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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 5, 20172min2460

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.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 11, 20172min1283

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.

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 31, 20174min1030
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)

 

ColoradoPolitics.com’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)

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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 14, 20177min1482

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.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 6, 20174min870
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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.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 5, 20173min840

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.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 3, 20176min770

ColoradoPolitics.com’s Ernest Luning gave us all the details on the nuptials Saturday of Democratic star couple Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii at the Colorado governor’s mansion. And political-junkie-and-journalist-at-heart Lynn Bartels — off duty from her weekday job at the Secretary of State’s Office — brought us the mood of the moment via Twitter. Darned near every moment, in fact, as well as color commentary in a succession of tweets from the wedding of the state rep cum congressional candidate and the ProgressNow Colorado executive director. Plenty of pix, too, capturing a host of Colorado political luminaries who attended.

Here’s a sampling:


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 3, 20172min440

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.”