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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 3, 20172min273

You say you’d like some reassuring news, for a change, about the state of our democratic process? How’s this: Whatever role the Russians or anyone else may have played — or attempted to — in last November’s U.S. election, Colorado’s elections sentinels are on the lookout for any breaches in the cyber security of the state’s voting systems. Not an airtight guarantee, but it is cause to breathe a bit easier.

That’s one of the takeaways from last week’s Colorado County Clerks Association conference in Snowmass Village, per a blog post by Lynn Bartels, communications chief for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Her office works closely with Colorado’s frontline elections honchos, the county clerks, to employ the the latest security safeguards. In an informative wrap on the conference, Bartels blogs:

(Secretary of State’s Office information security point man Rich) Schliep said the goal of the office is to “work hard and smart when it comes to our elections.”

“Voting guarantees all of our other rights. We want to continue to uphold the integrity of our elections and ensure United States citizens have confidence in our elections process,” he said. …

… “We are always improving technologies such as secure file transfer systems and improved zero day malware detection tools,” Schliep said.

Also:

“Election administration is about mitigating risk,” said Amber McReynolds, Denver’s election director. “Security is critical and serious and as election officials we must partner with the best, whether that is inside the jurisdiction, or outside the organization.”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 9, 20173min547

Remember Republican rising star Jon Keyser’s highly touted but short-lived bid for the U.S. Senate last year? His ambitions imploded en route to last June’s GOP primary amid findings that a worker had forged signatures to land him a spot on the primary ballot.

In the end, paid petition circulator Maureen Marie Moss, 45, was sentenced to four years probation on each of two forgery counts along with 250 hours of community service. Keyser faded from the political scene.

A bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. John Hickenlooper will improve the state’s ability to weed out such fraud on the petitions used by many candidates to qualify for their party primaries.

When it takes effect Aug. 9, House Bill 1088 will require the Secretary of State’s Office to compare each signature on a candidate petition with the signature stored in the statewide voter registration database. Under the current system, the state only verifies the address listed for each voter signing a petition.

The proposal was sponsored in the 2017 legislative session by Republican House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock along with his dad, Republican Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton.

A press release from the House GOP quoted the junior Neville:

“This new law will protect the integrity of the petition process, and ensure every candidate has an equal opportunity to get their name on the ballot. … The unanimous support from my colleagues for this legislation shows the importance of protecting the petition process, and I am thankful for all the support and assistance we received to pass this bill.” 

By the way, Keyser landed on his feet though not in politics. As we noted a while back, he is now a corporate counsel with motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee.



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 7, 20172min323

…and we admit we’re a day late ourselves in recognizing this celebration of all the ways, great and small, that the nonprofit community makes a difference in people’s lives around the state.

(Thanks are in order to to Secretary of State’s Office media empress Lynn Bartel’s for nudging us with a related blog post on Monday. It served to remind us not only of the weeklong observance but also of the fact that Renny Fagan, the onetime Colorado Springs Democratic state representative and longtime serial public servant, is still president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association. And he’s looking as good as ever. Really, just look at his photo above; only the hair is a tad grayer.)

Colorado Nonprofit Week showcases a different focus for each day of the week. For example, Monday was billed as the “Day of Impact,” focusing on the mission of nonprofits. Today is “Day of Advocacy,” on which nonprofit staffers, members and supporters descend on the Capitol to check in on the legislature and engage with lawmakers. See the rest of the week’s activities and observances here.

While we’re on the subject, forgive this rare, shameless plug: Let this week inspire you to find a nonprofit that fits your values and priorities. Then, embrace its work.


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James AndersonJames AndersonMarch 1, 20177min388

A bill aimed at modernizing Colorado's Open Records Act has survived its first Senate hearing — but with an amendment that could mean trouble down the road. The GOP-led Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted 4-1 Wednesday to send Senate Bill 40 by Democratic Sen. John Kefalas to the Senate Appropriations Committee.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinJanuary 5, 201710min640

A proposed initiative to limit growth survived two protests before the Colorado Secretary of State's Initiative Title Setting Review Board, although some wording changes were made to clarify and address some of the concerns. The Wednesday, Jan. 4, hearing concerned what is being called Initiative 4 for the 2018 general election ballot, a measure proposed by Dan Hayes of Golden that would place a 1 percent annual increase limit on new housing building permits in 2019 and 2020 in 10 Front Range counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld. That limit would stay in place unless amended or repealed by voters in each county, starting in 2021. The measure would also allow the rest of Colorado's counties to set local housing growth limits through voter-approved initiatives and referendums, specifies the number of signatures needed to put housing limits on the ballot and how petitions can be challenged.



Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsDecember 8, 201616min442

DENVER — Good morning holiday shoppers … Just two more weekends of manic buying before Christmas Day. Yippee! Of course, it’s also the time of year when we're over-scheduled with office parties, block parties, decorating parties, school parties … every kind of party. AGAIN, yippee. We do want to thank the members of Colorado’s Lincoln Club for a look into their Christmas party this week. (We appreciate the e-mail and pictures, you guys.) How do political insiders celebrate the holidays? Why talking state politics, of course!