“A large swath of the U.S. viewed the totality of the solar eclipse last year, and here at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, our accomplishments in 2017 eclipsed all previous years,” Johnson said in news release issued today.
“With the incredible growth in Denver, we’ve seized opportunities to lead the way in elections, records preservation, marriages and bringing our services directly to you.”
Two Colorado counties — Denver and El Paso — recently received awards for some of the best practices in election administration nationwide.
The annual “Clearie” awards recognize outstanding innovations in election administration that can serve as examples for other officials and jurisdictions to emulate.
This year’s award categories celebrate excellence in election innovations, voting accessibility and recruiting, training and retaining election workers, according to the Election Assistance Commission’s website.
Denver County Clerk Deb Johnson received the award for “Outstanding Innovations in Election Administration” for the launch of eSign, the first-in-the-nation mobile petition signing application, which interfaces with a voter database and keeps a running tally of signatures.
El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman received the award for “Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities” for its partnership with the Independence Center to host an open house for voters with disabilities to practice on accessible voting machines, provide etiquette training to over 200 election judges, and use a highly accessible center as a voter service and polling center.
“Once again, Colorado’s election officials are being recognized for their outstanding and innovative efforts when it comes to elections,” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said. “I’m proud of them.”
Prior to the development of eSign, Denver candidates had to collect signatures on paper petitions, turn them into the Denver Elections Division and wait for them to be verified. Historically, 30-35 percent of those signatures were invalid, compared to just 1-3 percent of signatures collected using eSign.
“We are truly honored to receive the Clearie Award from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for our continued commitment to innovation,” said Amber McReynolds, director of elections for the City and County of Denver. “We continue to find new and creative ways to make elections processes more convenient for our customers and are grateful to the EAC for this recognition.”
Members of a much-ballyhooed project from Harvard’s Belfer Center that is aimed at helping election administrators and others protect democratic processes from cyber and information attacks were in Denver Friday to soak up Colorado’s elections process.
Election officials from as far away as La Plata and Mesa counties participated.
“The visit was phenomenal for all of us,” said Jen Nam, an Army reservist with expertise in intelligence. “It was an eye-opening experience for how advanced and complex the elections process can be.”
Mail ballots for the 2017 coordinated election were sent out on Oct. 16. Ballots must be received by Nov. 7. To update your registration, view your sample ballot, check your mail ballot status, or find an in person voting location or ballot drop off location, please visit www.govotecolorado.com.
The Denver School of Science and Technology Green Valley Ranch has registered 85 percent of the senior class to vote, making it the first public school in Denver to earn the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.
The award is named after Eliza Pickrell Routt, wife of Colorado’s first governor, John Long Routt, after whom Routt County is named. She was the first woman to register to vote in Colorado.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams told a story he often tells to groups of young people. His high school in Virginia didn’t have a graduating class in 1959 because the town leaders closed the school rather than follow orders to integrate it.
“I didn’t like that kind of leadership so I got involved and as a high school student,” Williams said.
“I organized about 70 kids to work the polls on election day and stand outside the limit and hand out literature to everyone that came and voted and we changed the leadership in that county for the first time in years.”
Marjorie Tabora, a senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch, who registered the 2017 class and much of the 2018 class, also spoke to her peers about the importance of making your voice heard.
“I know with the current events that happen a lot of you guys are concerned,” she said. “Something to always remember is that voting is the first step and your vote does count and it does matter.”
Secretary Williams reiterated the importance of her message, noting that when he was El Paso county clerk and recorder two school board races that were decided by one vote.
(Main picture, back row, left to right, Secretary Williams, Bradley West, DSST internship coordinator, Ryan Drysdale, Inspire Colorado program coordinator, John Zeerak, senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch high school, and Alton Dillard, communications director for Denver Elections. Front row, left to right, Front left, Marjorie Tabora, senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch high school and Donalyn White, Inspire Colorado program. coordinator.)