Secretary Williams, “you’ve run a tip-top operation”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, left, with Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, and two SOS staffers, elections director Judd Choate and IT director Trevor Timmons, during Friday’s meeting before the Joint Budget Committee. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams received plenty of praise during his final appearances before two legislative committees, where he highlighted the office’s achievements and challenges.

The El Paso County Republican presented his budget requests to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee Friday morning, and later in the afternoon he discussed performance plans, regulatory and legislative agendas, and budget requests as part of the SMART Act hearing.

Legislative aide, Michael Templeton, who works for Sen. Lois Court, a Denver Democrat, center, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

“I’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with you and your office on a variety of issues over the years,” Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, and the chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, told Williams.

“I have to say, you’ve run a tip-top operation.”

Lawmakers on the the Joint State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee were equally complimentary later that day.

“I just want to thank you for your years of service to Colorado and the excellent job you’ve done as our secretary of state and how hard I know you’ve worked to be bipartisan as much as you can be,” said Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver.

“That takes a lot to do the kind of work you’ve done and to try to work as hard as you have across the aisle and I absolutely appreciate it, so thank you.”

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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.

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Elections guru praises Colorado’s methods

David Becker, right, with the center for Election Innovation and Research, was in Colorado one week ago for the primary election. In January, Becker attended the Colorado County Clerks Association Conference with Dwight Shellman, left, of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, and Jennifer Morrell, formerly the election director at the Arapahoe County Clerk’s office and now a consultant with Democracy Fund. (SOS photo)

Colorado received high praise from election security guru David Becker, who was in Colorado to observe the primary election one week ago.

Becker, the founder and director of Election Innovation & Research, wrote about what he observed in his blog.

“It was a great opportunity to watch professionals in their environment and see how their work isn’t static,” Becker said. “They are constantly seeking improvements in security and efficiency.”

This was the first time in Colorado history that unaffiliated voters were allowed to automatically participate.

“David asked to observe Colorado’s primary election to get a better sense of the security protocols we utilize and see our election in practice, Judd Choate, Colorado state elections director said. “We were happy to host him.”

Becker spent the day between the Secretary of State’s office and Denver Elections. He observed how a ballot is received and tabulated in Denver, and noted how calm the process is because most Coloradans vote by mail.

At the Secretary of State’s office, Becker witnessed information sharing about potential cyber threats throughout the day.

“Colorado and Denver County are at the leading edge of blending efficiency, convenience, and security for voters,” he said. “Even in the face of significant threats from foreign countries and others, thanks to examples like those in Colorado and Denver County – and many other places – election cybersecurity is improving substantially and will continue to improve through 2018 and 2020.”

All about U — and Loveland

The decorated wooden U by state Rep. Hugh McKean, a Loveland Republican who loves where he lives.

What do you mean you were “incredibly uncreative” when you decorated your U, Rep. Hugh McKean? It’s so, well, U! And it’s great.

The Loveland Republican is an unabashed homer who created the hashtag #LoveWhereILive. He hands out bookmarks, stickers and other items with the slogan, so it came as no surprise that he plastered his wooden U with them.

Rep. Hugh McKean and his wooden U.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams handed out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to help inform unaffiliated voters that for the first time they could participate in Colorado’s primary election.  The campaign also reminded unaffiliated voters who got both the Republican and Democratic ballot in the mail to only vote one. If they voted both, neither counted.

Clerks continue to process ballots, although the election ended at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Check out the incredible U’s decorated by McKean’s colleagues at the state Capitol. Senate President Kevin Grantham capitalized on his noteworthy mustache, while Sen. Kerry Donovan used her ranch experience — and that’s no bull.

The UChooseCO campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter and this blog.

All about U — and Grasslands

The U decorated by Ricardo Baca’s team at Grassland.

Ricardo Baca was just a kid when I met him at the Rocky Mountain News, where he worked from the time he was 18 until he was 22.  When I was briefly assigned to the city desk I used to urge him, “Get out of the office. Go and see things in person.”

Boy, did he, which I why I handed him one of the wooden U’s our office handed out as part of the UChooseCO campaign, and asked him to decorate it.

Talk about a career.  Baca, now 41, went on to work at The Denver Post, where he covered the music scene. He made national news in 2013 by becoming the editor of The Post’s publication, The Cannabist, devoted to covering Colorado’s marijuana industry.

He  left the Post — but not the marijuana world — in 2016 and founded Grasslands, described on its website as a “journalism-minded agency, helping clients in a variety of industries with informed public relations, thoughtful content marketing, contextual social media, top-notch thought leadership work, impactful newsletter campaigns and compelling event execution.” Westword described it as a “full-service agency for cannabis businesses.”

Ricardo Baca on April 20, 2017, when he filed his business registration with the Secretary of State’s office. (SOS photo)

I love that Baca filed his business registration with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on 4-20 in 2017 — and then asked if I were around so he could say hi.

When he posted a picture of his wooden U on social media he wrote:

  • bruvsI’m proud to live in a state that makes voting so accessible—and thank you to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for asking me to participate in the #UChooseCOcampaign. It’s so great that unaffiliated voters can now participate in Republican or Democratic primary elections in Colorado! Thanks to my Grasslands crew for helping me decorate this U, which seems like it was inspired by my December mg cover, lol. #democracy #grasslandsaf #voteordie

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams handed out the wooden U’s to help inform unaffiliated voters that for the first time they could participate in Colorado’s primary election. The campaign also remind unaffiliated voters who got both the Republican and Democratic ballot in the mail to only vote one. If they voted both, neither counted. Clerks continue to process ballots, although the election ended at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The UChooseCO campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter and this blog.