“I’ve worked really hard. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished,” Olson said at the end of the ceremony. “I very often put my work before my personal life and I don’t have any regrets. I felt like that’s what the job required. But I do want to tell my family how much I appreciate their support.”
Here is what some of the SOS staffers what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Family and friends topped the list, but here are some of the more creative responses-
• “I’m thankful for my job, I JUST LOVE IT!! It allows me to work with a lot of veterans as well as community members. Cannot be thankful enough to the veterans for serving our country.” Darleen Herrera, charitable gaming investigator.
• “I am thankful for the opportunity to go visit family and to have family visit us. I am also thankful that the risk-limiting audit has proceeded in a fashion that neither we nor the clerks have to work on Thanksgiving.” Wayne Williams, secretary of state.
• “Just living! My 5-year-old granddaughter has been cancer-free for a year!” Catherine Hill, elections administrative assistant.
• “I am thankful to be able to work in an office that has so many kind and generous people, and which is located in a state that makes every day a good and different day.” Chris Johnson, executive administrative assistant.
• “I’m thankful for the passage of time…without which our restrooms would have never seen completion…without which we would be forever doomed to endure multiple daily journeys to the second floor….LOL, I think I am probably speaking for a LOT of people in my thankfulness!” Myra Rooney, campaign finance specialist.
• “I’m thankful that my parents left South Florida to start their family in Colorado, so I had the Rocky Mountains as my playground and not the Everglades.” Chris Cash, charities program manager.
• “I am thankful for my boss, Wayne.” Suzanne Staiert, deputy secretary of state.
Lynn Bartels’ response might be my favorite of all –
• “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it involves food but no gift-buying. Last year, I posted on the SOS blog a column I wrote about Thanksgiving in 1991 when I was working as a columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune.
I have plenty to be thankful for but this year I’m especially grateful for Dwight Shellman, the Secretary of State’s county support manager.
Dwight is our chain-smoking, coffee-swilling, loveable attention-to-detail guy who has been such an integral part of the risk-limiting audit our office and Colorado’s county clerks just conducted to show that the election results were accurate.
The post-election audit attracted election folks from across the country, which only added to Dwight’s 24-hour state of stress. Another SOS staffer, Ben Schler, once joked that if Dwight managed a Pizza Hut he would be outside by the dumpster on Super Bowl Sunday, smoking and muttering, “I just know we’re going to run out of dough. I just know we’re going to run out of dough.”
Even if we hadn’t done a risk-limiting audit this year, I would still be just as grateful for Dwight. As the former elections director for Pitkin County, he knows what it takes to run an election – hence his devotion to our county clerks and their staffs.
Oh, and he has a wicked sense of humor, something to be thankful for in any person.
Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane put a new twist on casual day at his office.
Every Wednesday, Crane and his employees each pay $1 if they want to wear jeans. The clerk’s office began the jean fundraising project in 2013 with a $5,000 goal. The goal was exceeded in 2016, but with the presidential election taking over much of Crane’s time, the donation was postponed, allowing even more money being raised.
Last Friday, staffers presented a $7,172 check to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that, according to its website, “Serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001 and their families.”
“It was an honor to give back to the men and women in our Armed Forces who have fought and sacrificed for our life and liberty,” said Crane. “Employees loved this charitable opportunity. By paying a dollar to dress down, they enjoyed a comfortable workday and their small contributions over time added up to a significant donation for this deserving organization.”
Next up for Arapahoe County? To keep casual Wednesdays going to meet another $5,000 goal. This time, the charity will be Freedom Service Dogs, an organization that rescues, trains and places dogs with people with disabilities.
Julia Sunny is the social media coordinator for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
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.
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.”