Cheyenne County Clerk Patricia Daugherty’s artistic talent is clear in the U she decorated.
“I wanted to represent our area,” she said. “I painted the blue and clouds, then added wheat fields, cows, oil wells, sunflowers, and a family, things that make up Cheyenne County.”
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the wooden U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to help educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in the primary election Tuesday, but they can only vote one ballot. If they turn in both the Republican and Democratic ballot neither will count. The campaign has a web page, Facebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.
Colorado’s county clerks have done an amazing job decorating their U’s. La Plata County, faced with fierce wildfires, thanked firefighters. Logan County took it’s U around the county for various photo ops. Montrose County kept the U plain but surrounded it with amazing scenery. Like Cheyenne County, Weld County went with local images.
Four county clerk and recorders praised Secretary of State Wayne Williams and the Colorado Legislature for working on a solution to help rural counties replace obsolete equipment vital to recording important documents, including land transactions.
Williams said the second portion of their title, recorder, is often overlooked but keenly important.
“For most Coloradans, their biggest investment is the home, the ranch, that we own,” he said. “So making sure those property records are accurate is absolutely critical.”
He met with clerks Stan Martin of Adams County, Pat Daugherty of Cheyenne County, Susan Corliss of Kit Carson County and Corinne Lengel of Lincoln County in Lengel’s office in Hugo on Friday. They discussed the Electronic Recording Technology Board, an enterprise account created by the legislature in 2016.
The board announced Thursday that 15 rural counties will be the first recipients of grants it will be doling out.
Daugherty couldn’t be happier. “We don’t have any extra money,” she said.
Check out the video from Secretary Williams’ day on the eastern plains here.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams shared his high school experience when honoring two Colorado high schools on Wednesday for its effort in registering juniors and seniors to vote.
Students at Eads and Kit Carson high schools were winners of the Eliza Pickrell Routt Award for Outstanding Voter Registration Efforts from the Secretary of State’s office.
Williams told a story he often tells to groups of young people. His high school in Virginia didn’t have a graduating class in 1959 because the town leaders closed the school rather than follow orders to integrate it.
Twenty years later when Williams attended Warren County High School, the leadership hadn’t improved much.
“I moved there and didn’t like the way the leadership was going so I got involved and I was 16 years old. I got all my friends from the high school and we stood outside all the polling places and we completely changed the leadership for that county for the first time in 100 years,” he said.
“So you can have an impact, even without having the ability to vote.”
Kit Carson seniors Jaxon Crawford and Bradley Johnson worked with the group Inspire Colorado to register 100 percent of the senior class at Kit Carson High.
Not only did Jaxon and Bradley make the effort at their school, but they went to their rival high school, Eads, to get the juniors and seniors there to register.
“I think that all of us adults can learn a little bit about that bipartisan spirit, that we can engage with the people we compete with,” Ryan Drysdale, Inspire Colorado’s program coordinator said.
The award is named after Eliza Pickrell Routt, wife of Gov. John Long Routt after whom Routt County is named. She was the first woman to register to vote in Colorado.
Ouray High School in Ouray and Peak to Peak High School in Lafayette will receive the same honors later this month. Last year, Yuma High School and Eaglecrest High School were the recipients of this award.
To win, 85 percent or more of eligible students must be registered to vote.
Williams also praised the county clerks that serve those two high schools, saying, “Their purpose really is to try to make it easy for you to participate in the process and that’s what we try to do, but we need you to step up and make those decisions.”
Pat Daugherty, Cheyenne county clerk and recorder, spoke briefly to Kit Carson students about her office and how grateful she is for the help she receives from various students and teachers on field trips.
“It’s as hard as showing up and letting somebody know you want to get involved,” she joked. “We gladly accept youth judges in the elections.”
Williams left the seniors with praise for their accomplishments and advice as they set off to their next chapter.
“Take that effort you’ve made and keep going with it as you head off into the world.”
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams let out a huge laugh when he heard the story about the Kiowa County voter who needed a replacement ballot: It turns out the voter burned up his first ballot because it was the only paper he could find when lighting his grill.
Williams hit the Eastern Plains Tuesday to visit with three new county clerks who took office in January: Delisa Weeks in Kiowa, Pat Daugherty in Cheyenne and Susan Corliss in Kit Carson. He checked to see how they are doing in preparation for the Nov. 3 election and what kind of assistance the secretary of state’s office can provide them.
“You made it to the end of the world, huh?” Kiowa Chief Deputy Patricia Roper said, when she saw Williams at the office in Eads.
Weeks — who used to be a dispatcher with the sheriff’s office — Roper and Roland Sorensen are the only employees in the clerk’s office. Kiowa, with less than 975 active voters, still counts ballots by hand. (So does Jackson and San Juan counties.)