When it comes to elections, there seem to be two philosophies. One would put hurdles in voters’ way in the name of preventing fraud. The other would make voting easier, more convenient and open. The name for that is democracy.
Joe Neguse is in the second camp. His priorities are exactly what is needed in the office of secretary of state.
The current occupant of that office, Scott Gessler, unsuccessfully ran for governor rather than for re-election. That left the position open. Democrat Neguse will face off against Republican Wayne Williams.
The secretary of state’s office handles a number of administrative and business-related functions. Its most important, however, is overseeing elections.
On paper, Williams has better qualifications. As El Paso County clerk, he has run elections. He also served for eight years as county commissioner.
Williams proudly points to his successful oversight of the 2013 election that recalled former state Senate President John Morse. Fox News, however, referred to that election as “chaotic and controversial.”
Perhaps what Williams means by success was the ouster of a top Democrat. If so, it would fit in with his critics’ fears. Gessler has a reputation as being partisan, and the concern is Williams would follow along.
How that might work seems clear. He strongly opposed last year’s election reform bill, which simplified and clarified the state’s election process and improved voter access. Williams was also criticized during last year’s recall election when his office restricted early voting locations and hours. Turnout was significantly lower than in another recall vote in Pueblo where voter accessibility was better.
Neguse vows to do the opposite. The son of African immigrants, he is a lawyer focusing on employment, commercial and election law. In 2008, he was elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents from the 2nd Congressional District. As a regent, he authored a resolution to make voter registration more accessible to students.
He would use technology such as iPads and mobile apps to expand voter access and offer directions to polling centers, streamline the process for active military and work with county clerks to offer better access in rural areas. Every college campus would have a voting center.
Participating in elections should be easy and welcoming. Vote for Joe Neguse.