Colorado secretary of state race: Neguse, Schambach and Williams on the issues

Photo: Secretary of State candidates
Left: Democrat Joe Neguse; center: Libertarian David Schambach; right: Republican Wayne Williams.

The secretary of state oversees Colorado's electoral system. Democrat Joe Neguse, Libertarian David Schambach, and Republican Wayne W. Williams are running for the office currently held by outgoing-Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

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The candidates answered the following questions about issues they may face.

What should be done to encourage more voting in Colorado?
Joe Neguse (Democrat)As a first generation American, I believe the right to vote is sacred, and will work to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their vote. Working together, across party lines, we can make Colorado the best state in the country for voter registration and participation. As secretary of state, I will work to empower voters across the state and break down barriers to the ballot box, making it easier for those who are eligible to participate in the democratic process. For example, we can expand voter access by streamlining the process for our active military voters to register and vote, ensuring that those protecting our democracy can fully participate in it. We also should partner with county clerks to increase voting options in our rural areas, utilizing tablet technology to ease the voting process for voters with disabilities and voters in group residential homes, and deploy new ballot trace technology and a mobile voting app that will provide voters with comprehensive information (such as turn-by-turn directions to their nearest voter service polling center). Similarly, by working with our colleges and universities and engaging in creative outreach programs, we can empower more young people across our state to exercise their constitutional right to vote and increase voter participation.    
David Schambach (Libertarian)Proliferate mail-in voting, and take strides to get our youth involved!

Wayne W. Williams (Republican)

As county clerk in the state's largest county, I've run media campaigns to encourage voter registration and updating addresses. I’ve worked with the current secretary of state to mail Coloradans who appear to be unregistered the necessary information to register to vote. We have added a dozen 24/7 mail ballot drop boxes – and for those who choose to return ballots by mail we have listed the specific postage necessary (instead of just saying “affix sufficient postage”). We have worked with all parties and groups to ensure that our polling locations are located in easy to reach locations and we’ve exceeded legal requirements by opening more locations and opening them for longer hours. As a result of these efforts, more citizens have voted than ever before in my county. As secretary of state, I will continue these efforts across the state.
Should voters in Colorado be required to present an ID at their polling place?
Joe Neguse (Democrat)Colorado already has a robust identification law that requires citizens to present an acceptable form of identification, and the law strikes the right balance in recognizing that different Coloradans will have access to different types of identification. Colorado has a long history of clean elections, and we should spend more time focused on empowering voters and making voting easier and more accessible for those who are eligible to do so. 
David Schambach (Libertarian)Yes, I think that is a fair requirement. There are 14 different accepted forms of ID, pretty easy criteria to meet unless you are a hermit... Do hermits vote?
Wayne W. Williams (Republican)Yes. Colorado law already provides free photo identification to indigent and elderly residents. Requiring photo identification -- particularly when a voter's address has not been previously verified -- will ensure the integrity of the election system. Citizens are more likely to vote when they have confidence in the system. (Current law permits an individual to present a utility bill -- which may or may not be legitimate – and cast a regular ballot. Real ID – like a driver's license or a free state-issued ID card should be required.)
Do you support voting by mail in Colorado?
Joe Neguse (Democrat)Yes. Voting by mail allows Colorado citizens the time and flexibility to vote at their convenience and increases voter participation. I supported the important statutory reforms made to our election laws last year, one of which ensures every registered voter receives a mail ballot. I believe we need a secretary of state who will protect these important reforms, and if elected, I will do precisely that.   
David Schambach (Libertarian)YES!!
Wayne W. Williams (Republican)Yes, as long as signatures are verified and addresses are correct. Colorado law needs to be updated to ensure signature verification for all mail ballots, including local elections. Voters should have the choice as to how they receive their ballot.
What should be done to update election technology?
Joe Neguse (Democrat)Colorado’s election technology is woefully out of date. The system we use to maintain voter registration records and conduct elections was designed primarily for use at polling places. It is time for Colorado to invest in new voting technology that will make our elections more efficient. If elected, I plan to work with Colorado's county clerks, the governor’s administration and voters to modernize Colorado's election technology. By working with the bright talent we have in Colorado, including at our state universities, we can build a homegrown system that will make our elections better than ever.
David Schambach (Libertarian)Eliminate television campaign ads, they are obnoxious, not representative of the truth, and an EXPENSIVE waste of money.
Wayne W. Williams (Republican)Current systems use software that is no longer supported. I have worked with my fellow county clerks and the secretary of state to improve our voting systems and make them more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Going forward we need to work together to ensure the best possible experience for Colorado voters.
What should be done to promote transparent and fair elections?
Joe Neguse (Democrat)Like many Coloradans, I am tired of the barrage of ads we face every election year from shadowy groups that refuse to disclose their donors or even try to present factually accurate ads. I will work to increase transparency in our campaign finance system, including creating a website that provides all available information about each entity running commercials concerning Colorado’s elections. I will also enforce our campaign finance laws by holding violators accountable. Additionally, I will work with county clerks to enhance our current election technology, for example, deploying statewide the ballot trace technology currently used in the city and county of Denver. 
David Schambach (Libertarian)Elect a third-party candidate to the SOS office. Not a Dem or Rep. 
Wayne W. Williams (Republican)As county clerk, I added large windows to the public hallway so that anyone and everyone can observe our ballot processing and counting. We opened up our processes to a public third-party audit to verify the accuracy of our systems. We provided support to our city government to enable them to verify signatures of mail ballots, even though that wasn’t required by law. As secretary of state, I will continue these efforts to make elections fair and transparent.

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