Colorado election officials stand out at national conference

Colorado’s election officials racked up the awards at this year’s Election Center conference, which was held in California. From left to right: Arapahoe County Elections Director Jennifer Morrell, Denver Elections’ Amanda Beach, the voter records manager, Amber McReynolds, director of Denver Elections, El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman and Denver County Clerk Debra Johnson.

By Lizzie Stephani

Colorado election officials shone at the Election Center’s 33rd national conference, winning several prestigious awards and gaining certification or re-certification as election administrators.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, as well as members of various clerks’ offices,  attended the conference in Garden Grove, Calif., which ended Wednesday.

“Colorado’s county clerks have one of the highest participation rates in the Election Center and it was exciting to see Colorado’s clerks win awards and their staffers graduate at this year’s national conference,” Williams said. “Colorado won three of the 10 awards that were handed out.”

El Paso and Denver counties, and the Colorado County Clerks Association were recognized for their work in serving their voters with professional best practices.

Read moreColorado election officials stand out at national conference

$52 per vote? County clerks explore changing early-voting requirements

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addresses the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission on Tuesday, which discussed early-voting requirements. Seated at the table are other commission members, including from left to right Aurora City Clerk Karen Goldman, Sen.-elect Dominic Moreno, D-Commerce City, and Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addresses the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission on Tuesday, which discussed early-voting requirements. Seated at the table are other commission members, from left to right, Aurora City Clerk Karen Goldman, Sen.-elect Dominic Moreno, D-Commerce City, and Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. Behind Moreno is Douglas County Clerk Merlin Klotz. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s county clerks want some leeway when it comes to providing early-voting locations during general elections because of costs, the turnout and the difficulty in securing locations and judges.

Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane said the data suggests the first week could be eliminated – his county spent $52 per vote over those six days. But he said one option for Arapahoe might be reducing locations for that first week from 11 to just the clerk’s office and the four Motor Vehicle offices.

Martha Tierney, the attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party and a commission member, opposed the reductions.

“We saw two- and three-hour lines (on Election Day),” she said. “Let’s not forget that.”

The discussion about polling centers was the lone topic of discussion Tuesday at the fourth meeting of the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission, which was created by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with support from legislators and others concerned with elections. The goal of the commission is to come up with solutions to fix election problems identified by Williams, his staff and others.

Williams told the group that he believes the data “clearly shows” that the present number of sites is excessive, but he doesn’t think the first week should be eliminated.

Read more$52 per vote? County clerks explore changing early-voting requirements

Secretary Wayne Williams bets on the Super Bowl, is food-bank bound

A Super Bowl bet to help the hungry already is paying off for Coloradans even before the game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers officially kicks off.

Investigator Abbas Montoya with the Colorado Secretary of State is helping collect canned goods as part of the Super Bowl bet.
Investigator Abbas Montoya with the Colorado Secretary of State is helping collect canned goods as part of a Super Bowl bet.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Rick Enstrom of Enstrom Candies are scheduled to deliver a load of groceries Thursday to the Food Bank of the Rockies.

Williams and North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall wagered an unusual bet on Sunday’s Super Bowl game: Each office would collect food and donate it to their respective food banks.

If the Broncos win, the donations in both states are under their name. If the Panthers win, the donations are under their team name.

When Marshall indicated she wanted to wager on the game, Williams planned on betting buffalo steaks and Enstrom’s famous toffee. After hearing the bet was about food banks, Enstrom said he would load up on groceries.

“We’re delighted the Colorado and Carolina secretaries of state created this challenge and are choosing to help hungry families in honor of the big game,” said Kevin Seggelke, president and CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies.

Our good friends at the Denver clerk’s office, Denver Elections and the Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder’s Office are also in on the action, collecting goods for us to deliver to the food bank after the game.  Thursday’s drop off involves only Enstrom’s donations.

WHAT: Food Bank of the Rockies grocery drop off

WHERE: 10700 E. 45th Ave., Denver

WHO: Secretary Wayne Williams and businessman Rick Enstrom

WHEN: 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 4.

Current, former elected officials honor Donetta Davidson, John Moye

Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, his deputy director Victoria Gallegos and elections director Jennifer Morrell in the front row watch as attorney John Moye and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson receive awards during a ceremony Tuesday. Behind Crane is the Denver clerk and recorder, Deb Johnson.
Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, his deputy director Victoria Gallegos and his elections director Jennifer Morrell watch as attorney John Moye and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson receive awards during a ceremony Tuesday. Behind Crane and to his right is Denver Clerk Debra Johnson.
Attorney John Moye, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson.
Attorney John Moye, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams credited an attorney in private practice with a commitment to public service and a government official willing to listen for turning the office into a national model.

Williams said it wasn’t until he was sworn into office in January and then started meeting with secretaries of state across the country that he realized just how much further ahead Colorado is.

“We are indeed leading the nation and we continue to do that,” Williams said during the event on Tuesday.

He presented awards from the National Association of Secretaries of State to attorney John Moye and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson in a ceremony that saw former and current elected officials show up to pay tribute. The NASS Medallions are given to those who make a difference.

“John, I couldn’t have shared this day with anybody any better than you,” Davidson said.

“Same to you,” Moye replied.

Read moreCurrent, former elected officials honor Donetta Davidson, John Moye

Denver pioneers election techniques

How cool to rack up so many awards for election innovation. Clerk and recorder Debra Johnson and elections director Amber McReynolds at one of Denver's 24 round-the-clock ballot boxes. (Photo by Alton Dillard)
How cool to rack up so many awards for election innovations. Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson and Denver elections director Amber McReynolds at one of Denver’s two dozen 24-hour ballot boxes. (Photo by Alton Dillard)

When it comes to voting, Denver is a pioneer, whether it’s convenient round-the-clock ballot boxes or ballot tracking.

The Denver Election Division  currently provides 24 round-the-clock ballot boxes where voters can drop off their ballots.  The boxes are in use now as voters drop off ballots for the Nov. 3 coordinated election. Other county clerks have followed suit. 

“We are a state-of-the-art election office that is one of the best in the country,” Denver elections director Amber McReynolds said. “We have spent significant time supporting counties across Colorado and the nation to export our ideas, innovations and service.  It is all worth it if we can improve the voting process for voters everywhere.  That is why it matters to us.”

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