Chaffee County: a cold wind and a hot city election

Salida voter Sandra Hobbs drops off her ballot Monday in the ballot drop box outside the Chaffee County clerk’s office. (SOS photo)

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.

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Hard work, hackers & hikers — Here’s to the Colorado clerks conference

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico and Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers at the Colorado County Clerks Association Conference in Snowmass Village. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Colorado’s county clerks and their staffs learned about election security and costs, Motor Vehicle registration kiosks and privacy vs. public access from a stakeholder’s viewpoint at their conference in Snowmass Village this week.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams addressed the Colorado County Clerks Association on Tuesday, outlining legislation his office advocated for, the state’s leading status when it comes to voter turnout and registration, and future training to learn about election audits.

“Let me tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and how much I and my staff appreciate your … commitment to ensuring that our elections are run with integrity,” Williams said.

Top officials with the Colorado County Clerks Association include Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell, the president-elect, executive director Pam Anderson, and Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon, the CCCA president. (SOS photo)

Pam Anderson, the former Jefferson County clerk and the executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said 54 of the state’s 64 county clerk offices sent representatives to the summer conference.

County clerks have a variety of responsibilities, from elections to motor vehicles to recording documents, such as marriage licenses and titles.

The titles of the conferences over the three-day workshop reflected that: “Creative Solutions for Long Lines,” “Election Integrity in the Current Political & Media Environment” and a “History of Paper & Demographics.”

Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell, the president-elect of the clerks association, said she and her staffers learned plenty at the seminars. “They were really well done,” she said.

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La Plata elections director wins county clerks’ award

With county clerks standing behind her, La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker reads her letter nominating her elections director, Erin Hutchins, for an award from the Colorado County Clerks Association. (SOS photo)

The Colorado County Clerks Association today honored an elections administrator known to greet challenging tasks with an “OK boss, we’ve got this” mantra.

Erin Hutchins was nominated for the Michelle Burton Excellence in Elections Service Award by her boss, La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Parker.

“Erin’s passion for elections is profound. She loves the challenge and is always willing to take on more,” Parker wrote in her nominating letter to Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon, president of the clerks association.

Erin Hutchins.

The award honors “those who demonstrate love and extra devotion to the election process.” The other finalists were from Weld and Larimer counties.

“This year we are implementing a new recording system, election system and redistricting,” Parker wrote. “Erin is involved with all of these projects. She never complains about working additional hours or skipping lunch. She will say, ‘OK boss, we’ve got this!'”

The presentation was made at the Colorado County Clerks Association’s summer conference in Snowmass Village, which ends Wednesday.

An emotional Parker accepted the award for Hutchins, who was too busy to attend the conference.

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Logan County’s Pam Bacon to lead county clerks association

The clerks who are about to be sworn in as members of the Colorado County Clerks Association board enjoy a light-hearted moment. They are, left to right, Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell, president elect; Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane; past president; Otero County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy, treasurer; Adams County Clerk Stan Martin, vice president; Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill, secretary; Park County Clerk Deb Green, Southern region chair; Lincoln County Clerk Corinne Lengel, Eastern region chair; and El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman, Central regional chair. (SOS photo)
The clerks who are about to be sworn in as members of the Colorado County Clerks Association board enjoy a light-hearted moment. They are, left to right, Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell, Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, Otero County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy, Adams County Clerk Stan Martin, Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill, Park County Clerk Deb Green, Lincoln County Clerk Corinne Lengel and El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman. (SOS photo)

Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon will lead the Colorado County Clerks Association for the year, assisted by fellow clerks who will serve on CCCA board.

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.

Arapahoe County Matt Crane, right, administers the oath of office to Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon. (SOS photo)
Arapahoe County Matt Crane, right, administers the oath of office to Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon. (SOS photo)

“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.”

Bacon’s presidency comes as clerks and the legislature grapple with the implementation of two election-related ballot measures that voters passed in November.

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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.

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