Wednesday is Colorado Day

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams during his trip to visit the county clerk and recorders this summer in Jackson and Grand counties. (SOS photo)

On Aug 1, 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation of statehood for Colorado, making our colorful state the 38th member of the Union. Now, 142 years later, many across Colorado are celebrating with free admissions to parks on Aug 6, cooking up a classic Colorado meal or by attending any number of the cultural events in Denver this week.

Chris Cash, the charities program manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. (SOS photo)

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne will celebrate Colorado Day at the History Colorado Center at 10 a.m. Wednesday. (Here’s a list of events at History Colorado for the day.)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has lived in Colorado for 26 years and enjoys life with his wife Holly and family in Colorado Springs. He said the beautiful weather, friendly people, and “can-do” attitude drew him to Colorado as a recent University of Virginia law school graduate.

Colorado native Chris Cash, the charities program manager for the SOS, grew up in Boulder and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.

“Like everybody else, I love the mountains,” Cash said. “As a youngster, I especially valued skiing. Now that I have no knees and I-70 is impassable it’s practically irrelevant, so I find other ways to enjoy the outdoors.”

Among other Secretary of State staffers, enthusiasm also runs high for the Centennial State.  Just last month, Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler hiked to the summit of San Luis Peak as part of the #UChooseCO campaign.

Read moreWednesday is Colorado Day

Shout it from the mountaintop: All about U voting just one ballot

Colorado Secretary of State staffers Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler took the UChooseCO message to San Luis Peak: If you’re an unaffiliated voter, only turn in one ballot.

Here’s to Colorado Secretary of State staffers Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler who took  the UChooseCO message to the mountaintop: unaffiliated voters, if you get two ballots, only vote bone.

The pair climbed one Colorado’s 14’ers, San Luis Peak, on Tuesday, carrying with them a sign and the wooden U with the following message wood burned into it: “Just vote one.”

The wooden U from Secretary of State staffers Tim Griesmer and Ben Schler.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in Tuesday’s primary election, but they can only vote one ballot.

Unaffiliated voters could tell their clerks which ballot they wanted to receive. Those who did not indicate a preference got both the Republican and Democratic ballots — but they can only vote one.

Other SOS staffers have decorated U’s,  including myself and Secretary Williams and Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert.

Lawmakers, county clerks, even Denver International Airport  have put their artistic touch on the U’s. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Schler praised Griesmer for carrying the sign on his back even though the wind kept wanting to “rip that sign off.”

And speaker of 14’ers, nearly everyone agrees that the wooden U from Chaffee County, home to 12 of the state’s 58 mountain peaks 14,000 feet or higher, is one of the best. Good job, Clerk Lori Mitchell.

All about U — and enjoying life

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert and her wooden U.

A chaise lounge. Wine glasses. A sign to the pool. Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne’s Staiert’s decorated U is totally her.

The state seal was a nice touch, too, considering the Secretary of State has control over the use of the seal. And here’s to the flip flops above the V O T E.

Secretary Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in the June 26 primary election, but they can only vote one ballot. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

Other staffers also have decorated U’s including myself and Secretary Williams, while some SOS U’s are still in the design stage. (Tim Griesmer, get on it.)

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. They’ve been decorated by lawmakers, county clerks, a former mayor and a former governor. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Governor signs two bills backed by Secretary of State Williams

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs into law two-elections related measures as Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, to the governor’s right, SOS staffers, lobbyists, lawmakers and election activists look on. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Deputy Secretary Suzanne Staiert looked on this week as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law two bills  that will help to make Colorado’s elections even more accurate, accessible and transparent.

One measure involved updating and changing current election law, while the other concerns voter registration and the criminal justice system.

Williams often reminds Coloradans that when he took office in 2015 he was told that because the Senate was controlled by Republicans and the House by Democrats he would have a hard time getting anything through the split legislature. Instead, a majority of the legislation his office has worked on or testified on behalf of has passed.

“I think we continue to dispel the myth,” the secretary said, “that election issues have to be partisan and, yes, you can get things done.”

Here’s a look at the two bills signed Tuesday:

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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.

Read moreBill aimed at 2018 election woes signed into law