Polly Baca, the legendary Latina

Sitting on the side of the Colorado House before it convened Wednesday morning are former lawmaker Polly Baca and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who are involved in a lawsuit over the electoral process. With them are former House Speaker Ruben Valdez and Teresa Duran, mother of the current speaker, Crisanta Duran of Denver. The speaker said her mother is “as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.” (SOS photo)

Former lawmaker Polly Baca, a legend in state and national Democratic politics, delivered the prayer in the Colorado House on opening day Wednesday, 40 years after she began her fourth and final year in the House.

Baca took a break from writing her memoirs to stop by the House chambers. Some of what will be in her book:

She served as the national director for Viva Kennedy in 1968, and was at the California hotel with Bobby Kennedy when the presidential candidate was assassinated.

While serving as the special assistant to the DNC chair she often worked really late. One night in May 1972 she thought she heard something but  didn’t see anyone in the hallway when she checked. She left about 3:30 a.m. and learned later that morning someone had broken into the Watergate.

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Harvard’s “D3P” group checks out Colorado’s elections

A Harvard group exploring elections and security issues toured the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and Denver Elections on Friday. Defending Digital Democracy, an initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center project, aims to deliver a publicly available resource that provides solutions and best practices to help close or mitigate digital security gaps.

Members of a much-ballyhooed project from Harvard’s Belfer Center that is aimed at helping election administrators and others protect democratic processes from cyber and information attacks were in Denver Friday to soak up Colorado’s elections process.

Election officials from as far away as La Plata and Mesa counties participated.

“The visit was phenomenal for all of us,” said Jen Nam, an Army reservist with  expertise in intelligence. “It was an eye-opening experience for how advanced and complex the elections process can be.”

Nam’s a student at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which in July launched the “Defending Digital Democracy” Project. The initiative received plenty of attention because it is co-led led by the former campaign managers for Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney, Robby Mook and Matt Rhoades respectively, along with experts from the national security and technology communities.

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Snap judgment all wrong: He’s no leftie

Steve Barlock has been called many things in his life but he has never been labeled left wing — until now.

The 44-year-old Denver resident was part of a large crowd that gathered at the Colorado Capitol Monday amid widespread speculation that some of the nine Democratic electors would try to revolt. Instead of voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton as required because she won Colorado, they wanted to throw their vote so that someone besides Donald Trump would win the presidency.

As a former reporter, I worked out of the Capitol off and on since 2000 and I was stunned at the size of the crowd in the rotunda. I posted a picture it on Twitter, saying, “This is an unbelievable scene. At the Capitol waiting for the elector vote.”

“Angry Left Wing Extremists,” one person wrote on Twitter.

Except that Barlock, the guy with the flag scarf in the picture, is no leftie. Barlock served as co-chairman of Denver County’s Donald Trump campaign and he also was a Republican elector — meaning if Trump had won Colorado instead of Clinton, Barlock would have been a participant instead of a spectator Monday.

He appeared in numerous TV shots of the event.

As it turned out, only one elector refused to vote for Clinton and he was replaced by a Democrat waiting in the wings.

“I was hoping with this crazy stuff that they’d run out of people and I’d say, ‘I’m willing to vote for Hillary Clinton,’ because I wanted to make sure Donald Trump became president,” Barlock said.

He took grief from some people in the mostly pro-Clinton, anti-Trump crowd because the part of the scarf behind his neck said “Trump.” Two people called him “bigot.” He said he wasn’t fazed because “I was happy to watch the shock and awe as the crowd realized nothing was going to happen.”

The other Republican electors not called up for duty were: GOP chairman Steve House; former U.S. Senate candidate Pete Coors; former U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha, who was a Colorado co-chair for Trump; Jim O’Dell of Brighton; Laurel Imer of Wheat Ridge; Charlie McNeil of Greenwood Village; Bill Cagle of Greenwood Village; and Eileen Milzcik of Littleton.

Voters did come home for Donald Trump

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

I sat down at the bar at Maggiano’s the other day, opened up the Oct. 25th edition of The Denver Post and read how Democrat Hillary Clinton had all but won the presidential race.

By that time, Nov. 8 had already passed and Republican Donald Trump had shocked plenty of people in his own party as well as Democrats when he coasted to victory.

Some background is necessary: If I don’t get around to reading the newspaper, I throw it in my trunk and then grab one if I am at some event and know I’m early. Such was the case recently when I randomly grabbed a Post from the car.

One story was about how vice presidential candidate Mike Pence was imploring fellow Republicans “still wary of Donald Trump ‘it’s time to come home.” The article said, “Pence is promoting the idea that he and Trump can still win a race that some pundits say is becoming a foregone conclusion.”

Another article said that young white voters are “shifting toward” Clinton in the closing stretch of the presidential race.

And then there was the story about how the Trump team was publicly and privately saying crucial Pennsylvania may be slipping away to Clinton, although Trump blasted “phony” polls and said, “I believe we’re actually winning.”  BTW, Trump carried Pennsylvania, with 48.2 percent compared to Clinton’s 47.5 percent.

I don’t know what my reaction had been if I had actually read these stories on Oct. 25 — none were written by Post staffers, but were from wire outlets — but reading them after the election was like having a cup of cold water thrown in my face. Talk about getting it all wrong.

Secretary Wayne Williams doesn’t hold back on elector lawsuit

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has ripped two electors who are suing the state over a law that says they must support Colorado's presidential winner, who was Hillary Clinton. (Carol Lawrence, The Gazette/Special to the SOS)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (Carol Lawrence, The Gazette/Special to the SOS)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has a reputation for being pretty unflappable and low key, which is why his blistering response to two Colorado electors suing the state has attracted such attention.

Evil. Odious. Faithless. Arrogant.

Those were some of the words Williams used in response to the lawsuit challenging a state law that requires the  electors to vote for the presidential winner in Colorado, which in this case was Hillary Clinton.

The lawsuit is part of a longshot effort try to block Republican Donald Trump from officially winning the presidency when the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19.

Williams was the El Paso County clerk and recorder when flames came down the mountain toward his Colorado Springs office the night of the 2012 primary.

Williams is fired up that four of the nine Colorado electors have indicated they want to team up with other electors nationwide to vote for another candidate for president.

“Instead of honoring the will of the Coloradans who voted for them,” Williams responded, “these two faithless electors seek to conspire with electors from other states to elect a president who did not receive a single vote in November.”

Williams took heat on social media for his stance.

Here is Williams’ full statement:

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