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.)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his deputy, Suzanne Staiert, made media appearances as part of NVRD and some election offices, such as Arapahoe, El Paso and Denver counties, hosted registration events.
In all, 953 people registered to vote in Colorado on Sept. 26, according to Secretary of State data released Monday. Of that, 454 registered as unaffiliated, 285 as Democrat, 190 as Republican and the rest were third-party members. The five top counties with the most registrants were:
El Paso: 139
In addition, Boulder County registered 63 people and Adams and Douglas counties each registered 61.
The National Association of Secretaries of State in 2012 designated September as National Voter Registration Month with the fourth Tuesday in September set as National Voter Registration Day to encourage voter participation and increase awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.
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.