Colorado’s county clerks learn, laugh, lip sync at winter conference

Steven Bennett with Dominion Voting Systems, the firm selected to provide equipment for the state, talks with clerks at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference this week in Fort Collins. The clerks are, left to right, Kiowa's Delisa Weeks, Cheyenne's Patricia Daugherty and Washington's Garland Wahl.
Steven Bennett with Dominion Voting Systems, the firm selected to provide equipment for the state, talks with clerks at the Colorado County Clerks Association conference this
week in Fort Collins. The clerks are, left to right, Kiowa’s Delisa Weeks, Cheyenne’s Patricia Daugherty and Washington’s Garland Wahl.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod.

Colorado’s hard-working county clerks traded tips on what works — and what might not — during their winter conference this week in Fort Collins.

The Colorado County Clerks Association’s conference offered clerks and their staffs the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops on topics ranging from motor vehicle registrations, the November election and communication best-practices.

“We’re a small county,” said Moffat County Clerk Lila Herod. “We really need to think outside the box and you get ideas to do that at this conference.”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams attended the three-day event.

Colorado Secretary of State gets a kick out of the cupcake he received Tuesday on his 53rd birthday. It was presented to him by Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association at its conference in Fort Collins.
Colorado Secretary of State gets a kick out of the cupcake he received Tuesday on his 53rd birthday. To his right is Pam Anderson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association.

“Both I and my staff welcomed the opportunity to share best practices and legal requirements with our county partners,” Williams said. “And I enjoyed seeing so many of my friends.  If I had to be away from family for my birthday, there’s no finer group to be with.”

Williams turned 53 on Tuesday. Clerks serenaded Williams after Pam Anderson, the executive director of the association, presented the secretary with a cupcake.

Williams talked to the clerks about his decision to go with vendor Dominion Voting Systems, which was the No. 1 choice of a committee studying voting systems.  And he announced Wednesday that the state will use federal Help America Vote Act funds to cover 50 percent of a county’s costs to train, test, install and manage the project this year and next.

Gunnison County is one of more than 20 counties that will be switching to Denver-based Dominion this year.

Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell said she spent a “considerable amount of time” meeting with Dominion, one of the many vendors that had a booth set up at the conference.

Gunnison County Clerk Kathy Simillion and Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell.
Gunnison County Clerk Kathy Simillion and Chief Deputy Clerk Diane Folowell.

Gunnison Clerk Kathy Simillion said learning about the equipment was “just part of it.”

“I also enjoy the camaraderie and learning ideas from other clerks,” she said.

For several clerks, it was a chance to meet for the first time the secretary of state staffers they have talk to on the phone on a regular basis.

The conference also saw the changing of the guard, with Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane taking over for La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker as president. Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon is the president elect, while Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell was sworn in as vice president.

Former Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle was named an honorary lifetime clerk.  He was introduced by his successor,  Clerk Angela Myers.

“I look out upon this room and see lots of hardworking clerks. The work you do is challenging, but it is extremely important and the basis of our free society,” Doyle said.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Denver Clerk Debra Johnson and SOS staffers during the lip-synch competition at the Colorado County Clerks Association banquet Wednesday in Fort Collins. The group was introduced as "Lil Wayne and the Hanging Chads."
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Denver Clerk Debra Johnson and SOS staffers during the lip-synch competition at the Colorado County Clerks Association banquet Wednesday in Fort Collins. The group was introduced as “Lil Wayne and the Hanging Chads.”

After the banquet,  clerks and their staffs competed in a hilarious lip-sync contest. Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes and staffers took top prize for for their rendition of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”

Williams and his staff, along with Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, performed “Under Pressure.” They got a good laugh when they were introduced as “Lil’ Wayne and the Hanging Chads.”