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.”

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Colorado’s 64 county clerks, “out there on the front lines”

Colorado Secretary Wayne Williams, third from left in the back row, and county clerks who attended a regional meeting this week in Cañon City. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told county clerks at a regional gathering this week that his office is reviewing how to implement voter-approved ballot measures, including one that changes signature gathering for ballot proposals.

Amendment 71 requires that any new constitutional amendment pass with 55 percent of the vote instead of a simple majority. In addition, a percentage of the signatures to put the measure on the ballot must be gathered in all 35 Senate districts, which will change how the state reviews petitions to determine whether backers collected enough valid voter signatures.

Williams addressed a variety of topics, from early-voting requirements to ballot drop boxes, when he spoke Wednesday to clerks from the state’s southern region at their conference in Cañon City.

“Our job is to help you and to help the voters,” Williams told the clerks. “You’re the ones out there on the front lines.”

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Plain or à la mode, it’s another fun day at the Secretary of State’s office


The Colorado Secretary of State’s video on pie/pi.

Cherry. Apple. Pumpkin. Pecan. Banana cream. Secretary of State employees rattled off names of their favorite pies on Tuesday, national Pi Day, held on March 14 because the date 3-14 contains the first three first digits in Pi.

Julia Sunny, the social medial coordinator for the Colorado Secretary of State. (SOS photo)

Of course, Secretary of State Wayne Williams could rattle off the Pi forumula with ease — he was a Truman Scholar after all. But others struggled, as documented in the first video by the office’s new social media coordinator, Julia Sunny.

After his 15 minutes of fame, Williams dined on apple pie and cheesecake, provided by the office’s Employee Relations Committee.

“Our Employee Relations Committee does a great job of putting together activities to help make this a good place to work,” Williams said.

“They’re providing pie for all the employees today so I look forward to visiting with my colleagues and enjoying some good-tasting pie.”

Deputy Elections Director Hilary Rudy and Chief of Staff Gary Zimmerman both liked their grandmothers’ pies. Ben Schler, the legal and internal operations manager for the elections division, likes his crust made with lots of butter. Schler and HR technician Wyatt Ryder prefer cheesecake over pie.

If you like pecan pie, you might want to skip my reference to it.

The happiest guy at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office

Deputy elections director Hilary Rudy with staffer Ben Stuart last week. He wore the coat to work most of last week. (SOS photo)

Meet Ben Stuart, who wore his New England Patriots suit jacket to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office four out of five days last week. On Friday, he wore his Tom Brady jersey.

The same Ben Stuart who had arranged for a day off on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl game between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. Win or lose, he knew he would need that day to, shall we say, recover.

So, why the Patriots? Well, Stuart grew up in Maine and attended college in Massachusetts before moving to Colorado about seven years ago. He works in the elections division for the SoS.

The 27-year-old worried when the Patriots fell behind 28-3 halfway during the third quarter.

“But I was running around telling my friends, hold on, Tom Brady’s done this before, including against Denver,” Stuart said, referring to the 2013 matchup where the Patriots were down 24-0 but ended up beating the Broncos 34-31.

Stuart’s belief in Brady & Belichick paid off. As the Boston Globe put it, the Patriots “staged the most incredible and improbable comeback in history of America’s game, beating the Falcons, 34-28, in overtime.”

“It was amazing,” Stuart said.

That’s actually how most folks in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office felt after last year’s Super Bowl, when the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl 50.

Our own Hilary Rudy, Class of 2016

Hilary Rudy, deputy director of elections for the Colorado Secretary of State, speaks to county clerks at their summer conference earlier this year. At her side is Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell. (SOS photo)
Hilary Rudy, deputy director of elections for the Colorado Secretary of State, speaks to county clerks at their summer conference earlier this month. At her side is Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s deputy elections director, Hilary Rudy, will be honored Friday as one of the top designated election officials in the country.

She will be be known as a “certified elections/registration administrator” or CERA.

That sounds bureaucratese but just think of it as the elections version of getting “made.” But in this case, the ranking comes only after lots of study by the Colorado Secretary of State staffer.

Rudy will receive the designation at a ceremony in Philadelphia Friday.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams  dealt with Rudy in 2011 when he became El Paso County clerk and recorder. He was sworn in as secretary of state in 2015.

“When I had tough questions about specific issues, she was always the one I called,” he said. “I’m glad she continues to provide excellent support for our 64 counties. Colorado clerks across the state look to Hilary Rudy for guidance.”

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