Here voter, voter: Las Animas County elections is missing Midas’ touch

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with two of Las Animas County election judges, Karen Fabec and Julie Abeyta. (SOS photo)

Midas once prowled the election offices at the Las Animas County courthouse in Trinidad, greeting voters who arrived to drop off their ballots.

Midas, in the Las Animas County elections office.

Midas’ owner, election judge Karen Fabec, is back at the courthouse but without her 14-year-old Persian cat at her side. Midas died in in August.

Fabec could hardly talk about her beloved pet without choking up so Secretary of State Wayne Williams moved on, thanking her and fellow election judge Julie Abyeta for their service.

“We’re dependent on election judges,” he said, during his visit Friday with Las Animas County Clerk Peach Vigil.

These are tough times in Las Animas County, the largest county in the state at 4,749 square miles. Faced with financial woes,  county services have been from cut from five days a week to three. Residents aren’t happy that they can’t handle their business, including motor vehicle registrations and marriage licenses, on Thursdays and Fridays so the clerk staffers hear about it when they are open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Vigil said.

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Secretary of State Wayne Williams swings through Las Animas, Huerfano and Custer counties

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stopped by Trinidad Friday to visit with Clerk Peach Vigil, who took office in January. He's in the storage vault with the chief deputy, Shawn Bazanele, left, and Vigil, right. (Lynn Bartels)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stopped by Trinidad Friday to visit with Clerk Peach Vigil, who took office in January. He’s in the storage vault with the chief deputy, Shawn Bazanele, left, and Vigil, right. (Lynn Bartels)

Three new county clerks, two homecoming parades and a dazzling array of fall colors — a fun day on the road Friday with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Williams, who took office in January, is trying to visit with all new county clerks before the Nov. 3 coordinated election.  On Friday he visited Las Animas, Huerfano and Custer counties.

In Trinidad, he met with Las Animas County Clerk Peach Vigil. Asked about her nickname, she said she was a week old before her mother settled on the name “Patricia” but in the meantime she called her baby “Peaches.”

The nickname stuck. When Vigil started working for Las Animas County, the longtime clerk used to say, “Peach.” The shortened nickname stuck and Vigil put it on the ballot when she ran, otherwise she said even some family members wouldn’t have recognized her as “Patricia Vigil.”

Streets in Trinidad are paved with red bricks and it was there that we encountered our first homecoming parade.

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