A cold wind blew leaves across the Chaffee County courthouse lawn on Monday as Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell told Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams how Salida’s municipal election has voters fired up.
“There’s a difference of opinion on the direction the city should go,” Mitchell said, noting each of the three ward races are contested as is the mayor’s race.
As if on cue, Salida resident Sandra Hobbs got out of her vehicle and walked up to the 24-hour ballot box located outside the courthouse.
“It’s been something else,” she said of the city election.
Colorado election officials shone at the Election Center’s 33rd national conference, winning several prestigious awards and gaining certification or re-certification as election administrators.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams, as well as members of various clerks’ offices, attended the conference in Garden Grove, Calif., which ended Wednesday.
“Colorado’s county clerks have one of the highest participation rates in the Election Center and it was exciting to see Colorado’s clerks win awards and their staffers graduate at this year’s national conference,” Williams said. “Colorado won three of the 10 awards that were handed out.”
El Paso and Denver counties, and the Colorado County Clerks Association were recognized for their work in serving their voters with professional best practices.
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.
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.”
She took the oath of office from her predecessor, Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, at the association’s winter conference in Colorado Springs last week.
“I accept the position of president of the CCCA with humility because I am sure it is not an easy task and I am certain that despite my best efforts, I will disappoint some of you sometimes,” Bacon said in her acceptance speech.
“My door is always open and I am only a phone call or e-mail away so feel free to reach out to me,” she said. “I recently told a clerk that we are all on the same team just in different zip codes and I do believe that. Our association is great at lending that helping hand or ear to a fellow clerk but we have to know your dilemma before we can extend that help.”
After the year Colorado’s county clerks had in 2016, it’s no wonder they chose this theme for their winter conference underway in Colorado Springs: “Rejuvenate. Recharge. Relax.”
In between seminars on the US Postal Service and mail ballots, Motor Vehicle operations and electronic recordings, clerks and their staffs could take part in a social painting class, a nature walk at Garden of the Gods and yoga.
Darryl Glenn, chairman of the El Paso County Board of Commissioners and the GOP’s U.S. Senate nominee last year, acknowledged the hard work of Colorado’s 64 county clerks.
“I don’t think you guys receive enough praise,” he said Wednesday when he welcomed the clerks and their staffs.