International professionals visit CO Secretary of State

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Deputy Suzanne Staiert at his side lead a discussion with international visitors about elections in Colorado. (SOS photo)

International professionals from four continents visited with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Tuesday where they learned about the state’s nationally lauded election system. The participants hail from countries including Chile, Afghanistan, and South Sudan and are leaders in their fields of politics, business, and journalism.

“Coloradans vote at some of the highest rates in America because we make the process easy and fair, empower citizens to vote on taxes and other matters though initiatives and referenda, and instill confidence in the voters,” Williams said. “They know that their vote matters and that it will be counted.”

The participants, who are with the International Visitor Leadership Program,  visited Washington D.C. and Kansas City, Mo., before arriving in Denver. The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program and has sought to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations since its launch in 1940.

Read moreInternational professionals visit CO Secretary of State

Armenians interested in Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ take on presidential politics

Colorado Secretary of State met with a group of international visitors from Armenia Thursday in his office in Denver. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams met with a group of international visitors from Armenia Thursday in his office in Denver. He is holding a gift he received. (SOS photo)

By Julia Sunny and Lynn Bartels

A group of Armenian officials who met with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Thursday were interested in a variety of topics, including overseas Americans participating in elections back home to the upcoming presidential contest.

Williams explained Colorado is a “swing” state that sometimes votes Republican and sometimes Democrat for president. He stunned the delegation when he told them that Hillary Clinton spoke in Denver on Tuesday and Donald Trump would be here  Friday.

“Seriously? Here?” one Armenian asked.

One visitor said he if were able to vote in the election he would choose Bernie Sanders.

The Armenians’ visit is part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Williams has met with other IVLP visitors before, including a group from the Middle East in March. Those visitors asked about marijuana and the “messy” precinct caucuses they had just observed.

The six-member Armenian delegation is traveling across the country. It will meet with the Cleveland Council on World Affairs in Ohio next week.

The presidential election is being closely observed overseas, and Williams was asked his thoughts.

Read moreArmenians interested in Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ take on presidential politics

Secretary Wayne Williams: Helping other nations is our responsiblity

By Keara Brosnan

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back row in the center, and elections director Judd Choate, back row left, with foreign dignitaries who are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back row in the center, and elections director Judd Choate, back row left, with foreign dignitaries who are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program.

The cost of elections equipment was one concern of international dignitaries who met with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Tuesday.

The leaders, who represented 23 different countries, are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program organized by the U.S. Department of State.

“Helping other nations and their elected officials is our responsibility,” Williams said.

Ukraine, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, Pakistan, Nigeria, New Zealand and Vietnam were among the participating countries.

Read moreSecretary Wayne Williams: Helping other nations is our responsiblity

Colorado’s “messy” caucus, marijuana intrigues Middle Eastern visitors

Video: A visit to Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to international visitors Wednesday.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to international visitors Wednesday.

Twelve international visitors on Wednesday peppered Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams about everything from marijuana to the “messy” precinct caucuses they observed the night before.

Back in their Middle Eastern countries, they are professors, bureaucrats, candidates and such. They hailed from a variety of countries, including Algeria, Kuwait and Tunisia. Some asked Williams questions in English; others relied on three three Arabic language interpreters.

The visitors were part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, which is under the U.S. Department of State. They also visited the state Capitol.

Palestinian Majed Bamya, who works for the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that he and has colleagues watched Coloradans caucus Tuesday night.

“It was quite messy,” he told Williams, sharing the the same assessment of many Colorado voters who participated.

“Are you implicated in this messiness?”

Read moreColorado’s “messy” caucus, marijuana intrigues Middle Eastern visitors