Praise for Yuma High School and its voter-registration efforts

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with Navil Babonoyaba and Andrea Hermosillo, two Yuma High School graduates who got 96 percent of their class to register to vote during the last school year. Yuma High was honored during an awards ceremony Friday. (SOS photo/Judd Choate)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with Navil Babonoyaba and Andrea Hermosillo, two Yuma High School graduates who got 96 percent of their class to register to vote during the last school year. Yuma High was honored during an awards ceremony Friday. (SOS photo/Judd Choate)

Two of Colorado’s top leaders shared their high school experiences when honoring Yuma High School on Friday for its effort in registering its seniors to vote.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — a 1993 Yuma High grad — addressed students at an afternoon assembly at Yuma High School.

“It’s easy to participate but a lot of folks don’t do that. Instead they complain. They whine,” Williams said. “But you have a couple of students here who took some leadership and they did something different. They got their peers registered to vote.

“I’m just ecstatic to be here at Yuma High School.”

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Yuma County clerk soon will solemnly swear

Yuma County Clerk Bev Wenger and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in the building that houses election equipment. (SOS photo)
Yuma County Clerk Bev Wenger and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in the building that houses election equipment and serves as a voter service center. (SOS photo)

Yuma County Clerk Bev Wenger is headed to Kansas in January to testify at the trial of Lincoln Wilson, who has admitted voting in Yuma County in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and in Sherman County, Kan., in the same elections.

A Colorado DA declined to prosecute Wilson, saying because he voted in Yuma County first he did not commit voter fraud, but the Kansas secretary of state has filed charges against the 65-year-old Republican. The case prompted Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams to successfully push for legislation that allows Colorado to prosecute an errant voter, no matter where the first ballot was cast.

Wenger discussed the case with Williams on Friday when he visited her office in Wray to check on readiness for the Nov. 8 election. Yuma County has a spacious building across the street from the courthouse that it uses for its election operations — and to store its award-winning Christmas tree made with license plates.

“I’m so appreciative that the secretary has taken time to visit and to listen to our concerns,” she said.

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Secretary Wayne Williams encourages Inspire Colorado members

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Cherry Creek High School students at the Inspire Colorado awards dinner Sunday at History Colorado. From left to right: Patrick Neuens, Sarah Hait, Williams, Kara Henry and Julie Phillips.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Cherry Creek High School students at the Inspire Colorado awards dinner Sunday at History Colorado. From left to right: Patrick Neuens, Sarah Hait, Williams, Kara Henry and Julie Phillips. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams urged high school students with Inspire Colorado to stay involved in democracy even after they graduate from high school.

He said they could volunteer with a campaign or march in a parade.

Eaglecrest High School students Josh Rasp and Kara Hancock at the Inspire Colorado dinner, where Rasp received an award. (SOS photo.)
Eaglecrest High School students Josh Rasp and Kara Hancock at the Inspire Colorado dinner, where Rasp received an award. (SOS photo.)

“You have a chance to continue to make a difference,” Williams said during Inspire Colorado’s awards dinner Sunday night at History Colorado. “That is my hope for you.”

It was the third time that Williams has addressed the group since its inception last year. The nonpartisan organization works with high school juniors and seniors to prepare them for the responsibility of voting as they began to reach eligibility, at age 18. Members do that by registering their fellow students to vote and doing get-out-the-vote efforts for elections.

The youth-led group recently hosted a candidate forum at History Colorado, where Williams also spoke.

Yuma High School seniors Navil Babonoyaba, Rubi Rodriquez and Andrea Hermosillo with Josh Hardesty, the program coordinator for Inspire Colorado. Hermosillo won an award from the group. (SOS photo)
Yuma High School seniors Navil Babonoyaba, Rubi Rodriquez and Andrea Hermosillo with Josh Hardesty, the program coordinator for Inspire Colorado. Hermosillo won an award from the group. (SOS photo)

At the dinner, attended by students and their families, Inspire Colorado handed out two Outstanding Inspired Leader Awards.

Eaglecrest High School junior Josh Rasp got almost 90 percent of the senior class to register to vote. Eaglecrest is in Centennial.  Yuma High School senior Andrea Hermosillo got almost 95 percent.

Rasp attended the event with his parents and brother Jake and his girlfriend Kara Hancock.

Hermosillo attend with fellow Yuma students Navil Babonoyaba and Rubi Rodriguez. Both Hermosillo and Babonoyaba addressed the Inspire Colorado crowd.