DSST Green Valley Ranch receives recognition for voter registration

The Denver School of Science and Technology Green Valley Ranch received an award today from Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back row, left, for its efforts to encourage voter registration.  (SOS photo)

The Denver School of Science and Technology Green Valley Ranch has registered 85 percent of the senior class to vote, making it the first public school in Denver to earn the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.

The award is named after Eliza Pickrell Routt, wife of Colorado’s first governor, John Long Routt, after whom Routt County is named. She was the first woman to register to vote in Colorado.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams told a story he often tells to groups of young people. His high school in Virginia didn’t have a graduating class in 1959 because the town leaders closed the school rather than follow orders to integrate it.

Secretary Williams with the Inspired high school leaders at DSST Green Valley Ranch, John Zeerak and Marjorie Tabora, who are  surrounded by their classmates. (SOS photo)

“I didn’t like that kind of leadership so I got involved and as a high school student,” Williams said.

“I organized about 70 kids to work the polls on election day and stand outside the limit and hand out literature to everyone that came and voted and we changed the leadership in that county for the first time in years.”

Marjorie Tabora, a senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch, who registered the 2017 class and much of the 2018 class, also spoke to her peers about the importance of making your voice heard.

“I know with the current events that happen a lot of you guys are concerned,” she said. “Something to always remember is that voting is the first step and your vote does count and it does matter.”

Secretary Williams reiterated the importance of her message, noting that when he was El Paso county clerk and recorder two school board races that were decided by one vote.

Last year, Yuma High School and Eaglecrest High School received the inaugural Routt awards. This year, Eads and Kit Carson high schools on the eastern plains, Peak to Peak charter school in Lafayette, and Ouray High School have received the awards.

(Main picture, back row, left to right, Secretary Williams, Bradley West, DSST internship coordinator, Ryan Drysdale, Inspire Colorado program coordinator, John Zeerak, senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch high school, and Alton Dillard, communications director for Denver Elections. Front row, left to right, Front left, Marjorie Tabora, senior at DSST Green Valley Ranch high school and Donalyn White, Inspire Colorado program. coordinator.)

 

 

Inspired by Inspire Colorado

DSST Cole High School students pose with their Inspire Colorado gear Tuesday for National Voter Registration Day.

Engaging Colorado youth in the elections process is the core focus of Inspire Colorado, and the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is proud to partner with the group.

As part of National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, Colorado elections director Judd Choate spoke to students at an Inspire Colorado event at DSST Cole High School. He talked about the importance of registering to vote, ballot issues, preregistration and mail ballots.

“Inspire Colorado is much more about being involved than it is about winners and losers,” said Choate.

Two Cole students made a schoolwide effort in getting their peers registered by working with Inspire and the Secretary of State’s office. In an effort to boost their school’s percentage of registered voters, voter registration forms and NVRD stickers were handed out Tuesday.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams has encouraged young Coloradans to vote by presenting the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to high schools that have 85 percent or more of the seniors preregistered or registered to vote.

Secretary Williams to present award to Ouray High School

Evan Vann, a junior at Ouray High School, helped his school receive an award for voter registration.

When Evan Vann approached his fellow students at Ouray High School and asked if they wanted to preregister to vote, he got some lukewarm receptions.

“A few them said they really had no interest,” Vann recalled. “One of them told me, ‘I really don’t plan on voting — ever.'”

But Evan persisted, which is why Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Saturday will present the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to Ouray High School for its outstanding voter registration efforts. The award is given to schools where more than 85 percent of eligible seniors are registered to vote.

The presentation will be made at Ouray’s senior high school banquet. Vann, a junior, will be present.

Colorado is one of 11 states that allows residents as young as 16 to preregister to vote. The group Inspire Colorado has been working around the state to make it happen.

“Achieving the award at a smaller school is an impressive feat,” said Inspire Colorado’s Ryan Drysdale. “At Ouray, Evan and his teachers had to register nearly a dozen seniors in order to reach 85 percent.”

Read moreSecretary Williams to present award to Ouray High School

Colorado youth making an effort in voter registration

Secretary Wayne Williams with Kit Carson High School seniors Jaxon Crawford, left, and Bradley Johnson, right, who registered students to vote at Kit Carson and Eads high schools.

Check out the video from Secretary Williams’ day on the eastern plains here.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams shared his high school experience when honoring two Colorado high schools on Wednesday for its effort in registering juniors and seniors to vote.

Students Bradley Johnson (back left) and Jaxon Crawford (back right) look on as Secretary Williams presents the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to Eads High School administrators Dawn James (right), Glenn Smith (center), and Betsy Barnett (left).

Students at Eads and Kit Carson high schools were winners of the Eliza Pickrell Routt Award for Outstanding Voter Registration Efforts from the Secretary of State’s office.

Williams told a story he often tells to groups of young people. His high school in Virginia didn’t have a graduating class in 1959 because the town leaders closed the school rather than follow orders to integrate it.

Twenty years later when Williams attended Warren County High School, the leadership hadn’t improved much.

“I moved there and didn’t like the way the leadership was going so I got involved and I was 16 years old. I got all my friends from the high school and we stood outside all the polling places and we completely changed the leadership for that county for the first time in 100 years,” he said.

“So you can have an impact, even without having the ability to vote.”

Kit Carson seniors Jaxon Crawford and Bradley Johnson worked with the group Inspire Colorado to register 100 percent of the senior class at Kit Carson High.

Secretary Wayne Williams with Kiowa County Clerk and Recorder Delisa Weeks at Eads High School.

Not only did Jaxon and Bradley make the effort at their school, but they went to their rival high school, Eads, to get the juniors and seniors there to register.

“I think that all of us adults can learn a little bit about that bipartisan spirit, that we can engage with the people we compete with,” Ryan Drysdale, Inspire Colorado’s program coordinator said.

The award is named after Eliza Pickrell Routt, wife of Gov. John Long Routt after whom Routt County is named. She was the first woman to register to vote in Colorado.

Ouray High School in Ouray and Peak to Peak High School in Lafayette will receive the same honors later this month. Last year, Yuma High School and Eaglecrest High School were the recipients of this award.

To win, 85 percent or more of eligible students must be registered to vote.

Williams also praised the county clerks that serve those two high schools, saying,  “Their purpose really is to try to make it easy for you to participate in the process and that’s what we try to do, but we need you to step up and make those decisions.”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Pat Daugherty, Cheyenne County clerk and recorder, at Kit Carson High School.

Pat Daugherty, Cheyenne county clerk and recorder, spoke briefly to Kit Carson students about her office and how grateful she is for the help she receives from various students and teachers on field trips.

“It’s as hard as showing up and letting somebody know you want to get involved,” she joked. “We gladly accept youth judges in the elections.”

Williams left the seniors with praise for their accomplishments and advice as they set off to their next chapter.

“Take that effort you’ve made and keep going with it as you head off into the world.”

 

Secretary of State Wayne Williams inspires Inspire Colorado

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with four of the students who attended the Inspire Colorado event Monday night at History Colorado. From left to right: Robin Peterson, 17, Peak to Peak charter school; Torey Wyman, 17, and Tatum Wallis, 16, South High School; and Lila Jordan, 16, Denver School of Science and Technology, Cole campus. (SOS photo)
Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne. (SOS photo)

Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote? What is Colorado doing about climate change? What do you see as the top priorities in government?

Those are some the issues that arose Monday night when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and four state lawmakers talked to a crowd of teen-agers at Inspire Colorado’s youth engagement forum about the importance of voting and being involved.

Inspire Colorado is a student-driven program that focuses on leadership, democracy and community. The students have encouraged their high school peers to register to vote, and others to participate in elections.

Lynne noted that she’s 63 and has never missed voting in an election. She brought up the discussion about 16-year-olds voting, after earlier being asked by a high school journalist if she supported the move.

And she also noted that a number of the participants at History Colorado were female.

“Wayne, what are we going to do about that?” she asked. The secretary of state, the father of two daughters, was cheered when he responded, “Celebrate it!”

Read moreSecretary of State Wayne Williams inspires Inspire Colorado