Almost 1,000 Coloradans sign up as part of National Voter Registration Day

Celebrating National Voter Registration Day at Civic Center Park were, from left to right, Alton Dillard, spokesman for Denver Elections; former Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson; Suzanne Staiert, deputy secretary of state; and Debra Johnson, Denver clerk and recorder. (SOS photo by Julia Sunny)

More than 900 Coloradans signed up to vote one week ago today, National Voter Registration Day, and almost half of them chose to be unaffiliated.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his deputy, Suzanne Staiert, made media appearances as part of NVRD and some election offices, such as Arapahoe, El Paso and Denver counties, hosted registration events.

In all, 953 people registered to vote in Colorado on Sept. 26, according to Secretary of State data released Monday. Of that, 454 registered as unaffiliated, 285 as Democrat, 190 as Republican and the rest were third-party members. The five top counties with the most registrants were:

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams appears on “Good Morning Colorado” with anchors Megan Kelly and Kirk Yuhnke to talk about voter registration and participation. (SOS photo)

El Paso: 139

Denver: 128

Arapahoe: 113

Larimer: 100

Jefferson: 81

In addition, Boulder County registered 63 people and Adams and Douglas counties each registered 61.

The National Association of Secretaries of State in 2012 designated September as National Voter Registration Month with the fourth Tuesday in September set as National Voter Registration Day to encourage voter participation and increase awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.

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The road less traveled — although Secretary Williams tried

The initial drive on Mosquito Pass seemed doable to Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his deputy, Suzanne Staiert, on Monday during their trek between Fairplay and Leadville. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams discovers that Mosquito Pass isn’t actually a “fastest” route. (SOS photo)

By Lizzie Stephani

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his deputy Suzanne Staiert learned the hard way this week that Google map’s choice of “County Road 12” as the “fastest” route between Fairplay and Leadville wasn’t so fast. That’s because the road is also known as Mosquito Pass.

Had they googled “Mosquito Pass” — which we all did at the office when they texted us about their dilemma — the first entry they would have seen was a website entitled “dangerous roads.”  Other entries talking about how the 10-mile pass has “humbled many egos” and features bowling-ball size boulders.

It turns out that the “fastest route” between Fairplay and Leadville features a road filled with boulders.

Williams and Staiert set off Monday to visit Park County Clerk Debra Green, then Lake County Clerk Patty Berger as part of Williams’ goal to visit every clerk’s office every year. The first few miles of the pass featured dirt, but then the stones appeared.

“When I got to the hairpin I told Wayne, ‘I’m not one to give up easily, but this isn’t a road,’” Staiert said.

Staiert was worried about damaging her Honda Pilot.  They turned around — no easy feat either — and took another route to Leadville, getting them to the clerk’s office in Lake County an hour later than planned.

Former state legislator Ken Chlouber of Leadville laughed when he heard about Williams’ and Staiert’s adventure on the pass.

“Fastest — by burro!” he said. “That’s something city folks should stay away from. That’ll eat up a Honda Pilot and spit it out.”

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Secretary of State’s office talks to voters

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to the Jefferson County Republican Party Wednesday night about two ballot measures what allow participation by unaffiliated voters and what that means for elections. (SOS photo)

By Lizzie Stephani

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office believes in educating voters on election issues, which is why the top folks agreed to speak to various groups this month.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Wednesday addressed the Jefferson County Republican Party, which had questions about two successful ballot measures that change the role of unaffiliated voters in primary elections.

“Colorado election law has changed and we want to make sure that our citizens understand the impact,” he said.

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert addressed voter privacy surrounding the President Tump’s request for voter data when she spoke to the Broomfield Democrats earlier this month and again to the League of Women Voters during a recent appearance in Lakewood.

“We’re hoping that by educating people and talking about it, we can get people to understand what happened and not be concerned that their information is public,” Staiert said.

Other questions posed at the League of Women Voters event concerned provisional ballots at the precinct level and due process for unaffiliated voters in primary elections.

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Bill aimed at 2018 election woes signed into law

Three generations of Nevilles pose with Gov Hickenlooper as he signs an elections measure into law. Also pictured, at right, is Tim Greismer, legislative liaison for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, and the deputy secretary of state, Suzanne Staiert. (SOS photo)

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an election petition bill into law designed to prevent some of the problems that plagued last year’s election and thrust a dog named Duke into the limelight.

Under House Bill 1088, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office will conduct signature verification on candidate petitions — previously only the address was checked. It also allows petition circulators to cure administrative deficiencies in their circulator affidavits.

In what is believed to be a legislative first, the measure signed into law was sponsored by a father-son duo. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, introduced House Bill 1088 with his father, Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton. The bill was first heard in committee in March.

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Gov. Hickenlooper signs campaign-finance reform measure into law

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs into law House Bill 1155 concerning campaign finance. Present are, left to right, Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, SOS  legislative liaison Tim Griesmer, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, and elections legal manager Ben Schler. (SOS photo)

Military voters will be protected and voter intent honored, candidates will be given a chance to correct errors on campaign-finance reports and avoid what could be absurd fines, and nonprofits will have enhanced ability to raise money under three bills Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law Tuesday.

“We want to establish common-sense processes to ensure that Coloradans can meet the requirements of the law,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “Working with legislators from both parties, we improved business, charity, and election procedures during this legislative session.”

Williams said he is pleased that nine of the 11 measures his office advocated for passed the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-led Senate during the 2017 session, which ended earlier this month. So far, seven of the bills have been signed into law — three on Tuesday — and two are awaiting action by the governor’s office.

Among the bills receiving action Tuesday: House Bill 1155, which allows candidates to cure campaign finance reports.

“I love this bill,” said the House sponsor, Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction. “It fixes a problem that led to ‘gotchas.'”

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