Secretary Williams to present award to Ouray High School

Evan Vann, a junior at Ouray High School, helped his school receive an award for voter registration.

When Evan Vann approached his fellow students at Ouray High School and asked if they wanted to preregister to vote, he got some lukewarm receptions.

“A few them said they really had no interest,” Vann recalled. “One of them told me, ‘I really don’t plan on voting — ever.'”

But Evan persisted, which is why Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Saturday will present the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to Ouray High School for its outstanding voter registration efforts. The award is given to schools where more than 85 percent of eligible seniors are registered to vote.

The presentation will be made at Ouray’s senior high school banquet. Vann, a junior, will be present.

Colorado is one of 11 states that allows residents as young as 16 to preregister to vote. The group Inspire Colorado has been working around the state to make it happen.

“Achieving the award at a smaller school is an impressive feat,” said Inspire Colorado’s Ryan Drysdale. “At Ouray, Evan and his teachers had to register nearly a dozen seniors in order to reach 85 percent.”

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Secretary Wayne Williams tells clerks in Rifle he knows they’re always busy

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with county clerks who attended regional training in Rifle last week. Back row, left to right: Pam Phipps, Clear Creek, Kathy Neel of Summit, Michelle Nauer of Ouray, the secretary of state, Tressa Guynes of Montrose and Boots Campbell of Rio Blanco. Front row, Sara Rosene of Grand Junction, Teri Stephenson of Delta, Kathleen Erie of San Miguel, Colleen Stewart of Gilpin, Janice Vos Caudill of Pitkin, and Ladonna Jaramillo of San Juan. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams urged county clerks to voice their opinions next month after they view proposed regulations for allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without any restrictions.

The Secretary of State’s office earlier asked some clerks for their ideas on drafting rules to deal with Proposition 108, which voters approved last November. It allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without affiliating with a party. The Secretary of State’s office is working on proposed regulations to be sent to clerks in May.

“When you get the draft regulations, please review them,” Williams said. “Please let us know if something works or if something doesn’t work. I need both of those.”

Williams on Friday spoke to clerks and their staffs who gathered at the western region clerks’ conference in Rifle.

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Secretary Wayne Williams drives the Million Dollar Highway into Ouray

Ouray County Clerk Michelle Nauer and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams discuss election issues in her office.
Ouray County Clerk Michelle Nauer and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams discuss election issues in her office.

When Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams decided to visit Ouray County Clerk Michelle Nauer, he had to make sure it wasn’t on a Friday. The office is closed that day.

When that cost-savings measure was instituted in January 2014, Nauer experienced a 100 percent turnover. She has since made some new hires, but “as you know, the learning curve is huge in the clerk’s office,” Nauer said.

If an excise tax on marijuana raises enough revenue, the clerk’s office might be able to reopen on Fridays after next year.

Nauer has worked in the clerk’s office for 35 years, the last 21 as the elected clerk and recorder. In the summer, she opens her window and put crackers on the windowsill for the deer.

“I love my office,” she said.

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