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 state elections director rises to NASED president

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his elections director, Judd Choate, in Washington, D.C. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s state elections director, Judd Choate, was sworn in Thursday night as president of the National Association of State Election Directors.

When administering the oath, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talked about Choate’s unrelenting commitment to his beloved University of Kansas basketball team. Williams assured onlookers that Choate would apply that same passion toward his leadership of the organization and its goal for elections excellence.

Among those in the crowd: Matt Masterson, one of three commissioners with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

“Thanks to the leadership of Secretary Williams and Judd Choate,  Colorado is a national leader in elections,” Masterson said. “As president of the State Election Directors, Judd will have a platform to lead and share the great work done in Colorado.”

The organization, referred to as Nass-ed, holds its winter conference in Washington, D.C., at the same time the National Association of Secretaries of State meets.

“Election directors can adopt policies to increase voter turnout,” Choate said. “I hope to use my year as president to encourage the adoption of these policies.”

Mexico delegation looks to Secretary of State’s office for information

Colorado election officials met Friday with a three Mexican senators and others to talk about anti-corruption efforts and transparency. Left to right: Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane; Trevor Timmons, IT director for the Secretary of State; Sen. Martha Angelica Tagle Martinez; Colorado political consultant Sean Walsh; Sen. Maria Marcella Torres Peimbert; SOS elections director Judd Choate; and Sen. Ernesto Ruffo Appel. (SOS photo)
Colorado election officials met Friday with a three Mexican senators and others to talk about anti-corruption efforts and transparency. Left to right: Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane; Trevor Timmons, IT director for the Secretary of State; Sen. Martha Angelica Tagle Martinez; Colorado political consultant Sean Walsh; Sen. Maria Marcella Torres Peimbert; SOS elections director Judd Choate; and Sen. Ernesto Ruffo Appel. (SOS photo)

Three state senators from Mexico – including one who introduced the country’s first tamper-proof voter identification cards when he was a governor – learned about transparency and bi-partisanship when they visited the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

All three are working on anti-corruption policies in their country, and were interested in the contention from SOS officials that while voter fraud does happen, it is rare and that Colorado has taken important steps to try to ensure election integrity. They also wanted to know how Colorado elections work.

“To vote is your right, but there is no restriction not to vote?” asked Sen. Maria Marcela Torres Peimbert.

Elections director Judd Choate told her she was correct, and added that Colorado has a high voter turnout, in part because the state is almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. He also said registration can be done online.

“That’s fantastic,” said Sen. Ernesto Ruffo Appel.

After the visit, he said he was worried about relations between his country and the United States. If there are problems, he said, it could devastate both economies.

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Secretary Williams addresses county clerks, pledges support

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Huerfano County Clerk Nancy Cruz and Baca County Clerk Sharon Dubois. (SOS photo)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Huerfano County Clerk Nancy Cruz and Baca County Clerk Sharon Dubois at the Colorado County Clerks Association winter conference in Colorado Springs. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams received a round of applause from county clerks and their staffs when he said he opposed the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to classify election systems as “critical infrastructure.”

“While we appreciate the support and the assistance we receive, I join many secretaries of state in saying that is not something the federal government needs to take over,” Williams said, in his his address to the Colorado County Clerks Association at its winter conference in Colorado Springs last week.

Denver Clerk Deb Johnson and Gary Zimmerman, chief of staff for the Colorado Secretary of State's office. (SOS photo)
Denver Clerk Deb Johnson and Gary Zimmerman, chief of staff for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams received a round of applause from county clerks and their staffs when he said he opposed the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to classify
He referred to a DHS decision in the waning days of President Obama’s administration because of security concerns over elections.

The secretary discussed a variety of topics, from 24-hour ballot boxes to repeated hacking claims raised during the 2016 election to two voter initiatives that will change how Colorado conducts primary elections and presidential primary elections. He urged clerks to keep in touch with their lawmakers, as elections issues will be debated during the ongoing session.

“We will continue to provide the support you need to make sure your elections go off well,” Williams said. “That’s my commitment to you as your secretary.”

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Goodbye to the positive Jan Perry

Jan Perry and D.J. Davis, at her retirement party Thursday. In the background are campaign finance manager Steve Bouey and Trent Parker from the IT division. (Kris Reynolds photo)
Jan Perry and D.J. Davis, the deputy director of the Business & Licensing Division, at her retirement party Thursday. In the background are campaign finance manager Steve Bouey and Josh Johnson in voter registration. (Kris Reynolds photo)

For someone who worked at the Secretary of State’s office for less than four years, Jan Perry’s retirement festivities were a big deal.

Her colleagues in the Election Division hosted a potluck lunch for her on Thursday. Later that afternoon, other staffers joined them in the conference room for cake, cupcakes and fruit.

Perry admitted she was surprised at how many people showed up, but then as Secretary of Wayne Williams wrote in her retirement letter, “Your co-workers universally love your can-do spirit and willingness to happily take on all duties. Everyone has mentioned how much you will be missed.”

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