Talk-show host should ask El Paso election chief why he’s all excited about election-modernization provisions he once trashed

Back in May, just before Colorado’s new election law was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams moaned in The Denver Post about how lousy the law’s expanded voting options would be, how dangerous and counter-productive.

“The proponents of this bill blatantly disregard your choice as an individual to choose how you exercise one of your most protected rights, and that is a problem,” Williams wrote, adding that the law is filled with “needless mandates.”  “If you, like me, love America’s sacred tradition of honest, fair, and transparent elections you should be scared,” he wrote.

But Williams sounded downright excited about the new voting options, required under the new law, when he spoke with KVOR talk-show host Richard Randall July 19.

Williams: “We absolutely want everyone who is legally entitled to vote to have that opportunity to do so.  And so, those [mail ballots] ballots go out. But then we’ll also have a series of voting service and polling centers.  That’s a new provision under the law.  And those are open beginning  – and yes, you’ll love this, — on Labor Day!

Randall: Oh, my gosh!  [laughs]

Williams: We’re going to have all four of our motor vehicle offices as the voter service polling centers.  That puts more than 99% of the voters in Senate District 11 within 10 minutes of a voting service and polling center.

Randall: Wow!

Williams: And they will be open from 8 to 5, Monday through Saturday, and then the Monday and Tuesday of the election, and actually on the Election Day itself, they will be open 7 to 7.  So, we are going to provide a lot of opportunities for folks to come in and vote in person.  So, if you get your mail ballot, you don’t like to vote by mail, you still have that opportunity to vote in person.  If you want to vote it by mail you can mail it back in, you can drop it off at any of our four offices.  And we’re actually going to have for the first time, 24 hour drop off at all four of our offices….

We will then continue to send mail ballots up until deadlines are reached.  And at that point, folks will need to register in the office, or come into one of the voter service and polling centers for that — those eight days of voting,  that Monday through Saturday and that Monday /Tuesday.  And they can register to vote and get a ballot at the same time. [Editor’s note: This type of quick-and-easy voter registration, referred to as “same-day registration,” was a provision of the election-modernization bill.]

Randall: Yeah, and I’m a procrastinator.  I do not want to encourage people to do this, but I know that part of that procrastination for me and a lot of other people is just that we’ve got very, very busy, hectic days and lives.  If somebody were in a situation where it was within those eight days, am I right to assume that they could actually show up at the office and say, “Look, I need to register,” and then I can go ahead and vote after I do that?

Williams: Absolutely.

I give a lot of credit to Williams for accepting Colorado’s expanded voter conveniences, and being so excited about them!

But I wish Randall had asked Williams if he’s had a change of heart about the new voting law since he trashed it a few months ago, or if Williams is just putting on a happy face.

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