Colorado will lose some of its longtime county clerks

Bent County Clerk Patti Nickell, in her office in Las Animas, holds up the sugar cookies she made for Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Two of Colorado’s longest serving county clerks told Secretary of State Wayne Williams Monday their decision not to run for re-election this year is a bittersweet one.

“I have very mixed emotions,” said Crowley County Clerk Lucile Nichols, who began working in the Clerk & Recorder’s office in 1972 and was first elected clerk in 1994.

“I have enjoyed the job but it’s 45 years of a lifestyle coming to an end.”

Bent County Clerk Patti Nickell has served as the clerk for 32 years. “It feels weird,” she said, of leaving. “It really does.”

A number of small and rural counties do not have term limits for clerks. Larger counties do so clerks turn over every four or eight years, but what makes 2018 unusual is the number of longtime clerks who are saying goodbye to registering vehicles, running elections, recording documents and many, many, more duties.

Others who are retiring after this year include Otero County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy, who will also have spent 43 years in the office, and Washington County Clerk Garland Wahl, who was first elected to the post in 1982.

“We are losing decades of experience,” Williams said.

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Colorado’s 64 county clerks, “out there on the front lines”

Colorado Secretary Wayne Williams, third from left in the back row, and county clerks who attended a regional meeting this week in Cañon City. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told county clerks at a regional gathering this week that his office is reviewing how to implement voter-approved ballot measures, including one that changes signature gathering for ballot proposals.

Amendment 71 requires that any new constitutional amendment pass with 55 percent of the vote instead of a simple majority. In addition, a percentage of the signatures to put the measure on the ballot must be gathered in all 35 Senate districts, which will change how the state reviews petitions to determine whether backers collected enough valid voter signatures.

Williams addressed a variety of topics, from early-voting requirements to ballot drop boxes, when he spoke Wednesday to clerks from the state’s southern region at their conference in Cañon City.

“Our job is to help you and to help the voters,” Williams told the clerks. “You’re the ones out there on the front lines.”

Read moreColorado’s 64 county clerks, “out there on the front lines”