Williams returns to Saguache County

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Saguache County Clerk's office, with Clerk Carla Gomez and staffers Jane Whitten and Trish Gilbert. (SOS photo/Chris Johnson)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Saguache County Clerk’s office, with Clerk Carla Gomez and staffers Jane Whitten and Trish Gilbert. (SOS photo/Chris Johnson)

What do you do when your experienced elections director resigns in July and you need lots of help for November?

If you’re Saguache County Clerk Carla Gomez you rely heavily on the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

Gomez repeatedly praised the SOS elections staff when Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his administrative assistant, Chris Johnson, visited her and her three staffers Friday in Saguache.

“We were very glad to see him in this remote location, especially that he would visit during the busy election season,” she said.

Read moreWilliams returns to Saguache County

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

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

County clerks make their pitch on what voting system Colorado should select

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell prior to a meeting Friday about new voting equipment.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell in his office in Denver prior to a meeting Friday about new voting equipment.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams today thanked the eight counties that served as “guinea pigs” and tested new equipment in the Nov. 3 election — equipment the state is considering selecting before the 2016 presidential election.

“I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to a lot of folks because this has not been an easy project,” Williams said.

He noted that when he was El Paso clerk and recorder, he and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson served on a committee that looked at moving the state to a universal voting system. When Williams took office in January, he established the Pilot Election Review Committee to look at the issue. The pilot program, he said, was part of a”common sense approach of trying it before buying it.

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner and Denver County Clerk Deb Johnson tested voting machines from Dominion.
Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner and Denver County Clerk Deb Johnson tested voting machines from Dominion.

“I wanted to say thank you to … all the clerks and their staffs who said, ‘Yes, we will be guinea pigs.’ And it was not an easy thing to say, ‘We’re running an election and we’re going to try out completely new stuff  and we’re going to have all these people watching us,'” Williams said.

“It’s important fiscally for the counties that have to make these purchases that we make good selections. (The machines) don’t just serve us today, but serve us in the future as well.”

He also thanked his staff and members of the  Pilot Election Review Committee prior to presentations from county clerks and  their staffs. The county workers all made a pitch for the committee to recommend to the secretary to select the equipment they tested during the election, although they also discussed weakness they spotted and features that need to be improved.

Read moreCounty clerks make their pitch on what voting system Colorado should select