Secretary of State Wayne Williams today joined other election officials and talked about Colorado’s registration statistics, its risk-limiting audits, and voter confidence. He opened by wishing the room a “Happy Rocktober,” a shout-out the Rockies for their historic win against the Chicago Cubs last night.
“There are really two goals in an elections process,” Williams said. “One is to run it fairly and accurately, and the other, and just as important in many ways, is for the people to recognize that it has been done fairly and accurately.”
He was joined by West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County, Ohio, board of elections, Paul Lux, supervisor of elections for Okaloosa County, Fla., and the panel moderator, EAC Vice Chair Christy McCormick.
How do you come up with costumes when the theme of your conference is the nebulous “change?”
Well, the Pitkin County clerk and recorder’s office focused on the changing seasons in one of the most picturesque locales in Colorado. For that effort, Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill and her staff Thursday night won a costume contest at the Colorado County Clerks Association’s winter conference.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined the Pitkin staff in modeling hats based on the five seasons.
Yes, five. Williams wore the hat for “mud” season, you know, “the window of time between when the ski resorts close and when the summer activities pick up again.” With melting snow, there’s lots of mud.
There even was a brief wardrobe malfunction. The string on Williams’ hat broke before the contest started, and Vos Caudill enlisted a project manager with the Colorado Department of Revenue to fix it.
“I told Wayne’s wife (Holly), ‘I hope you don’t mind us dragging him through the mud — season,'” Vos Caudill said. “Wayne was so much fun.”
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.”
Colorado’s state elections director, Judd Choate, was sworn in Thursday night as president of the National Association of State Election Directors.
When administering the oath, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talked about Choate’s unrelenting commitment to his beloved University of Kansas basketball team. Williams assured onlookers that Choate would apply that same passion toward his leadership of the organization and its goal for elections excellence.
“Thanks to the leadership of Secretary Williams and Judd Choate, Colorado is a national leader in elections,” Masterson said. “As president of the State Election Directors, Judd will have a platform to lead and share the great work done in Colorado.”
The organization, referred to as Nass-ed, holds its winter conference in Washington, D.C., at the same time the National Association of Secretaries of State meets.
“Election directors can adopt policies to increase voter turnout,” Choate said. “I hope to use my year as president to encourage the adoption of these policies.”