Wednesday is Colorado Day

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams during his trip to visit the county clerk and recorders this summer in Jackson and Grand counties. (SOS photo)

On Aug 1, 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation of statehood for Colorado, making our colorful state the 38th member of the Union. Now, 142 years later, many across Colorado are celebrating with free admissions to parks on Aug 6, cooking up a classic Colorado meal or by attending any number of the cultural events in Denver this week.

Chris Cash, the charities program manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. (SOS photo)

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne will celebrate Colorado Day at the History Colorado Center at 10 a.m. Wednesday. (Here’s a list of events at History Colorado for the day.)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has lived in Colorado for 26 years and enjoys life with his wife Holly and family in Colorado Springs. He said the beautiful weather, friendly people, and “can-do” attitude drew him to Colorado as a recent University of Virginia law school graduate.

Colorado native Chris Cash, the charities program manager for the SOS, grew up in Boulder and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.

“Like everybody else, I love the mountains,” Cash said. “As a youngster, I especially valued skiing. Now that I have no knees and I-70 is impassable it’s practically irrelevant, so I find other ways to enjoy the outdoors.”

Among other Secretary of State staffers, enthusiasm also runs high for the Centennial State.  Just last month, Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler hiked to the summit of San Luis Peak as part of the #UChooseCO campaign.

Read moreWednesday is Colorado Day

Shout it from the mountaintop: All about U voting just one ballot

Colorado Secretary of State staffers Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler took the UChooseCO message to San Luis Peak: If you’re an unaffiliated voter, only turn in one ballot.

Here’s to Colorado Secretary of State staffers Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler who took  the UChooseCO message to the mountaintop: unaffiliated voters, if you get two ballots, only vote bone.

The pair climbed one Colorado’s 14’ers, San Luis Peak, on Tuesday, carrying with them a sign and the wooden U with the following message wood burned into it: “Just vote one.”

The wooden U from Secretary of State staffers Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in Tuesday’s primary election, but they can only vote one ballot.

Unaffiliated voters could tell their clerks which ballot they wanted to receive. Those who did not indicate a preference got both the Republican and Democratic ballots — but they can only vote one.

Other SOS staffers have decorated U’s,  including myself and Secretary Williams and Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert.

Lawmakers, county clerks, even Denver International Airport  have put their artistic touch on the U’s. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Schler praised Griesmer for carrying the sign on his back even though the wind kept wanting to “rip that sign off.”

And speaker of 14’ers, nearly everyone agrees that the wooden U from Chaffee County, home to 12 of the state’s 58 mountain peaks 14,000 feet or higher, is one of the best. Good job, Clerk Lori Mitchell.

SOS + CCCA = One heck of an incredible journey

The Colorado Secretary of State’s elections division regularly attends the Colorado County Clerks Association conference. Some of the staffers at last week’s event were Ben Schler, Eddie Morgan, Caleb Thornton, Melissa Polk, Danny Casias, Jessi Romero and Steve Bouey. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his staff got great reviews from those who attended the Colorado County Clerks Association winter conference, and the secretary was equally complimentary.

“I love working with the clerk and recorders,” he told conference-goers. “You’re not afraid to follow the law, and that’s true whether there’s a recall in Custer County or with someone who submits petitions.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams hands Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien an award for her and her staff for participating in SOS sponsored training. (SOS photo)

The three-day conference in Colorado Springs concluded last week, and the clerks will gather again in the summer. The conferences offer workshops on a variety of topics that clerks deal with, including vehicle title registration and recording  documents.

County clerks run elections, but the secretary of state is the chief elections officer, and that’s where the SOS comes in to play at conferences. Secretary of State staffers participate in workshops on a variety of topics, including security, ballot access and changes to election laws.

Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner said the “wonderful people at the SOS office” are her staff’s “lifeline.”

Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien praised the SOS and her fellow clerks.

“At every conference, I glean tips, tricks and lessons learned that help me continually improve our processes. I love being able to share our practices as well in a effort to help others across the state,” she said. “In the current political climate, it’s inspiring and encouraging to see so many working towards the same shared goal — excellence!”

Read moreSOS + CCCA = One heck of an incredible journey

Plain or à la mode, it’s another fun day at the Secretary of State’s office


The Colorado Secretary of State’s video on pie/pi.

Cherry. Apple. Pumpkin. Pecan. Banana cream. Secretary of State employees rattled off names of their favorite pies on Tuesday, national Pi Day, held on March 14 because the date 3-14 contains the first three first digits in Pi.

Julia Sunny, the social medial coordinator for the Colorado Secretary of State. (SOS photo)

Of course, Secretary of State Wayne Williams could rattle off the Pi forumula with ease — he was a Truman Scholar after all. But others struggled, as documented in the first video by the office’s new social media coordinator, Julia Sunny.

After his 15 minutes of fame, Williams dined on apple pie and cheesecake, provided by the office’s Employee Relations Committee.

“Our Employee Relations Committee does a great job of putting together activities to help make this a good place to work,” Williams said.

“They’re providing pie for all the employees today so I look forward to visiting with my colleagues and enjoying some good-tasting pie.”

Deputy Elections Director Hilary Rudy and Chief of Staff Gary Zimmerman both liked their grandmothers’ pies. Ben Schler, the legal and internal operations manager for the elections division, likes his crust made with lots of butter. Schler and HR technician Wyatt Ryder prefer cheesecake over pie.

If you like pecan pie, you might want to skip my reference to it.

Williams returns to Saguache County

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Saguache County Clerk's office, with Clerk Carla Gomez and staffers Jane Whitten and Trish Gilbert. (SOS photo/Chris Johnson)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Saguache County Clerk’s office, with Clerk Carla Gomez and staffers Jane Whitten and Trish Gilbert. (SOS photo/Chris Johnson)

What do you do when your experienced elections director resigns in July and you need lots of help for November?

If you’re Saguache County Clerk Carla Gomez you rely heavily on the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

Gomez repeatedly praised the SOS elections staff when Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his administrative assistant, Chris Johnson, visited her and her three staffers Friday in Saguache.

“We were very glad to see him in this remote location, especially that he would visit during the busy election season,” she said.

Read moreWilliams returns to Saguache County