Colorado’s Wayne Williams, other secretaries of state, discuss request for voter data

Secretaries of state, including Wayne Williams of Colorado, right, answer questions from the media Friday regarding a White House commission letter requesting public voter data. The National Association of Secretaries of State is meeting in Indianapolis for its summer conference.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said today at the National Secretaries of State summer conference that election officials work hard to make it easy to vote but difficult to commit voter fraud.

Williams was one of five secretaries of state from both parties who fielded questions from the media about a request from a White House presidential commission for voter data — a move that has set off a firestorm nationally and in Colorado. State law requires Williams to provide information that is public under the law, and for decades political parties and the press, campaigns and candidates have received voter records.

“You don’t want a secretary of state saying ‘OK, I’m not going to give the information to my political opponents, I’ll just give it to my friends,” he told reporters covering the NASS conference in Indianapolis.

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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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Or you can call Jenny at 867-5309

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and White House aide Billy Kirkland today at the National Association of Secretaries of State conference. (SOS picture)

How’s this for brave? A Trump administration official addressing the nation’s secretaries of state today gave out his personal cell phone number.

The only other person I know who regularly hands out his cell phone number is my boss, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who orders business cards by the bushel and gives them to, oh everyone.

Billy Kirkland, the deputy director for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, was part of a panel “State Priorities in the New Trump Administration” during the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference in Washington, D.C.

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, the former NASS president, offered a bit of advice: If you have questions about elections, hackers, cyber security, ask us. And Kirkland offered his number.*

Schedler and others, including Williams, are miffed with the outgoing administration’s 11th-hour decision to classify election equipment as “critical infrastructure.”

“No one ever asked us how an election was run,” Schedler complained, noting election equipment is not connected to the Internet. “How do you attack something in cyberspace that’s not there.”

Others on the panel included Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, the current NASS president, and  representatives from the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislators and the National Association of Attorneys General.

*No, I’m not giving out the number.

Colorado makes its mark at National Association of Secretaries of State conference

The executive board of the National Association of Secretaries of State pose for its first group shot, at the NASS conference in Nashville this month. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, to the left in the back row, is the vice president for the Western region. Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, in the white jacket, is the new president. (SOS photo)
The executive board of the National Association of Secretaries of State poses for its first group shot, at the NASS conference in Nashville this month. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, left, is vice president for the Western region. Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, in the white jacket, is the new president. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has been elected to serve on the executive committee of the National Secretaries of State.

Williams took over as the western region vice president at NASS’s summer conference this month in Nashville. At the same time, Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill became president of the association, the nation’s oldest nonpartisan professional organization for state officials. Her term ends next July.

Colorado's Judd Choate at the National Association of State Elections Directors meeting in Nashville this month.
Colorado’s Judd Choate at the National Association of State Election Directors’ meeting in Nashville this month.

“Secretaries of State ensure that our nation’s voters and businesses can easily participate in our political process and our economy,” Williams said. ” As a new secretary of state, I’m honored to serve as vice president and I look forward to continuing to share Colorado’s ideas with my colleagues and to continue to learn from them.”

Williams wasn’t the only Colorado secretary of state staffer taking the oath of office in Nashville.

Deanna Maiolo was elected secretary-treasurer of the Administrative Codes and Registers, or ACR, which is a section of NASS.

And Judd Choate, state elections director for Colorado, is president-elect of the National Association of State Election Directors, or NASED. He oversaw the NASED meeting in Nashville because the president, from New York, was unable to attend.

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