Joe Neguse: Empower citizens with right to vote
My name is Joe Neguse, and I am running for secretary of state for a very simple reason: I believe that the right to vote is sacred. My parents came to this country more than 30 years ago from a war torn country in East Africa. They raised me and my sister in Douglas County, and as immigrants, they taught us not to take for granted the sacred freedoms we have in the United States, beginning with the right to vote and the ability to participate in our democracy.
We need a secretary of state who will protect our right to vote, empower all Colorado voters and make it easier and more accessible for all Colorado citizens to cast their ballots. There are far too many people across the state who do not traditionally participate in the democratic process. As secretary of state, I want to focus on reaching out and empowering these voters so we can make Colorado the number-one state in the country for voter participation.
I am committed to protecting our unique and robust Colorado election system, which includes mail-in ballots to all registered voters and in-person voting locations. I will work with county clerks to ensure that our elections are efficient, affordable and protect the integrity of our elections on a local level.
I’ll also work to expand voter access where it is lacking, including using technology such as iPads to ease the voting process for voters with disabilities, voters in nursing homes and non-English speaking voters, streamlining the process for our active military voters to register and vote, partnering with county clerks to increase voting options in our rural areas and implementing innovative tools to better engage young people in our democracy.
Finally, I believe we need a secretary of state who will work to empower voters by increasing transparency in our campaign finance system. If elected, I will create a website that provides all available information about each entity running commercials concerning Colorado’s elections and will enforce our campaign finance laws by holding violators accountable.
I want to expand access and empowerment not just to our elections, but to the business division of the Secretary of State’s Office as well. The secretary of state should help businesses across the state, large or small. I plan to create a one-stop shop for businesses who are getting off the ground, hire regional representatives to work with businesses across the state and expand office hours outside normal working hours to assist entrepreneurs who may be working another job or two while trying to start or grow a business.
My record speaks to my ability to work collaboratively across party lines to improve our state. I serve as a University of Colorado regent. During my tenure, I was chairman of the budget and finance committee for the $3 billion dollar institution that is the state’s fourth largest employer. As a regent, I worked with Republicans and Democrats to make it easier for students to register to vote. And, almost a decade ago, I founded a non-profit which has registered tens of thousands of young voters in our state, Republicans and Democrats.
As your secretary of state, it won’t matter if you are Republican, Independent or Democrat. I just want your vote to count.
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