Christi Coburn’s election experience spans five secretaries of state and five county clerks, and this week she was honored by the Colorado County Clerks Association for her efforts.
Coburn received the Michelle Burton Excellence in Elections Service Award. She was nominated by her boss, Adams County Clerk Stan Martin.
“Christi has shown time again her dedication to the voters, to the integrity of the entire elections process and to my staff,” Martin said. “She has been instrumental in transforming our organization for the better and improving staff morale and our organization processes.”
Her colleagues, he said, call Coburn “Chief.”
The Michelle Burton award honors “those who demonstrate love and extra devotion to the election process.” The other finalists were Jami Goff from Fremont County and Jenny Thomas from Routt County. Both run their county’s elections.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his staff got great reviews from those who attended the Colorado County Clerks Association winter conference, and the secretary was equally complimentary.
“I love working with the clerk and recorders,” he told conference-goers. “You’re not afraid to follow the law, and that’s true whether there’s a recall in Custer County or with someone who submits petitions.”
The three-day conference in Colorado Springs concluded last week, and the clerks will gather again in the summer. The conferences offer workshops on a variety of topics that clerks deal with, including vehicle title registration and recording documents.
County clerks run elections, but the secretary of state is the chief elections officer, and that’s where the SOS comes in to play at conferences. Secretary of State staffers participate in workshops on a variety of topics, including security, ballot access and changes to election laws.
Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner said the “wonderful people at the SOS office” are her staff’s “lifeline.”
Eagle County Clerk Regina O’Brien praised the SOS and her fellow clerks.
“At every conference, I glean tips, tricks and lessons learned that help me continually improve our processes. I love being able to share our practices as well in a effort to help others across the state,” she said. “In the current political climate, it’s inspiring and encouraging to see so many working towards the same shared goal — excellence!”
Colorado’s county clerks are bracing for major changes this year, from mailing primary ballots to unaffiliated voters for the first time ever to revamping the Motor Vehicle operations their offices handle.
To prepare for 2018, the Colorado County Clerks Association at its winter conference in Colorado Springs last week offered workshops dealing with duties that most clerks handle, including recording documents, issuing license plates and running elections.
The association also installed new officers for the coming year. Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell succeeded Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon as the group president.
“We need to thank the Secretary of State staff for working so hard with us this year and for the last several years,” Bacon said. “We have a pretty great working relationship with them and it takes all of us to make changes that work.”
Williams reviewed a list of achievements, including the completion of the first statewide risk-limiting audit designed to catch election errors. He also updated clerks on the installation of ballot boxes to make it easier for voters to drop off their ballots 24-7, and the implementation of Dominion Voting Systems equipment that clerks say has made elections easier to run.
“We are the talk of the nation, as usual,” Williams said. “We are rock stars.”
Mail ballots for the 2017 coordinated election were sent out on Oct. 16. Ballots must be received by Nov. 7. To update your registration, view your sample ballot, check your mail ballot status, or find an in person voting location or ballot drop off location, please visit www.govotecolorado.com.
Routt County Clerk Kim Bonner and her staff are excited to show off their new election equipment to county residents on the front steps of the courthouse lawn on Oct. 14.
Of course, if it snows, they’ll move the operation — and the cookies — inside, Bonner told Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Friday during his visit to the clerk’s office. There once was a discussion about serving beer, but that idea fell flat. Of course, all this was told to Williams with much laughter. They like to have fun in the Routt County clerk’s office.
“Boy, in this business if you don’t have laughter it makes it kind of tough,” Bonner said.
The November election is the first time Routt County residents will use Dominion Voting Systems, which was the top choice of a committee looking at voting systems for Colorado’s counties.
Williams announced in 2015 he was entering into negotiations with Dominion in an effort to move the state toward a uniform voting system. Because the state handled the negotiations, counties were able to purchase equipment at a reduced rate.
That was good news to Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan, who also visited with Williams during his visit to the courthouse in Steamboat Springs.