Wayne Williams focuses on voter confidence at elections summit

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Amber McReynolds, director of Denver Elections, at the GET Summit.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addressed the issue of trust in elections and what states can do to rebuild confidence when he spoke this week at the first ever Global Election Technology Summit.

The GET Summit was organized by Startup Policy Lab, which invited bi-partisan leaders and innovators in elections, technology and other areas to get their input. Williams was a keynote speaker at the summit held Wednesday and Thursday in  San Francisco.

Colorado is viewed as being on the cutting edge of election technology. In an attempt to move the state from its  checkerboard pattern of voting systems, Williams in 2015 selected Dominion Voting Systems to provide equipment to Colorado’s 64 counties. The selection came after a pilot program and the recommendation of a committee.

In addition, county clerks and their staffs currently are undergoing training to learn how to perform the latest in post-election audits.

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Secretary Wayne Williams plays pivotal role in voter-confidence discussion

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, third from left, was one of six panelists to address voter confidence during the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference in Washington, D.C. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams believes the hyper scrutiny over elections these days can actually be a good thing so officials have time to make changes before the next general election to increase voter confidence in the system.

“People need to have confidence that their election officials are doing everything they can to maintain the integrity of the election,” Williams said. “We have to be able to respond, to say, ‘We hear the  problem, we’re addressing it.  And we’re trying to make sure the process has that integrity so that people believe their vote is going to count.'”

Williams served as one of six members on a panel during the National Associations of Secretaries of State winter conference last week in Washington, D.C., that examined the public’s trust and confidence in elections.

“I can say without question this was the best run federal election I have ever seen,” said panelist David Becker, the executive director for the Center for Election Innovation and Research.

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Wayne Williams meets with other secretaries of state, Pitkin clerk in Aspen

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, far right, joins other current and former secretaries of state for an election event in Aspen on Monday.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, far right, joins other current and former secretaries of state for an election event in Aspen on Monday.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill. (Photo courtesy of Aspen Public Radio/)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill. (Photo courtesy of Aspen Public Radio/Marci Krivonen)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams squeezed in a visit with Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill and her staff when he attended an elections seminar in Aspen sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Pew convened a bipartisan group of about 20 current and former secretaries of state to discuss challenges and opportunities to improve election administration in 2016 and beyond.

“The overall goal of Pew’s Election Initiatives team is to help election officials improve the cost-effectiveness, efficiency, accuracy, and convenience of elections,” said David Becker, director of elections initiatives for Pew. “We will be following up with several states about ways we can help them consider new technologies and ways in which better data may assist their efforts.”

Williams said that sharing “challenges and solutions” with both Republican and Democrat secretaries of state is “beneficial and interesting.”

Williams, who took office in January, headed for Aspen on Monday and left Tuesday with three secretaries of state whose flights out of Aspen had been canceled because of a snowstorm. Before taking off, he talked to the Pitkin County commissioners and the clerk’s office.

Read moreWayne Williams meets with other secretaries of state, Pitkin clerk in Aspen