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Election Guide 2018: Secretary of State


Secretary of State

Wayne Williams (R) *

Williams is currently serving as Colorado Secretary of State for the last four years.  He has also served as chair of Colorado Springs Housing Authority and was an El Paso County Commissioner for eight years, as well as a County Clerk and Recorder for El Paso county. 

“I’ve made business filings easier, cut fees, $10 renewal is the lowest in the nation.Worked to make it easier to register to vote: automatic voter registration, added text to vote. Established an award for high schools that get 85 percent of their graduating class to register to vote and presented said awards. Nation’s highest percentage of registered voters in Colorado. Making it easier to vote by funding 24/7 drop boxes across the state. Colorado led the nation in voter turnout in the 2016 election.”

What needs the most support?  “I think fundamentally, ensuring elections are run well is the basic underpinning of the democratic republic of which we live, and so the election and the IT support for that in terms of the overall republic and the state of Colorado would be the most important but all of them play a critical role.”

Safeguarding elections: “There are more counties using the printers but there are fewer ballots being printed, because the counties using them are smaller in size. Ballot printing is a county function. We do work our county partners. Two years ago when there was a court decision that jeopardized the printing of ballots, including in Boulder, my office filed a court action and intervened to ensure that the ballots were able to be printed. With respect to this year’s election, we’ve worked with the counties so that they’re aware of any issue there may be and we continued to do that.” 

Voter information: “I would always follow Colorado law, and my opponent has indicated she wouldn’t. We provided only the publicly available data. So only the identical data given to the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and frankly the presidential campaigns from earlier. My office is based on that everyone that asks for information is treated equally and fairly. I would note that out of 102 or so legislatures in the general assembly this session, not a single one introduced legislation to change Colorado’s law, which made the data available.”

Major issues?: “One is that unanimous general assembly approval, or joint budget committee approval, for rewriting books of business and election suites, managing that implementation is going to be a key part of what happens over the next couple years. We don’t wanna get in a position where the database and programs supporting it are decades old. Frankly, I think the most challenging is managing that implementation and ensuring that it flows seamlessly. There’s some other areas that we will have to continue to be vigilant on and one of those is cyber security. We’re expanding the risk-limiting audit software.”

Because I’ve worked across the aisle, 25 out of 29 bills have been enacted and signed by the Governor. Senator Feinberg is been the sponsor on a number of those and we have worked across the aisle to do that. I’m honored to have the support of a number of Democrats in my run for reelection, including the majority of the Democratic county clerks who endorsed a candidate in this race. I think that bipartisan support is something illustrative of the kind of work we’ve done in the office.”

Jena Griswold (D)

This Estes Park born Coloradan has been practicing law in Louisville and is the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State. She “started [her] legal career practicing international anti-corruption law, and then began working on…elections as a voter protection attorney for President Obama. [She] also served as the Director of the Governors’ DC Office”

We spoke with Ms. Griswold but the audio file was lost due to a recording glitch. From the conversation and background research we found a lack of experience in elected office, a lack of experience in running elections  and a basis for the position rooted in an ambiguous position as Obama’s “voter protection” lawyer. Griswold had stated her position was strongly against ‘dark money’ in Colorado campaigns. She proposes an automatic voter registration and improved cybersecurity to better protect against voter fraud. 

She also has plans to make the Secretary of State’s Office into a resources center for small businesses and entrepreneurs and wants more transparency in Colorado elections. 

Blake Huber (Voter Approval Party) 

Huber has lived in Colorado for most of his life. He was in management for over 30 years and later in life worked as a union steward, so as he says, he’s seen it from both sides.  

Safeguarding elections: “I’ve studied with the secretary of state’s office since 2016 and I support the efforts they’ve made, and they’ve made good strides. What came out of 2016 is not civil discourse, it’s the opposite. What came out of 2016 is us versus them attitude and atmosphere and if i can do anything to affect that I will, which is why I support approval voting.”

Major Issues: Huber wants to change the way the state votes to an approval-based voting system, similar to what they have in Maine.  “It’s basically this: Everyone marks all candidates they like. Ranking is similar, but I support approval voting because it’s simpler. With approval voting you vote for all the candidates you like. It brings people together. It’s used now in selecting the secretary general of the United Nations. the reason they do it, is they are trying to bring all the countries of the world together, not faction them off. There’s more consensus and more harmonious voting.”


EDITORIAL BOARD ENDORSEMENT FOR WAYNE WILLIAMS: Mr. Williams has been a terrific Secretary of State, pushing us to the highest levels of safety and participation while ensuring multiple avenues of participation for citizens. We trust Wayne to continue to lead the office of Secretary of State, even while hoping that he reigns in what appears to be legitimate, if dubiously necessary, discretionary fund purchases.

YS PUBLISHER ENDORSEMENT FOR JENA GRISWOLD: Jena is educated, bright and brings a tenacity for ensuring fair elections in Colorado. She will bring a vitalized energy to a role most aren’t even familiar with. 


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