If you have been on Facebook in the past month, there’s a good chance the above graphic showed up on your news feed.
Facebook reminded users of the upcoming primary election on June 26 and encouraged users to register to vote or share that they are registered.
The impact was significant —
“More people registered and more people updated their registration on Tuesday, June 12th than did so on Election Day,” said Judd Choate, the state election director for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
This was the first year unaffiliated voters were allowed to automatically participate. Secretary Williams launched the UChooseCO campaign to inform voters about the new process. Williams handed out wooden U’s for people to decorate and help spread the word. The UChooseCO campaign has a web page, Facebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.
Monday was the first day that county clerks could mail ballots to in-state voters, which made for interesting visits when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stopped in Jackson and Grand counties that day.
The number of active voters in scenic Jackson County is only 983, which is why they hand count their ballots, Clerk Hayle Johnson said.
The secretary then headed south to equally beautiful Grand County, where Clerk Sara Rosene, her staff and election judges loaded boxes filled with ballots into two large county vehicles in a race to get them to the Post Office.
“As someone who used to be a clerk and recorder, I know the work that goes into getting ballots to the voters,” said Williams, who worked in El Paso County before being elected secretary of state in 2014.
All clerks in Colorado are mailing a record number of ballots for this election because it’s the first time in history unaffiliated voters can automatically participate in the primary elections. In the past, those voters did not receive primary ballots unless they affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic party.
The number of active Republican and unaffiliated voters in Grand is nearly the same, 4,299 to 4,148, respectively, with Democrats trailing at 2,415 voters. But Republicans rule the roost in Jackson, with 677 active GOP voters, while there are 196 unaffiliated voters and 99 Democrats. Both counties have small numbers of third-party voters, who won’t be participating in the primary because they have no contested races.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams paid a visit to Del Norte, the county seat of Rio Grande County, to meet with Clerk Cindy Hill last week.
She and Williams spoke about the launch of two statewide voter registration campaigns, UChooseCO and Yo Decido. Hill says that she is very excited about the launch of these campaigns because it will help the public be informed.
“I always say that you have a right to be informed but, it is your responsibility to be informed,” Hill said.
She said a number of questions have come up about the election but are the usual inquiries that come up at every election, such as, “How can you open the ballots we send in without knowing who it came from?” Now they’re asking, “How are the new primaries going to work?” The UChooseCO campaign is designed to educate unaffiliated voters that while they can participate in the primary, if they get both the Republican and Democratic ballot mailed to them they can only vote.
There are eight employees who work in the clerk and recorder’s office and they handle everything from elections to recording to motor vehicle registrations. Hill has worked in the office for 16 years and has been clerk since 2011. She is running for re-election this November.
“We always enjoy Secretary Williams coming to see us,” Hill said. “It was nice to have him in.”
For the second time this month, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talked to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce about this year’s primary election, where unaffiliated voters for the first time in history will be able to vote in primary elections without formally affiliating with a major political party.
The office is developing a mostly digital campaign to let unaffiliated voters know they can only mark and return a Democratic or a Republican ballot. But they can’t vote both — if they do, the votes won’t count.
“This is part of what we’re trying to convey,” Williams told the chamber’s Public Affairs Council this morning. “Make sure your vote counts.”
The secretary of state’s office recently polled unaffiliated voters. Among the results:
How do you come up with costumes when the theme of your conference is the nebulous “change?”
Well, the Pitkin County clerk and recorder’s office focused on the changing seasons in one of the most picturesque locales in Colorado. For that effort, Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill and her staff Thursday night won a costume contest at the Colorado County Clerks Association’s winter conference.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined the Pitkin staff in modeling hats based on the five seasons.
Yes, five. Williams wore the hat for “mud” season, you know, “the window of time between when the ski resorts close and when the summer activities pick up again.” With melting snow, there’s lots of mud.
There even was a brief wardrobe malfunction. The string on Williams’ hat broke before the contest started, and Vos Caudill enlisted a project manager with the Colorado Department of Revenue to fix it.
“I told Wayne’s wife (Holly), ‘I hope you don’t mind us dragging him through the mud — season,'” Vos Caudill said. “Wayne was so much fun.”