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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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 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.
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.”
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.”
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ name is linked with elections but the Colorado Springs Republican’s expertise also includes transportation, which is obvious when he’s out and about.
At the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Blue Ribbon Reception Wednesday night, Williams reminisced with Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, a Steamboat Springs Democrat. They were county commissioners when they served together on the Colorado State Transportation Advisory Committee. The same happened at a recent breakfast meeting with county clerks when Williams ran into Tim Harris, the former chief engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“A fun thing about being SOS,” Williams said, “is I get to drive on a lot of the roads that I helped to get funding for.”
His knowledge on transportation came in handy Thursday when Gov. John Hickenlooper addressed the issue during his State of the State speech.