Lynn Bartels Archives - Colorado Politics

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 16, 20184min4800

…Which is of course not to say the media maven and messaging manager for Secretary of State Wayne Williams was drinking an IPA when she penned an enlightening blog post the other day about the number of beer references in Gov. John Hickenlooper’s State of the State speeches over the years. But it’s probably safe to assume the guv and the onetime, longtime political reporter share an affinity for the original carbonated beverage.

In any event, Bartels informs us the term-limited Hickenlooper, who delivered his eighth and last State of the State last week as the legislature opened has in fact “mentioned beer in at least six of his eight State of the State speeches.” Whether it’s because the petroleum geologist turned beer baron turned politician can’t resist playing pitch man, or because he simply loves a cold beer — or maybe the two considerations are one and the same? — Hick has been serving up brews in speech after speech.

This year, Bartels notes, it involved the governor extolling his fellow Coloradans’ love of their state:

‘It’s the growling of tractors in Brush’s Fourth  of July parade. It’s the smell of barbecue at the little league ball fields in Sterling on a summer night. If you’ve seen a sunrise over the plains, drank a cold beer after a day of hunting, or consider “Rocktober” a real month, you’ve experienced it.’

And later in the same speech, Bartels writes:

He also talked how in ancient Greece, discussions about hot topics took place over large dinners and lasted days.  There was no ‘cable TV debate or tweet storm,’ different viewpoints emerged and people ‘invested their time in each other, often fueled by wine.’

‘Here in Colorado, we’ll stick with beer,’ he said….

Last year, it was:

‘Lincoln once said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts”– and beer.’

Political (and beer) junkies can read Bartels’s full blog post for every meticulously catalogued beer reference throughout his years of speechifying.  Here’s the link again.

Meanwhile, permit us to fine-tune the guv’s reference to the ancient Greeks. They did by all accounts love their wine, but according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, beer was the Greeks’ backup beverage:

From Egypt, beer traveled to Greece (as evidenced by the similarity of another of the Egyptian’s word for beer, zytum and the ancient Greek for the beverage, zythos). The Greeks, however, as the Romans after them, favored strong wine over beer and considered the grainy brew an inferior drink of barbarians.

Well, OK, but maybe today’s Colorado could have sated ancient Greek and Roman tastes with one of our marvelous merlots from the West Slope’s wine country. We’ve got it all.

No wonder everyone wants to move here.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 29, 20173min4490

It wasn’t long ago that Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams penned a “Podium” commentary for us, pointing out for us how every vote can be pivotal. And leave it to the elections watchdogs at Williams’s office to provide us not one but 14 — yes, fourteen — examples from just this past election.

As Secretary of State’s Office information minister Lynn Bartels writes in her blog this week:

Longtime election officials in Adams County can’t remember the last time a contest was so close it required a mandatory recount, so there’s more than just a little surprise that the county must recheck the outcome in five — yes, five– races. …

… In all, 14 races statewide in the Nov. 7 coordinated election are subject to a mandatory recount and of those six were tied after local canvass boards certified results, underscoring the message Secretary of State Wayne Williams delivers when talking to Coloradans: Every vote counts. Williams was the El Paso County clerk and recorder when two school board races were decided by a single vote, and a municipal tax question failed because it was tied.

Some of the races are real photo finishes, writes Bartels:

Among the tied races was a school board contest in Julesberg, where voters were to select three directors from six hopefuls. Tammy Aulston and Daniella Fowler were tied for the third slot at 225 votes each and they remained tied after the canvas board conducted the recount, Sedgwick County Clerk Chris Beckman said.

What’s more:

Under state law, if candidates are still tied the winner is determined by lot. So on Nov. 16 — more than a week after the election — Aulston and Fowler’s names were put into a bowl.  Aulston’s name was drawn, so she was elected.

Bartels writes about those nail biters and more; what you could call a true cautionary tale. Read the full blog post; here’s the link again.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 5, 20172min2930

Leave it to veteran newshound Lynn Bartels — now of course the communications chief for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams — to follow up with some hard data from last week’s celebration of National Voter Registration Day. In a nutshell, the unaffiliated voters carried the day — as is increasingly the case in Colorado elections.

As Bartels reports on her blog, 953 people registered to vote in Colorado on Tuesday of last week; 454 of those opted to become unaffiliated, 285 went Democrat, and 190 registered as Republicans. The rest affiliated with third parties. Bottom line: Voters continue to give the cold shoulder to the two major parties, and the state remains purple — at least, as far as voter registration goes.

The data was released by the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday. Here’s more —

The five top counties with the most registrants were:

El Paso: 139

Denver: 128

Arapahoe: 113

Larimer: 100

Jefferson: 81

In addition, Boulder County registered 63 people and Adams and Douglas counties each registered 61.

Bartels points out:

Colorado boasts the highest percentage of registered voters in America among its eligible population. In addition, the turnout among registered voters in Colorado in the 2016 presidential election was 74.5 percent, the fourth highest in the nation, with 2.9 million voters casting ballots.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 11, 20172min1924

Noteworthy on Lynn Bartels’s blog last week: a piece by her fellow Secretary of State’s Office staffer, Julia Sunny, on a visit from an Alaskan delegation studying Colorado’s success with mail ballots. Alaska is considering a move to all-mail balloting, Sunny reports.

Included was this nugget:

Colorado is one of the top five states in the country for voter turnout, due in part to its mail-ballot system for elections.

…And this:

Secretary (of State Wayne) Williams, Colorado elections director Judd Choate, and county support manager Dwight Shellman, sat down with the Alaskan officials to discuss Colorado elections’ processes and what Colorado does to maintain the integrity of elections.

Shellman explained the innovative risk-limiting audits system Colorado will utilize in the next election. Colorado is the first state to implement statewide RLAs to elections, a new and better type of post-election audit.

Taken together, they could provide reassurance in the face of periodic concerns over voter participation as well as ballot security in the Centennial State. The misgivings come from across the political spectrum — typically around election time, of course — and range from worries that voter registration procedures could disfranchise some segments of the community, to concerns that mail ballots could compromise election integrity.

Sunny’s report reminds us Colorado’s election system is viewed as a template for other states. We must be doing something right.



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 31, 20174min1790
Cowboys and cowgirls mingle at the Denver Rustlers: Rep. Susan Lontine of Denver, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, and Denver Elections director Amber McReynolds. (SOS photo)’s Joey Bunch gave you an eyeful of the Denver Rustlers in his coverage of the civic group’s annual ride Tuesday from the Queen City of the Prairie to the sultry Steel City, home of the Colorado State Fair. Yet, no coverage of the annual charitable event — involving Colorado’s political potentates and business big shots — would be complete without getting Lynn Bartels’s take.

Owing to her decades in the news biz, the former political correspondent and now minister of information for the Secretary of State’s Office is on a first-name basis with many of the state’s high and mighty — and has a keen eye for capturing them in pictures and in print. She didn’t disappoint with her rendering of this year’s Rustler ride, which she posted on her blog. She included some great pics, which (apologies to Bartels) are reprised here — Lynn’s captions and all:


Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway and former state agricultural secretary Don Ament at the Denver Rustlers lunch at Del Frisco’s. (SOS photo)


Republicans Pete Coors and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner at the Denver Rustlers event. (SOS photo)


Gathered for Tuesday’s Denver Rustler’s event: Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch, and Wes Friednash and Josh Hanfling, who both help oversee the event. (SOS photo)


Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. (SOS photo)


Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 14, 20177min2442

Democratic Secretary of State candidate Jena Griswold blasted Republican incumbent Wayne Williams on Friday for agreeing to go along with a White House election commission's request for voter data even as privacy advocates challenged its legality and thousands of Colorado voters were canceling their registrations. But a spokeswoman for Williams said the secretary has simply been following the law by treating  the state's voter rolls as public records.


Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 6, 20174min2370
black caucus
Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver (Photo courtesy of the Colorado General Assembly)

The Colorado legislature’s Democratic Black Caucus formally asked Secretary of State Wayne Williams not to play ball with President Trump’s election integrity commission Thursday. A week ago Williams said he would provide only publicly available data and shield personal voter information.

“While Trump and Republicans in Washington continue to peddle this false narrative of illegal votes in the 2016 presidential election, this request is simply another form of voter suppression,” state Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver, a member of the Black Caucus, said in a statement.

“Colorado voters should always have access to fair and secure elections. I hope Secretary Williams will refuse the commission’s request for anything beyond public record and show Washington that Coloradans want to encourage voter participation, not hinder it.”

The caucus sent a letter to Williams, a Republican. The text of the letter is available here.

“Williams had said in numerous interviews that he has no intention of giving the commission anything but what is publicly allowable under the law – the same kind of information that we provide to the members of the black caucus and their party when they are campaigning for office,” said Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office and a close friend of this article’s author.

She noted the office works to encourage participation by state’s 3.6 million voters, not hinder it.  Colorado, Bartels said, has the highest percentage of voter participation nationwide, 87 percent of the eligible population, among other participation superlatives.

Other Black Caucus members are:

  • Rep. James Rashad Coleman of Denver.
  • Rep. Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs.
  • Rep. Janet Thomas Buckner of Aurora.
  • Rep. Jovan E. Melton of Aurora.
  • Rep. Dominique Nikki Jackson of Aurora.
  • Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora.
  • Sen. Angela Williams of Denver.

House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Democrat from Denver, stood with the Black Caucus Thursday.

“The Black Caucus has legitimate concerns that the presidential commission’s overreach could ultimately lead to restricted ballot access
and voter suppression,” she said in a statement. “I and other members of the legislature, including the Black Caucus, look forward
to continuing our work with Secretary Williams to protect the integrity of Colorado’s election system.”

Other legislative Democrats endorsing the letter were Reps. Susan Lontine of Denver, Alec Garnett of Denver, Paul Rosenthal of Denver, Mike Foote of Lafayette, KC Becker of Boulder, Chris Kennedy of Lakewood, Diane Mitsch Bush of Steamboat Springs. Dafna Michaelson Jenet of Commerce City, Joe Salazar of Thornton, Adrienne Benavidez of Commerce City, Faith Winter of Westminster, Mike Weissman of Aurora, Daneya Esgar of Pueblo, Jeni Arndt of Fort Collins and Donald Valdez of Pueblo.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 5, 20173min1620

Weddings generally are cheerier occasions than funerals, yet they have something in common: Both are at least as much about family, friends and guests as they are about the individuals in the spotlight. Which is another reason we seem to be obsessing over the wedding the other day of Democratic star couple Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii — she, the state rep now running for Congress in CD 7; he, the executive director of ProgressNow Colorado — and, please, permit us just one more take on the happening.

Sure, they’re a lovely couple, but the A-listers who showed up for the event at the governor’s mansion make for a story in their own right. Politics-and-media maven at large Lynn Bartels, an A-lister in her own right, attended and offered the rest of us a glimpse at the guest list:

Their wedding Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion was such a Demapalooza that Sen. Lois Court joked enough lawmakers were present to go into an emergency special session and vote to fund the energy office.

Former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst officiated. …

… The current occupant of CD 7, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, is running for governor. He and his wife Nancy were at the wedding. Other guests included U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and his wife, Susan Daggett; former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, former state Rep. Wilma Webb; the current lieutenant governor, Donna Lynne; former Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien (Brittany ran her campaign for Denver school board), and Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, who served in the House with Brittany when Ian was a House staffer.

And if you’re wondering why Lynn doesn’t just write for this blog — we rely on her so often as a source — well, she already has a blog of her own. Besides, she snapped some fabulous photos of Saturday’s big event.