Local chapters of the League of Women Voters throughout Colorado are celebrating recognition by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) of the contributions the League of Women Voters (LWV) Colorado made to the success of the state’s 2020 elections.
In a ceremony on January 30th, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold awarded National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Awards to four individuals and one organization in Colorado that made significant contributions to the success of the state’s 2020 General Election; an election that faced the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, forest fires across the state and rampant election disinformation.
The recipients Included Sara Rosene, Grand County Clerk; Kathy Simillion, Gunnison County Clerk; Josh Zygielbaum, Adams County Clerk; Christopher Krebs, former Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency; and the statewide Colorado League of Women Voters (LWV).
Beth Hendrix, Executive Director LWV Colorado, noted that all chapters and members statewide share this award, including the LWV of Chaffee County (LWVCC) and its 113 active members.
“As League members, we all belong to the state league; we have 116 members in Chaffee County between Salida and Buena Vista,” said local league Leadership Team Coordinator Margie Gray, who leads a local leadership team of 10. “The award honors the statewide League. We have about 19 leagues throughout the state, and there are close to 22,000 members throughout the state, both men and women, and we work in all 64 counties.”
“We’re nonpartisan. We never oppose political parties or candidates. Our focus is voter education and fair elections,” added Gray.
Gray recapped the work of the LWVCC, much of which the public has no idea that it leads. LWCC developed materials covering the pros and cons of ballot questions. This past year, the LWVCC put out 1,500 printed documents regarding ballot questions in Chaffee County and created Spanish language materials for distribution in Lake County.
“We did the pro-con ballot questions. Locally and statewide, the League has worked very hard to help get voters educated, to be aware of the issues, and to encourage voting. We are supportive of mail-in ballots, and we work with County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell to register new voters at the high schools,” said Gray.
She pointed out the organization’s sponsorship of a variety of types of candidate forums, including the popular candi-dating event. While this year it was done via Zoom, normally candidates running for office each take individual tables with a LWVCC member and others can move around the tables, taking five minutes to ask any questions they have.
The meeting programs are varied. The LWVCC has held a forum with the Salida and Buena Vista Police Chiefs, and it does a program called “Drinks and Dialogues” to cover issues of importance in the county (temporarily produced as a Zoom event due to COVID-19).
“Our meetings are always open to the public, with speakers, programs on housing, etc. Our next meeting will be a sort of “State of the County” with the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners,” explained Gray.
The next meeting of the local League of Women Voters is at 12:00 noon Zoom meeting on March 8.