Here come the unaffiliated voters

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams listens to questions Friday in Grand Junction as part of the UChooseCO campaign, intended to help unaffiliated voters learn their new role in the primary election. To his right is an inflatable 8-foot “U.” Participants were asked to write on it something that represented their values. Williams later penned, “Community.” (SOS photo)

GRAND JUNCTION — Bob Cook’s an unaffiliated voter in Mesa County who was asked to speak at the kickoff for a  campaign designed to help educate unaffiliated voters about their new role in the primary election.

He’s also the pastor of the Victory Life Church in Fruita, which is why minutes before the news conference on Friday he pretended to pull a speech from his jacket and said, “He is risen.”

Pastor Bob Cook is an unaffiliated voter in Mesa County. (SOS photo)

That got some laughs but Cook saved that sermon for today and instead dealt with the ballot measure Coloradans passed in 2016. Proposition 108 allows unaffiliated voters to automatically participate in primary elections without having to declare membership in either the Republican or the Democratic party. But they must choose between the Republican or Democratic ballot.

Cook was joined by Secretary of State Wayne Williams, clerks from three counties and several Mesa County elected officials to launch the UChooseCO campaign.

The goal is to let unaffiliated voters know they can now participate in primary elections, that they can choose whether they want to receive a Republican or a Democratic ballot and those who don’t will get both ballots but can only vote one.

“I hope that unaffiliated voters will do exactly what this campaign is designed to do: Take advantage of the chance to participate but just don’t mail in both the Republican and the Democratic ballots because that wipes out your vote,” Cook  said.

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Delta County welcomes Wayne Williams

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and four election judges at the Delta County clerk’s office on Monday. The judges are, left to right, Debbie Cole, Laura Earley, Susie Johnson and Judy Briscoe. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams always gets rave reviews about Dominion Voting Systems, the firm he selected to provide voting equipment to counties statewide, but during his visit to Delta County on Monday he heard a first:

The system is so fast, so efficient, that the work of checking in ballots and checking for signatures gets done in a much shorter period of time.

Delta County Clerk Teri Stephenson and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Monday at her office in Delta. (SOS photo)

“That means we don’t get to spend as much time together,” election judge Debbie Cole told Williams when he stopped by the Delta County Clerk and Recorder’s office to visit with Clerk Teri Stephenson and her staff.

At that lament, Williams let out a huge laugh. He told the judges he had never heard that one before.

Stephenson said the election judges told her afterward how surprised they were that the secretary of state “was such a down-to-earth, normal guy.”

“And we always brag on our election judges so it was great that Wayne got to meet some of them,” she said. “They are just an awesome group and they get along so well.”

Election supervisor Rene Loy said the volunteer election judges who showed up Tuesday were bummed they missed a visit by the secretary of state.

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