Mea culpa: the uproar over Colorado voter data rolls

“We applaud Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams for turning over only that data that is legally releasable, and dismiss as politically opportunistic calls from some that he should have turned his back to the commission’s request entirely.” –The Grand Junction Sentinel

Hundreds of Coloradans have called, e-mailed or written to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in recent days, urging Secretary Wayne Williams to refuse to turn over public voter roll data to a commission appointed by President Donald Trump.

Had Williams announced he had no intention of doing so, he might have been a hero to some judging from the angry comments we have received. He also would have been breaking the law and setting, he believes, a dangerous precendent.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, right, addresses the National Association of Secretaries of State last week in Indianapolis. To his left is California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. (Photo credit: Jonathan Hawkins Photography for NASS)

“Colorado law does not permit the secretary of state, county election officials or anyone else to say, ‘I’m only going to give it to the people I like,’ or, ‘I’m only going to give it to my friends,’ or, ‘I’m only going to give it to the people in my party,’” Williams said at a news conference last week.

“That is not a provision of Colorado law, nor do you want to put such a provision in place where only favored people can receive that information.”

In the meantime, Williams sponsored a resolution unanimously adopted this week at the National Association of Secretaries of States’ summer conference in Indianapolis. It reiterated that states are in charge of elections.

The furor over the White House’s request was felt from sea to shining sea, but I feel guilty about the depth of the angst in Colorado.

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Cherry Creek Mall: Didn’t you watch Hickenlooper’s 2003 campaign ad?


John Hickenlooper’s 2003 mayoral ad “Change.”

The headline today on a ColoradoPolitics blog read, “Hyper-local politics in Denver: It’s all about parking,” referring to an “uproar” in Cherry Creek.

“Hel-lo!” Businessman John Hickenlooper taught us that lesson in 2003, when he was one of pack of candidates running in the first open Denver mayor’s race in a dozen years. An early poll showed him tied — for fifth place.

Then came Hickenlooper’s folksy, funny ad featuring his showdown with a parking meter attendant. Hickenlooper used an actual change belt tied to his waist, handed out coins to drivers and even fed money into an expired meter in LoDo.

How good was that ad? Did the spot tap in to the frustration of drivers wanting to hang out in downtown Denver? Well, now we call him Gov. Hickenlooper.

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Voters did come home for Donald Trump

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

I sat down at the bar at Maggiano’s the other day, opened up the Oct. 25th edition of The Denver Post and read how Democrat Hillary Clinton had all but won the presidential race.

By that time, Nov. 8 had already passed and Republican Donald Trump had shocked plenty of people in his own party as well as Democrats when he coasted to victory.

Some background is necessary: If I don’t get around to reading the newspaper, I throw it in my trunk and then grab one if I am at some event and know I’m early. Such was the case recently when I randomly grabbed a Post from the car.

One story was about how vice presidential candidate Mike Pence was imploring fellow Republicans “still wary of Donald Trump ‘it’s time to come home.” The article said, “Pence is promoting the idea that he and Trump can still win a race that some pundits say is becoming a foregone conclusion.”

Another article said that young white voters are “shifting toward” Clinton in the closing stretch of the presidential race.

And then there was the story about how the Trump team was publicly and privately saying crucial Pennsylvania may be slipping away to Clinton, although Trump blasted “phony” polls and said, “I believe we’re actually winning.”  BTW, Trump carried Pennsylvania, with 48.2 percent compared to Clinton’s 47.5 percent.

I don’t know what my reaction had been if I had actually read these stories on Oct. 25 — none were written by Post staffers, but were from wire outlets — but reading them after the election was like having a cup of cold water thrown in my face. Talk about getting it all wrong.