The three Rs for Colorado’s county clerks

The Colorado County Clerks Association winter conference kicked off Wednesday in Colorado Springs. From left to right: Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, CCCA director Pam Anderson, Pueblo County Clerk Bo Ortiz and Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon. (SOS photo)
The Colorado County Clerks Association winter conference kicked off Wednesday in Colorado Springs. From left to right: Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, CCCA director Pam Anderson, Pueblo County Clerk Bo Ortiz and Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon. (SOS photo)

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.

Read moreThe three Rs for Colorado’s county clerks

Secretary Wayne Williams visits Rio Grande County clerk

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with the Rio Grande County clerk and recorder's office. From left to right: Megan Gallegos, Williams, Michelle Montoya, Kathy Gonzales, Clerk Cindy Hill, Sherryl Steving, Matilda Quintana and Jake Mikeljack. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visits with the Rio Grande County clerk and recorder’s office. From left to right: Megan Gallegos, Williams, Michelle Montoya, Kathy Gonzales, Clerk Cindy Hill, Sherryl Steving, Matilda Quintana and Jake Mikeljack. (SOS photo)

By Keara Brosnan

Some county clerks struggle to find enough election judges, but Rio Grande County Clerk and Recorder Cindy Hill told Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams she isn’t one of them.

“Farmers’ wives make up a lot of the judges, which works out nicely because elections in the fall are different from harvest time,” Hill said.

Williams visited Del Norte this week and met with Hill and her staff as part of his goal to regularly check in with all 64 county clerks in their offices.

Read moreSecretary Wayne Williams visits Rio Grande County clerk

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams hits the road again

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in Pagosa Springs on Day 1 of a four-day road trip.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in Pagosa Springs on Day 1 of a four-day road trip focused mainly in the southwestern part of the state.

Here’s Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ version of spring break: Visited nine county clerks. Checked out five newspaper offices. Attended three Go Code Colorado competitions. Spoke at one Club 20 event.

And all in four days.

Williams began his trip Wednesday morning in Greeley, where he met with Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes. By late afternoon he was in Pagosa Springs, talking to Archuleta County Clerk June Madrid and touring The Pagosa Springs Sun newsroom.

That night, Williams ate dinner in Durango with La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker — he visited her office Friday afternoon, too — and by the next morning he was ready to hit the road to talk with three other county clerks.

“Last year I met with all the new county clerks in their offices and this year and I am continuing to go meet with county clerks,” Williams said. “By going to their offices I get a better understanding of their set-ups and their challenges to ensure we are helping meet their needs.”

Read moreColorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams hits the road again

Hey, hey, Paula, the state’s elections office will be missing you

Paula Barnett's last day at the Colorado Secretary of State's office is Friday. She is going to work for Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell.
Paula Barnett’s last day at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is Friday. She is going to work for Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell.

By Keara Brosnan

Paula Barnett, a much respected staffer with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, is taking her elections experience to Chaffee County in order to be near her family.

Barnett’s last day with the state is Friday. She’ll begin working for Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell on March 14.

“It will be fun to be with my daughter and her husband and her two beautiful daughters in the mountains,” said Barnett, who will live in Buena Vista and commute to Salida.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams understands her sentiment.

“As our first grandchild will be born later this month,” he said, “I certainly appreciate Paula’s desire to be near family.”

Barnett got her start in the Lincoln County clerk and recorder’s office’s,  and eventually was elected clerk.

“I sort of grew into it,” Barnett said. “Living in Hugo, which was a very small community and very grass roots, I got very involved in elections and the political process and caucuses.”

Read moreHey, hey, Paula, the state’s elections office will be missing you

Colorado’s county clerks learn, laugh, lip sync at winter conference

Steven Bennett with Dominion Voting Systems, the firm selected to provide equipment for the state, talks with clerks at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference this week in Fort Collins. The clerks are, left to right, Kiowa's Delisa Weeks, Cheyenne's Patricia Daugherty and Washington's Garland Wahl.
Steven Bennett with Dominion Voting Systems, the firm selected to provide equipment for the state, talks with clerks at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference this
week in Fort Collins. The clerks are, left to right, Kiowa’s Delisa Weeks, Cheyenne’s Patricia Daugherty and Washington’s Garland Wahl.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod.

Colorado’s hard-working county clerks traded tips on what works — and what might not — during their winter conference this week in Fort Collins.

The Colorado County Clerks Association’s conference offered clerks and their staffs the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops on topics ranging from motor vehicle registrations, the November election and communication best-practices.

“We’re a small county,” said Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod. “We really need to think outside the box and you get ideas to do that at this conference.”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams attended the three-day event.

Colorado Secretary of State gets a kick out of the cupcake he received Tuesday on his 53rd birthday. It was presented to him by Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association at its conference in Fort Collins.
Colorado Secretary of State gets a kick out of the cupcake he received Tuesday on his 53rd birthday. To his right is Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association.

“Both I and my staff welcomed the opportunity to share best practices and legal requirements with our county partners,” Williams said. “And I enjoyed seeing so many of my friends.  If I had to be away from family for my birthday, there’s no finer group to be with.”

Williams turned 53 on Tuesday. Clerks serenaded Williams after Pam Anderson, the executive director of the association, presented the secretary with a cupcake.

Williams talked to the clerks about his decision to go with vendor Dominion Voting Systems, which was the No. 1 choice of a committee studying voting systems.  And he announced Wednesday that the state will use federal Help America Vote Act funds to cover 50 percent of a county’s costs to train, test, install and manage the project this year and next.

Gunnison County is one of more than 20 counties that will be switching to Denver-based Dominion this year.

Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell said she spent a “considerable amount of time” meeting with Dominion, one of the many vendors that had a booth set up at the conference.

Gunnison County Clerk Kathy Simillion and Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell.
Gunnison County Clerk Kathy Simillion and Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell.

Gunnison Clerk Kathy Simillion said learning about the equipment was “just part of it.”

“I also enjoy the camaraderie and learning ideas from other clerks,” she said.

For several clerks, it was a chance to meet for the first time the secretary of state staffers they have talk to on the phone on a regular basis.

The conference also saw the changing of the guard, with Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane taking over for La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker as president. Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon is the president elect, while Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell was sworn in as vice president.

Former Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle was named an honorary lifetime clerk.  He was introduced by his successor,  Clerk Angela Myers.

“I look out upon this room and see lots of hardworking clerks. The work you do is challenging, but it is extremely important and the basis of our free society,” Doyle said.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Denver Clerk Debra Johnson and SOS staffers during the lip-synch competition at the Colorado County Clerks Association banquet Wednesday in Fort Collins. The group was introduced as "Lil Wayne and the Hanging Chads."
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Denver Clerk Debra Johnson and SOS staffers during the lip-synch competition at the Colorado County Clerks Association banquet Wednesday in Fort Collins. The group was introduced as “Lil Wayne and the Hanging Chads.”

After the banquet,  clerks and their staffs competed in a hilarious lip-sync contest. Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes and staffers took top prize for for their rendition of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”

Williams and his staff, along with Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, performed “Under Pressure.” They got a good laugh when they were introduced as “Lil’ Wayne and the Hanging Chads.”