Colorado election staffer witnesses historic Armenian election

Steve Bouey and his observation team partner, Magda, from Poland. (Steve Bouey photo)

Steve Bouey, the campaign finance manager for the Colorado Secretary of State, just completed travel to his 74th country.

Bouey felt right at home in Armenia. The altitude in the capital city of Yerevan is only 1,000 feet lower than that of Denver’s famous Mile High mark. And Armenia’s landscape is filled with mountains and picturesque forests.

As an observer for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Bouey has traveled abroad dozens of times and met hundreds of foreigners who are passionate about establishing and maintaining free and fair elections.

This was the first election of its kind in Armenia. A constitutional referendum approved in December 2015 changed the government from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary system.

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Armenians interested in Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ take on presidential politics

Colorado Secretary of State met with a group of international visitors from Armenia Thursday in his office in Denver. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams met with a group of international visitors from Armenia Thursday in his office in Denver. He is holding a gift he received. (SOS photo)

By Julia Sunny and Lynn Bartels

A group of Armenian officials who met with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Thursday were interested in a variety of topics, including overseas Americans participating in elections back home to the upcoming presidential contest.

Williams explained Colorado is a “swing” state that sometimes votes Republican and sometimes Democrat for president. He stunned the delegation when he told them that Hillary Clinton spoke in Denver on Tuesday and Donald Trump would be here  Friday.

“Seriously? Here?” one Armenian asked.

One visitor said he if were able to vote in the election he would choose Bernie Sanders.

The Armenians’ visit is part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Williams has met with other IVLP visitors before, including a group from the Middle East in March. Those visitors asked about marijuana and the “messy” precinct caucuses they had just observed.

The six-member Armenian delegation is traveling across the country. It will meet with the Cleveland Council on World Affairs in Ohio next week.

The presidential election is being closely observed overseas, and Williams was asked his thoughts.

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