Colorado Secretary of State staffers serve up chicken, cheer at Ronald McDonald House

Colorado Secretary of State staffers served up a hot meal to residents at the Ronald McDonald House in Denver. From left to right: Ben Schler, Kathryn Mikeworth, Kyle Dostart, Hilary Rudy and Minerva Padron.
Colorado Secretary of State staffers served up a hot meal to residents at the Ronald McDonald House in Denver. From left to right: Ben Schler, Kathryn Mikeworth, Kyle Dostart, Hilary Rudy and Minerva Padron.

By Keara Brosnan

Colorado’s Secretary of State’s office employees trekked through the snow Sunday to serve an evening meal for residents at the Ronald McDonald House in Denver.

“They thought with the weather we might change our plans, but they were so appreciative that we didn’t,” said Hilary Rudy, deputy director of elections. “It was a lot of fun and well worth it.”

Rudy and her colleagues bought chicken, mashed potatoes, salad and cookies with money from the office’s Employee Relations Committee. She estimated they served around 55 people.

Colorado Secretary of State staffers Kyle Dostart and Ben Schler have some fun while getting a meal ready for residents at the Ronald McDonald House in Denver.
Colorado Secretary of State staffers Kyle Dostart and Ben Schler have some fun while getting a meal ready for residents at the Ronald McDonald House in Denver.

“What we learned was to buy more chicken than you think you need and then double that,” Rudy said with a laugh.

Rudy had heard about the volunteer opportunity through a friend and noted that it was easy to sign up online through the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver website.

“It was great,” staffer Ben Schler said. “It was fun. I’d do it again.”

Holly Sullivan, one of the two house managers at the Ronald McDonald House of Denver, said a wide variety of groups volunteer to provide families with a warm dinner. Sometimes families cook for the residents and other times it’s members of Greek life, sports teams or clubs.

Families nationwide stay at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver while their children receive treatment at local hospitals.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of our community,” Holly Sullivan said. “Families spend so much time at the hospital and maybe they snack at the hospital, but they come back to our facility and to eat a home-cooked meal is special.

“It’s a special time where families get to meet other families and know that they are not isolated.”

Keara Brosnan is a University of Denver student interning with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

Voter registration group mails form to a dead poodle in Cortez

voterA voter registration group has sent letters to dead people, dead pets and even non-citizens and children as part of  its voter registration drive,  an effort that has resulted in some angry and unusual letters to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

“There is no one by that name at this address and I have lived here since 1981. This must be your mistake.”

“I am David and I am only 14 years old.”

“I apologize for having my daughter-in-law write this letter for me, but unfortunately for me I DIED Feb. 15, 2003 …  I’m flattered that someone still remembers my name, but I would have assumed that someone would have notified your office of my death before now.  Hope this clarifies any confusion because I sure wouldn’t want anyone voting falsely and using my name. I have always been an upstanding citizen and took my voting rights as a privilege.”

The registration drive was organized by the Voter Participation Center, a national group with a Denver office on Larimer Street. But the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is taking the heat for the faulty names and addresses because the VPC includes in its letter a voter registration form to be filled out and mailed to the SOS office at 1700 Broadway in Denver.

Jennifer Carrier, an attorney for the Voter Participation Project, said her group matches data to the Social Security Administration’s “death master file,” as well as using “groundbreaking direct mail techniques to foster registration and voting by under-represented populations in the American electorate.”

“Overall, every so often, even using these best practices,” she stated, “a mailing is sent to someone that should not receive one.”

“Dear (name),” the letter begins.  “According to our records, you reside in (name) County and are not currently registered to vote.”

Read moreVoter registration group mails form to a dead poodle in Cortez