ACCESO Spanish Language Voting Advisory Board endorsed the position of Denver Clerk & Recorder Debra Johnson in favor of House Bill 1303 that created the Voter Access & Modernized Elections Act sponsored by Representatives Hullinghorst/Pabon and Senator Giron because it modernizes elections to reflect the way people vote.
ACCESO (access in Spanish) is a committee formed to assist the Clerk and Recorder and the Elections Director in their outreach efforts to Denver's limited-English, Spanish-speaking citizens. Central goals include making voting materials more accessible, ensuring an adequate number of Spanish-speaking poll workers, and increasing voting participation.
"Provide advice and guidance to the Office of the Clerk and Recorder and its Elections Division to assist in communicating to the Spanish language community for purposes of providing elections information and promoting voting and participation of all citizens in the elections process."
ACCESO generally meets on a quarterly basis leading up to general and local elections. The board may schedule additional meetings, and provides notices of all meetings in accordance with the Denver open meetings ordinance. The meetings are dynamic and all board members contribute their ideas and updates to the team and the Director of the Elections Division as well as the Clerk and Recorder.
The federal Voting Rights Act of 1973 mandates that when more than five percent of the county population speaks another language and has limited English skills, the county must provide bilingual election materials and information. In 2002, the City and County of Denver met that threshold for Spanish speakers, and formed the original Spanish Language Advisory Board (SLAB) at that time.
In 2008, newly elected Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O’Malley built upon the efforts of SLAB, creating the ACCESO Spanish-Language Voter Advisory Board. In 2009, wanting to give the board permanence and a more formal structure, Clerk O’Malley collaborated on and backed an ordinance to formally establish the committee. The ACCESO ordinance took effect January 11, 2010. The first ACCESO board members were appointed in July 2010. Members then elected its own officers.
Today, ACCESO has 16 members representing a variety of geographic areas of Denver. The members serve three years and participate in scheduled meetings and educational activities about the electoral process.
Denver community members with an interest in providing information about and promoting participation in the electoral process are encouraged to apply for membership on the board.
Membership is voluntary and unpaid. Applicants must be registered voters and should be involved with the Spanish-speaking Denver community. Fluency in Spanish is especially welcome.
Applications are reviewed by the ACCESO board and members are appointed by the Clerk and Recorder. Application period is open. APPLY HERE.
Margaret is the vice president of the Democratic Party of Colorado and President of the Democratic Women of Colorado. Additionally, she was the President for the Iniciativa Latina de Colorado. Margaret has been active participant for several years in the Latino community in voter registration and educational initiatives.
Stella, born in Denver, has been working in the public sector, political sphere and national and state initiatives throughout her professional career. Madrid was appointed to the Board of Spanish Language in 2006 and has been the President since 2008. In 2010 she was elected President of ACCESO. Stella is an official of inter-government issues and the Housing and Urban Development for the City and County of Denver. Additionally, Madrid offers her services to the board of Colorado NAHRO and Global Urban Development and is very active in other non profit organizations.
Although my family is from Mexico, I grew up in a small town in Wyoming. Having moved to Colorado eight years ago after graduating from the University of Wyoming, I followed my dream to leap into a big city to continue working with families on access to education, community resources, and equity. I started my career at Escuela Tlatelolco as an English and Second Language Teacher working with recently immigrated students and their families. My passion for public service quickly took me to addressing policy issues of immigration and small business for U.S. Representative Diana DeGette. I continue working in public service on local social equity issues in west Denver for Denver City Councilman Paul D. Lopez. Public service has shown me, especially at the local level, your vote matters and impacts your life on a daily basis. I encourage you in this election and in every election, to please vote and encourage others to do so as well!
Ceci worked for the Secretary of the State's Office before working for the Mayor's Office. She has ample knowledge of the regulations and statutes of Colorado elections. Cesi is bilingual and assists all individuals that come to the Mayor's Office who come with questions. Additionally, Cesi has experience working with all media providing communications related to the elections.
Oscar works for the Postal Office and is the secretary for the local Union 321 for the Postal Office Workers. He has experience in organizing and is interested in helping promote the vote in Denver in the Latino community.
Lorenzo is Director and Organizer for the Union UFCW7. He is also a member of the board for Trabajo para el Adelanto de Latinos, VFW and Children of the American Legion.
Chris Martinez is a Senior Advisor for Human Rights/Community Planning for the City of Denver. He also spent 4 years working in Division of Small Business for Denver. Mr. Martinez served eight years on the Regional Transportation Board. While on the RTD Board, he served two terms as Chairman and four additional years on the Executive Committee. His professional career included Sales and Marketing for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch. He received his B.S. from Regis University. Mr. Martinez has over 35 years experience as a community and political activist. He has a long history of involvement in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch schools. He is currently a member of several community and civic organizations. Chris Martinez and his wife Terry have two adult children and six grandchildren.
Felipe brings over five years of experience working within the Denver community on social justice issues including education justice, labor rights, and immigrant rights. Felipe graduated from the University of Denver with degrees in political science, international relations and Spanish literature and language. He holds a USSF 'E' License and National Youth License. Felipe was born in Mexico but has lived in Colorado for most of his life.
Rowena Alegría is the appointed Chief Communications Officer for Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. She represents Council District 2 on the ACCESO Advisory Board. Prior to her current appointment, Rowena was the publisher and editor of Viva Colorado, a bilingual multimedia news source from The Denver Post. She won local, regional and national recognition for her work, including creating the best Spanish-language newspaper website in the U.S. per Editor & Publisher. Rowena is a member of the Denver Press Club and serves as a volunteer with Florence Crittenton Services, Centro San Juan Diego and the Latina Firsts organization. In addition to her many accomplishments, she was recently honored with the Giving Back Alumni Award from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Jordan is the secretary of the Comission for the State of Colorado in the Collections Division in Judge Arguello's team. She is also secretary in the Youth Democratic of Denver, the Lawyer Association of Colorado and the Latino Forum. She is currently working in the Office of Diana DeGette and works to increase Latino community participation. Jordan assists ACCESO to promote the vote in the community.
Carla is Director of Mi Familia Vota in Colorado. She is an advocate of immigrant rights and is very knowledgeable in education in voter registration and community organization. She collaborates with ACCESO promoting voter participation.
Benjamin Roldan has been a proud ACCESO board member since 2015. He was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and immigrated to the United States of America in 2000; and has lived in Denver, Colorado since then. Benjamin completed his higher education in the Community College of Denver with a degree in Liberal Arts, and earned his Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Colorado in Denver. His professional career has been heavily focused on Community and Economic Development for underserved communities in Denver, while working with public and nonprofit entities. His passions include watching movies and enjoying the beautiful mountains of Colorado in their four seasons.
Crystal is an intern for Representative Crisanta Duran and member for the Youth Alumni Committee of Denver University. Crystal has worked with the Latino community promoting the vote and believes that her goals are in alignment with ACCESO's. She believes in promoting the importance of the vote and having more representation of the Latino community in politics.
Jose Manuel (Manny) Lopez works for Mayor Hancock in Human Rights/Community Relations and has experience working for several projects related to the Latino Community. Jose worked in national, state and local campaigns and wants to utilize his bilingual sklls to improve the electoral process.
Jaime Aguilar, a Media Specialist at the American Indian College Fund, has 16 years of journalism and public relations experience. He began his career as a photojournalist at Texas Tech University where he obtained his degree in communications. He worked for the Rocky Mountain News from 2005 until the demise of the publication in February 2009 prior to joining the public education team at the College Fund in July 2009. Jaime is a photographer, videographer, webmaster, and manages social media for the College Fund to increase public awareness and public relations about the programs and services it offers. He is also the communications chair for the ACCESO board. Jaime has been a resident of Denver since 2005 and has lived in Denver council district three since 2011. In his free time, Jaime is a mentor for Denver Kids, Inc. and is a front-man blues musician singing his heart out and playing the harmonica at venues around the Denver area.
Talia is the owner of TPB Professional LLC and PostNet Corp. and her companies are certified as M/WBE, DBE, EBE and SBE. She offers translations solutions and business/marketing consulting services. She is known as a team player and an energetic, engaging and driven leader. Talia got her MBA and certification as a professional translator. Her passion is to help her community and does that by volunteering with the City and County of Denver as a board member of the Spanish Language Voting Advisory Board (ACCESO). One of her favorite hobbies is to hike the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs.
Celia is coordinator for iAmerica for the state and has been working with the Latino Community since 2006. Since 2010, Celia has been promoting the importance of having political power and helping her community to become citizens, registering to vote and vote. She currently lives in Lakewood and is getting her Masters degree in bilingual education and cultural diversity from CU Boulder.