Colorado Common Cause honors democracy champions

Colorado Common Cause held its Champions for Democracy lunch today in Denver, attracting members and others interested in Colorado civics. From left to right, attorney Scott Martinez, Amber McReynolds, executive director of National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition, Roy Wardell, who joined the national Common Cause organization when it was founded in 1970, and Amanda Gonzalez, the executive director of Colorado Common Cause. (SOS photo)

A 77-year-old man who was a charter member of Common Cause when it formed in 1970 became emotional today when he was honored by the Colorado chapter of the grassroots organization.

Roy Wardell, who now lives in Platteville, was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in 1970 when he saw an ad in the Capital Times about being a “member of the people’s lobby.” And so he signed up.

Since then, Wardell has served on the board of Common Cause in Minnesota and in Colorado, starting in 2009 through the beginning of this year.

“I am so proud of what Common Cause does,” Wardell said, when he gained his composure. “Don’t miss a chance to support the kind of work Common Cause does.”

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Colorado, the “Burger King of elections”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to Coloradans 50 and older about elections and other issues. He and Elena Nunez, the director of Common Cause, addressed an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class on Tuesday. (SOS photo)

Colorado is “kind of the Burger King of elections,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams told a class Tuesday during a talk with seniors learning about government.

Williams and Elena Nunez, executive director of Common Cause Colorado, spoke to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a program through the University of Denver that provides adult learning for men and women age 50 and “better.”

Williams explained that Colorado is the only state that offers a mail-ballot system, early voting and polling-place locations two weeks before an election.

“So it’s kind of the Burger King of elections, right?” he said. “Having it your way, however you want to do it.”

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Secretary Williams seeking input on primary election measure

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is seeking input from county clerks about a measure voters approved last year that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without having to declare membership as a Republican or a Democrat.

Peter Severson, Secretary Wayne Williams and Elena Nunez after the Colorado Social Legislation Committee meeting Jan. 30. Severson is director of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry and the chair of the CSLC, and Elena Nunez, is executive director of Common Cause and secretary of the CSLC. (SOS photo)

Proposition 108 will go into -ffect before the June 2018 primary election where Coloradans will select nominees for governor, secretary of state and other races. Williams and clerks want answers now on how the measure might work.

“You might be saying, ‘Why is there a rush because it’s a year later that you have to deal with it?'” Williams said when he addressed the Colorado Social Legislation Committee at its Jan. 30 meeting.

He explained the measure means additional costs for county clerks, who must present budget requests to their county commissioners after the start of the fiscal year on July 1. The new method will require more judges and more ballots.

Other groups also have asked Williams to speak on the measure and its companion, Proposition 107, which creates a presidential primary. Williams will discuss the measures at Leadership Jefferson County, which will meet at the Capitol on March. 8.

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