Secretary Williams talks dollars and sense to JBC

Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks with lawmakers and members of the Joint Budget Committee Tuesday before a hearing on the department’s budget. Left to right: Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction; Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley; Secretary Williams; Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud; and JBC Chairwoman Millie Hamner, D-Dillon. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams highlighted the office’s achievements and challenges when he presented his budget requests to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday.

“We work very hard to make sure we provide the services that Colorado expects and deserves and our paying for with their fees,” he said. “I’m proud that we are able to do that with business fees that are among the lowest in the nation.

Secretary Wayne Williams, the SOS’ budget director, Brad Lang, and Rep. Susan Beckman, R-Littleton, at Tuesday’s Joint Budget Committee hearing. (SOS photo)

“As the state grows, as our processes change, we need to keep pace with that. We need not to be caught napping and waiting and our budget anticipates that.”

He noted the office is working on an information campaign to educate voters about Colorado’s first open primary next June, when unaffiliated voters will receive a ballot and must decide whether to vote the Democratic or Republican ticket.

Voters last year approved that measure with the passage of Proposition 108 and Williams has been on a speaking tour, explaining it to Colorado voters. He will address the League of Women Voters in Durango on Saturday.

He told the JBC that Colorado has just completed the first ever in the nation risk limiting audit, which is an audit of the state’s elections based on mathematical algorithms.

“That provides us with a statistically significant probability that the state’s elections systems correctly tabulated Coloradans ballots,” Williams said.

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Secretary Williams finds plenty to say

Dawn Bryan, Tamra Farah, Evie Ashmore and Judy Allen pose for a photo before the start of the Douglas County Republican women lunch on Wednesday in Lone Tree. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has been on the speaking circuit in recent weeks, answering questions about voter lists, election security and how it will work next year when unaffiliated voters get mailed a Democrat and a Republican ballot for the primary.

Williams is scheduled to address Colorado Mesa University’s political club on Friday, and he will appear with Sen. Angela Williams — no relation but they joke about being brother and sister — at a town hall in Denver on Nov. 2. He or his deputy have spoken to two chapters of the League of Women voters, and the Broomfield Democrats and the Jeffco Republicans.

Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet listens as Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addresses the Douglas County Republican Women’s group. (SOS photo)

“Colorado lets people vote,” Williams told the Douglas County Republican Women on Wednesday in Lone Tree.

“I grew up in a community in Virginia where there was no school board election, they were appointed. I grew up in a community where you didn’t get to vote on tax increases, on ballot questions.

“You have the right to vote here and Coloradans treasure that right.”

This fall’s coordinated election is Nov. 7. There is no statewide ballot measure, but voters will consider school board races, City Council races in some jurisdictions and local tax measures. Clerks could mail ballots starting Monday.

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Colorado, the “Burger King of elections”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to Coloradans 50 and older about elections and other issues. He and Elena Nunez, the director of Common Cause, addressed an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class on Tuesday. (SOS photo)

Colorado is “kind of the Burger King of elections,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams told a class Tuesday during a talk with seniors learning about government.

Williams and Elena Nunez, executive director of Common Cause Colorado, spoke to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a program through the University of Denver that provides adult learning for men and women age 50 and “better.”

Williams explained that Colorado is the only state that offers a mail-ballot system, early voting and polling-place locations two weeks before an election.

“So it’s kind of the Burger King of elections, right?” he said. “Having it your way, however you want to do it.”

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Secretary Williams talks about primary elections, voter fraud and more

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams mingles with members of the League of Women Voters Denver before speaking to the group Monday night. (SOS photo)

Most Colorado counties are holding elections this November, but to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ dismay the turnout won’t be anything like last year’s presidential election, when 2.9 million Coloradans participated.

“Off-year elections” usually involve school board races and tax issues for local districts. Some cities are holding council elections.

“These are issues that can directly affect your property values,” Williams said. “Given how much is at stake, I think it’s absurd that people aren’t going to vote in the upcoming election.”

Williams also disputed claims of massive voter fraud.

“I’ve seen no evidence of millions of people voting illegally,” he told the League of Women Voters. “We have found instances of people voting in Colorado and other states at the same time, and we are investigating that.”

It was the secretary’s third talk on election issues in 10 days.

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Secretary Williams seeking input on primary election measure

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is seeking input from county clerks about a measure voters approved last year that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without having to declare membership as a Republican or a Democrat.

Peter Severson, Secretary Wayne Williams and Elena Nunez after the Colorado Social Legislation Committee meeting Jan. 30. Severson is director of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry and the chair of the CSLC, and Elena Nunez, is executive director of Common Cause and secretary of the CSLC. (SOS photo)

Proposition 108 will go into -ffect before the June 2018 primary election where Coloradans will select nominees for governor, secretary of state and other races. Williams and clerks want answers now on how the measure might work.

“You might be saying, ‘Why is there a rush because it’s a year later that you have to deal with it?'” Williams said when he addressed the Colorado Social Legislation Committee at its Jan. 30 meeting.

He explained the measure means additional costs for county clerks, who must present budget requests to their county commissioners after the start of the fiscal year on July 1. The new method will require more judges and more ballots.

Other groups also have asked Williams to speak on the measure and its companion, Proposition 107, which creates a presidential primary. Williams will discuss the measures at Leadership Jefferson County, which will meet at the Capitol on March. 8.

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