Nov. 6 went “extraordinarily well” — from an election official’s standpoint

Look, it’s election staffers at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and man did they do a great job this year! From left to right, deputy elections director Hilary Rudy, elections director Judd Choate and Kris Reynolds with campaign finance. (SOS photo)

The two top election staffers in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office praised colleagues Wednesday for their behind-the-scenes work that led to the successful general election on Tuesday.

“We ran a really fantastic election yesterday,” elections director Judd Choate said to those assembled outside his office.

Among the Colorado Secretary of State staffers listening to a speech about how well Tuesday’s election went were, in the foreground, Joel Albin and Jeff Mustin, behind him, with ballot access, and Steve Ward on the phone talking to voters calling in with questions. (SOS photo)

In fact, the bipartisan attorneys who hang out in the Secretary of State’s office on election day handling reports from their folks in the field conceded the day was a bit boring.

That was  just fine with Choate and his deputy director, Hilary Rudy.

“We had a great election, a secure election,” Choate said.

“One of the things about working in elections is you get notoriety or publicity when things go badly. That’s when people pay attention to elections. They don’t really think about the people behind the curtain,” he said. “I just want you all to know that we appreciate you and I think all of the citizens of Colorado appreciate all of your work.”

Read moreNov. 6 went “extraordinarily well” — from an election official’s standpoint

Colorado celebrates 125 years of women getting the right to vote

Women in Colorado campaign for the passage of the 19th amendment. ( The Autry Museum photo)

On Nov.  7th, the day after this year’s general election, Colorado will celebrate 125 years of women getting the right to vote.

The Atlas Obscura Society Denver will host a celebration event tonight at the historic Evans School. Activities include an interactive presentation by HistoriCity and a speech by Amber McReynolds, the executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute.

After two failed attempts, the women’s suffrage movement won voting rights for women by a state referendum in 1893. The amendment was drafted by J. Warner Mills, a Denver lawyer, and sponsored by state Rep. J.T. Heath of Montrose County. “The opposition saloonkeepers and brewers, who feared women voters would crack down on liquor, were not taking the suffrage campaign seriously and mounted little opposition,” according to an Internet article on the vote.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams sits with students at Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver one year ago before presenting seniors with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award for voter registration. (SOS photo)

Colorado became the second state to enfranchise women behind Wyoming, paving the way for the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.

One of the leaders in the suffrage movement was Eliza Pickrell Routt, the wife of Colorado’s first governor, John Routt.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has honored the former first lady and her contributions to women’s suffrage by naming an award after her. It goes to high schools where 85 percent or more of the senior class has registered to vote.

“When women got the right to, she was the first one to register,” he said.

Read moreColorado celebrates 125 years of women getting the right to vote

A roll of the dice and off goes Colorado to audit elections in a new way

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams explains what’s next after multi-colored 10-sided dice were used Friday to establish a “seed” to randomly select ballots for each county to audit. (SOS photo/Judd Choate)

A process to audit Colorado’s elections in a different manner drew national attention Friday when participants at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office plucked names from Rockies and Broncos baseball caps to see who would roll 20 colored 10-sided dice. The numbers were used to come up with a “seed” to randomly select ballots from the Nov. 7 election for the counties to audit.

From left, U.S. Election Assistance Commission chairman  Matt Masterson, Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane and Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall wait for dice to be rolled, the first step in randomly selecting ballots for each county to audit during the RLA. (SOS photo)

The light-hearted ceremony kicked off work that began in 2009 when the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation requiring every county after every election to create a risk-limiting audit, a procedure that provides strong statistical evidence that the election outcome is right and has a high probability of correcting a wrong outcome.

“It was an incredibly successful first effort,” said the Secretary of State’s Dwight Shellman, the county support manager.  “I’m really proud of our team and of all the county clerks. We are already in the process of working with the clerks and interested stakeholders to collect lessons learned to make the process even better in the future.”

The Secretary of State’s office will release a report Monday on the first steps of the audit.

Read moreA roll of the dice and off goes Colorado to audit elections in a new way

Bring on the “Hot Sauce” for another year of state league co-ed softball

It’s been another great year for the Colorado Secretary of State’s co-ed softball team, Hot S.O.S. Front row, left to right: player and manager Hilary Rudy, Tiffany Long and Terri Long. Middle row: Nick Severn with the Department of Personnel and Administration, Kim Taylor, Brad Lang, Caleb Thornton and Kelsey Klaus, with her son AJ in the carrier. Back row: Robb Madison, Kyle Dostart, Kris Reynolds and Alex Klaus, husband of Kelsey. (Photo by Meg Lang)

By Lizzie Stephani

The Colorado Secretary of State’s co-ed softball team didn’t win any league trophies this year, but took home something more important: a reputation for being nice and fun.

The team is named Hot S.O.S., which is pronounced “Hot Sauce.” Its goal is to have a good time, said Coach Hilary Rudy, the deputy elections director.

Hot S.O.S. participates in the state’s co-ed softball league, which has been around since the 1960s.

The 14 teams are comprised of employees across various state agencies, such as the Department of Education and the  Department of Natural Resources. In line with the league’s laid-back nature, each team came up with its own creative name. The Legislative Council’s team is Capitol Offense while History of Colorado is Relics.

Read moreBring on the “Hot Sauce” for another year of state league co-ed softball

Secretary Williams talks to clerks about voter fraud

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Wednesday address county clerks on the state’s eastern edge, who were meeting in Sterling for training. (SOS photo)

Check out staffer Julia Sunny’s video on the visit with county clerks from the eastern regional. As Kiowa County Clerk Delisa Weeks says, “We’re small, but we’re fun.” YouTube video.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addressed the issue of voter fraud when he spoke to county clerks on the Eastern Plains Wednesday, warning them that in the coming months his office could be asking about certain constituents suspected of voting twice in the 2016 election.

“Some of you are aware there were accusations that there was rampant fraud in the elections. Some said there was no fraud,” Williams said. “The answer is somewhere in between.”

Colorado is part of a national months-long check of voter histories that flags the names of voters who appeared to have voted more than once.

“I anticipate there will be some people in Colorado who voted in multiple states. There are not tens of thousands of them. It did not change the result of the election,” Williams said.

“But there are elections that decided by a single vote. I presided over those elections as a county clerk. So we care about that issue. The message from us isn’t that vote fraud never occurs, but we make it difficult to occur and we help prosecute people when we find out about it.”

Read moreSecretary Williams talks to clerks about voter fraud