Colorado secretary of state’s office collects each election cycle, it could rival Mount Elbert for height.”

The article was written by Mindy Moretti, a writer and editor for electionline.org, which bill bills itself as “the nation’s the nation’s only nonpartisan, no-advocacy clearinghouse for election reform news and information.”

Moretti interviewed Judd Choate, the state elections director for the Colorado Secretary of State, who told her: “We collect so much information every day. We just needed to figure out a way to give that information to the people who may find it interesting. This is an effort to bridge the gap between what is officially available and the ease with which you can actually see it.”

Colorado journalists raved about ACE during two workshops last fall showing them how it works.

Read moreNational election guru says Colorado’s “ACE is the place”

Littleton High grad makes my day

Everyone needs a Brett Maney in their lives, a fan whose enthusiasm isn’t so out of control that it sparks a “Law & Order” episode but is so sincere it will make you feel warm all over.

Brett Maney.
Brett Maney.

Brett, a 2014 Littleton High School graduate who is now studying political communication at George Washington University, e-mailed her mother, Lisa Maney, on the opening day of the Colorado County Clerks Association summer conference at the Inverness Hotel in Arapahoe County.

“IF YOU SEE LYNN BARTELS AT THE CONFERENCE,” Brett wrote Monday morning, “PLLLEEAASSEEE TAKE A PHOTO WITH HER PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.”

“Seriously? “her mother responded. “There are about 500 people.”

Their back-and-forth was priceless. (More on that later.)

Short story long: Fate intervened and I met Lisa. A photo was taken and sent to Brett in D.C. The 20-year-old text immediately text messaged her mother:

“I love you so much it’s unreal.”

Yeah, that happened.

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Secretary Williams says SOS will help clerks pay for 24-hour ballot boxes

Secretary of State Wayne Williams announces the state will help pay for 24-hour election drop boxes. Williams attended the Colorado County Clerks Association this week. (Julia Sunny)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams announces the state will help pay for 24-hour election drop boxes. Williams attended the Colorado County Clerks Association this week. (Julia Sunny)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams told county clerks this week that the state will help pay for ballot drop boxes to make it easier for their residents to vote.

The boxes allow voters to drop off their ballots 24 hours a day, including after hours and at locations other than just the clerks’ offices. Elbert County, for example, has a box inside the local Walmart.

“We really don’t want to be in a situation where somebody doesn’t get their vote counted because they didn’t have access to a ballot drop box and they weren’t able to drop by the time period that you’re open during business hours,” Williams said.

He also advised  election officials attending the Colorado County Clerks Association summer conference this week in the metro area to be ready for a deluge of last-minute voters Nov. 8. Williams pointed to presidential primaries in Maricopa County, Arizona, and New Hampshire, where the volume of voters overwhelmed election officials.

Read moreSecretary Williams says SOS will help clerks pay for 24-hour ballot boxes

Colorado county clerks, staffs hear moving tribute by a true hero

Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta signs books for attendees at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference Tuesday,
Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta signs books for attendees at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference Tuesday,

The first living recipient of the Medal of Honor in almost four decades held county clerks and their staffs “spellbound” Tuesday when he talked to them about his journey as a “sandwich artist” working at a Subway in Iowa to a mountainside in Afghanistan to a ceremony at the White House.

Former Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta touted the men who were with him that fateful day in 2007 that claimed the lives of two men, including a close friend.

“We Americans do not go to war to fight because we … hate our enemies. We go to war and we fight because we love our homes, we love this country so much it’s worth leaving everything and preserving what we have here,” he said.

His speech — filled with honor, humility and humor — was a high point of the Colorado County Clerks Association conference, which began Monday and ended today.

“I was absolutely spellbound,” said Tina Fry, Routt County’s chief deputy clerk.

Read moreColorado county clerks, staffs hear moving tribute by a true hero

Colorado County Clerks Association honors four lawmakers

State Rep. Dominick Morena, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane and lobbyist Mike Beasley at the Colorado County Clerks Association meeting Monday. Crane is president of the group, which honored four lawmakers, including Moreno. (SOS photo)
State Rep. Dominick Moreno, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane and lobbyist Mike Beasley at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference Monday. Crane is president of the group, which honored four lawmakers, including Moreno. (SOS photo)

The Colorado County Clerks Association today recognized three lawmakers who sponsored a bill to make it easier for clerks to maintain or upgrade equipment used to record documents.

The effort to pass the bill actually began two to three years ago, CCCA director Pam Anderson told clerks at their summer conference, which began Monday.

A lot of people put a lot of effort into getting Senate Bill 115 passed, she said, including the sponsors. The bill was sponsored by two Republicans, Rep. Kathleen Conti of Littleton and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Thornton, and Rep. Dominick Moreno, a Commerce City Democrat.

“With perseverance you can get things done at the Capitol,” Humenik told the clerks. “Sometimes it just takes several years.”

The clerks association also honored outgoing Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a Boulder Democrat who is only the second woman to lead the House. She carried House Bill 1303 in 2013, which made major changes in Colorado’s election laws.

Read moreColorado County Clerks Association honors four lawmakers