Colorado secretary of state visits Summit during voting season
October 22, 2015
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams paid a visit to Summit County last week as part of a statewide tour to provide election support for county clerks and promote new projects to improve voter registration.
"I like to get a feel for how the election is run outside of Denver," he said.
Prior to taking office this January, he had been the clerk and recorder in El Paso County starting in 2011. He also served as a county commissioner in El Paso from 2003 to 2011.
"I know what its like to be from a rural county," he said.
Summit County Clerk and Recorder Kathleen Neel welcomed the visit and noted the agencies strong working relationship.
"I think it's great that he stops in and touches base," she said. "We have a good relationship with that office, which is good for the citizens, as well as us."
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With Williams' prior experience, Neel feels a natural camaraderie.
"He's been in these shoes before," she said.
Although at this point in the election cycle most of the mail in Neel's office is incoming ballots, she said there are still a few days remaining for ballots to be mailed out.
"Tuesday, Oct. 27 is the last day we can mail out a ballot," she said.
If you are still patiently waiting for your ballot to arrive at your post office box, she advises you contact her office.
"Lots of people move around Summit County," she said. "Please call us because they don't forward ballots."
The clerk and recorders office can verify your information, so you can register to vote on Election Day or cast an early ballot next week.
She also said on Nov. 3, the clerk and recorders office would be closed for all non-election services, including motor vehicle, public search room and recording office.
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While Williams expressed no concerns over election procedures in Summit County, he said there are huge needs around the state.
In many smaller jurisdictions, routine issues such as where ballots are counted can become tricky, as there are generally not year-round rooms dedicated for such purposes, he explained.
Also on the agenda during his trip to Summit County were recent efforts his office has undertaken to help conduct business remotely.
"It's a big state and just about everything is online," he said. "You should not have to come to Denver to do business with the state."
On Oct. 20, Colorado became the first state in the country to make business certification services available over the Internet.
"If you want to start a business or a nonprofit, you should be able to do it from your living room," he opined.
Previously certifications were obtained, for a fee, by mail or in person at the Secretary of State's office in Denver, but the online services are provided at no cost.
Back in August, Williams was in attendance at a ribbon cutting for the Colorado DRIVES project, which aims to provide a modern, user-friendly digital medium to process driver's licenses and vehicle registrations. The previous computer systems were at least 20 years old.
Colorado DRIVES is short for Drivers License, Record, Identification and Vehicle Enterprise Solution.
"Many people register to vote for the first time when they obtain their driver's license," he wrote in a press release. "This allows us to improve the process of updating someone's voter registration when that person updates his or her driver's license."
When updates are made to addresses or voter registration information, the new Colorado DRIVES system automatically shares the information with the Secretary of State's office. Gov. John Hickenlooper said the goal is to reduce wait times in state driver's license offices to an average of 15 minutes.
Reducing or eliminating waiting times is a recurring theme in much of Williams' undertakings. Echoing Neel's comments about ballots arriving in mailboxes by this week, he had an alternative to visiting the clerk and recorders office.
"Instead of driving over to Breckenridge, you can go online," he said.
The link govotecolorado.com will take you to a page on the Secretary of State's website where you can register online to vote as well as confirm voter registration information.