A soldier’s story: Colorado leads when it comes to military voting

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Army Major Eric Lintelmann at Colorado Springs’ Armed Forces lunch on May 17.

You can’t blame Secretary of State Wayne Williams for beaming when a solider at an Armed Forces lunch praised Colorado’s process for overseas and military voters.

And then  Army Major Eric Lintelmann followed up with an e-mail to the state’s top election official.

“Sir,” the soldier began.  “As a native Coloradan, I am extremely proud of our state’s voting process.”

Lintelmann explained that when he was stationed in Iraq in 2016 mail was taking anywhere from one to three months to arrive.  At the time, he was the voting assistance officer.

“I had voters from Mississippi, Illinois, California, Texas, and mostly Colorado,” he wrote. “The people from the non Colorado states had much more trouble getting help voting … However, all Colorado voters who wanted to vote were able to vote. I had soldiers from Teller, El Paso, Douglas, Elbert and Denver counties.”

With Memorial Day just around the corner, when America honors those who died in active military service, it’s important to note that Colorado has 8,086 military voters. Nearly one-third are registered to vote in El Paso County, home to five military installations, including Peterson Air Force Base, where Lintelmann is stationed.

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Secretary Williams says SOS will help clerks pay for 24-hour ballot boxes

Secretary of State Wayne Williams announces the state will help pay for 24-hour election drop boxes. Williams attended the Colorado County Clerks Association this week. (Julia Sunny)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams announces the state will help pay for 24-hour election drop boxes. Williams attended the Colorado County Clerks Association this week. (Julia Sunny)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams told county clerks this week that the state will help pay for ballot drop boxes to make it easier for their residents to vote.

The boxes allow voters to drop off their ballots 24 hours a day, including after hours and at locations other than just the clerks’ offices. Elbert County, for example, has a box inside the local Walmart.

“We really don’t want to be in a situation where somebody doesn’t get their vote counted because they didn’t have access to a ballot drop box and they weren’t able to drop by the time period that you’re open during business hours,” Williams said.

He also advised  election officials attending the Colorado County Clerks Association summer conference this week in the metro area to be ready for a deluge of last-minute voters Nov. 8. Williams pointed to presidential primaries in Maricopa County, Arizona, and New Hampshire, where the volume of voters overwhelmed election officials.

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Secretary Wayne Williams to honor election-training veterans

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Archuelta County Clerk June Madrid.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Archuelta County Clerk June Madrid during a visit in March. Madrid is one of 48 clerks and election staffers who began election training a decade ago and will be recognized next week.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office this year celebrated its 10th anniversary of training election officials to ensure uniformity in administering elections and interpreting laws and rules.

To commemorate the occasion, the 48 people who completed their certification that year and still maintain their status and work in elections will be recognized next week at the Colorado County Clerks Association summer meeting. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams will present 10-year pins to the recipients.

The Colorado Election Official Certification program began shortly after the passage of the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA. Then-Secretary of State Donetta Davidson recognized the need for better training and education of Colorado election officials.

“Our program keeps getting better,” SOS Deputy Elections Director Hilary Rudy said. “We’ve really upped the bar to make it a good, effective, professional program. And that’s largely from the feedback we’ve received over the years from the clerks and their staffs who attend the training.”

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