Colorado county clerks hope lawmakers fix early-voting rules

Members of the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission watch the clip from VICE News about the Secretary of State’s ” war-games, election style,” exercise in September. Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane, second from left, was prominently featured in the show. (SOS Photo)

County clerks say a state law that dictates how many early-voting election facilities they must operate should be changed to allow local governments to make that decision.

They made their appeal Wednesday during the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission meeting, the last one under outgoing Secretary of State Wayne Williams. He assembled the group in 2016 to provide feedback on elections.

The clerks have argued through several elections that the number of voters who visit the Voter Service and Polling Centers, or VSPCs, particularly in the first week they are open, doesn’t make sense because of the low turnout. Clerks would like to devote the resources  where they need them.

Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon noted that her in-person voting center is the courthouse in Sterling, but she is required to open two additional facilities in the county on Election Day.

“I had 20 people at one location and six at the other,” she said. “Those two extra locations short me where I need hands the most, which is at the county office.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Michael Valdez with the Special District Association, who serves on the Bipartisan Election Advisory Committee. Behind them is Melissa Polk, an attorney in the SOS’ elections division. (SOS photo)

Williams also discussed Colorado’s record turnout in the mid-term election — second in the nation behind Minnesota — and his office’s nationally lauded efforts on election security.

“Our clerks did a phenomenal job. Our staff did a phenomenal job as well,” Williams said. “I want to say thank you to all of them for that.”

Douglas County Clerk Merlin Klotz returned the compliment.

“Where Colorado stands as far as the most secure place to vote speaks for the entire team and the job you’ve done,” he told Williams.

Read moreColorado county clerks hope lawmakers fix early-voting rules

All about Logan’s County Traveling U

A wooden U decorated by Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon and her staff has traveled throughout the county, including the town of Crook.

Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon didn’t just have her staff decorate her wooden U — she took it around the rural county and documented her trip.

Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon outside the iconic courthouse in Sterling with her U.

She placed the U on railroad tracks between Iliff and Crook, with cows in the background between Crook and Flaming and on a hay bale off Highway 113 going to Peetz. The pictures appeared on the clerk’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

“I have pictures from Sterling, Peetz, Padroni, Iliff, Crook, Fleming, Merino, Atwood and everywhere in between to post pictures of the Logan County Traveling U,” she said. “We tried to think of fun pictures that represent our county to grab peoples’ interest when I post them.”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign, which stresses to unaffiliated voters that they will receive both the Democratic and Republican ballots for the June 26 primary, but they have to pick just one ballot. If they vote two, neither will count.

At least every weekday between now and the primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a U or two. Recipients were asked to consider their values when decorating or to just have fun. Some clerks — such as Bacon, Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell and Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes —  highlighted their counties.

Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Logan County’s wooden U atop a hay bale off Colorado 113 going to Peetz.

Happy birthday, Mr. Secretary

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and the cupcake he received from Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon, president of the Colorado County Clerks Association, for his birthday. The clerks sang “Happy Birthday” to Williams, who turns 55 on Friday. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, with Beth Clippenger with Jefferson County, after she pretended to lick her finger and taste the cupcake frosting. (SOS photo)

Since becoming  Colorado’s secretary of state, Wayne Williams has celebrated his birthday with some of his favorite people: county clerks and their staffs.

Williams’  birthday falls at the same time as the Colorado County Clerks Association’s  winter conference. Association president Pam Bacon, the Logan County clerk, today presented Williams a cupcake with frosting in Colorado flag colors.

Members sang “Happy Birthday” to Williams, but not in a throaty, husky manner made famous during the serenade of another elected official.

Williams’  birthday is Friday, but the clerks wanted to celebrate it today before the secretary’s presentation. The conference, which is being held in Colorado Springs, begins today and ends Friday.

Williams served as El Paso County’s clerk and recorder before being elected secretary of state in 2014.

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.

Read moreChaffee County: a cold wind and a hot city election

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.

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