Name: Joan Lopez
Profession: Arapahoe County clerk and recorder
Biography: I’m Joan Lopez. A Colorado native and born in Denver, Colorado in St. Joseph’s Hospital just like my daughter, son and father. I graduated high school from Englewood High. I have lived in Arapahoe County for most of my life.
I’m the first Democrat, and the first person of color, and the first Latina to be elected to the Arapahoe clerk and recorder seat. This job isn’t new to me, I have 21 years experience working in this office. I want everyone to vote. Everyone. And what I’ve been doing is working to have every voice heard in Arapahoe County. Voter turnout has set new records in each election since I took office. It’s actually been easy. Putting polling places and dropoff boxes in underserved areas makes participation improve. I want it to be easier for everyone to vote. My team and I have won three national awards for expanding voting access, making voting safe and for debunking false claims of the election process.
I will continue to improve our services not only in the elections division but in our motor vehicle department and recording.
How can the clerk's office improve its perception to voters who feel they can't trust the current system?
We make sure the voter is informed of our process. Knowledge is power for every voter. We make sure that we are transparent and our door is always open for questions, tours and information. We want the public to know that we have safe and secure elections. We also livestream every logic and accuracy test, risk limiting audit and our certified canvass. These processes show every step of our election and help voters understand the process.
What are your views on current Colorado election procedures?
We have so many checks and balances already, but as new ideas and better ways of processing come along we improve and secure a more perfect system.
What would be your approach to increasing voter turnout and accessibility?
We have already been setting all-time highs for voter turnout. We will continue to bring more access to the table. This is a no-brainer. In the past it was harder to vote. We will continue to make voting a way of life. We will continue to increase the number of translated language instructions on how to vote. Arapahoe County now has six different translated instructions on how to register, how to track your ballot and how to change your address and receive a ballot after you have moved. We will continue to include, educate and inform our citizens.
Arapahoe County is an outlier in Colorado for not having walk-in DMV offices. What would you do about that if elected?
Since moving to appointments only and not having walk in customers we have saved the county over a hundred thousand dollars in overtime. My employees aren't stressed out and know what time they will get home to their families. Streamlining the process has drastically changed our Google review by 40+%. Going from approval ratings at only 41% up to 86%. People are in and out and on with their day within 15 minutes. What you call an outlier is a better way of doing business. No more waiting for four hours to get things done.
How could you depoliticize the role of clerk and recorder?
In today's political climate I'm not sure it's possible. On the other hand I want every legal eligible voter to vote.
What sets you apart from the other candidate in this race?
I have worked for the clerk's office for 21 years. I've watched three clerks come and go. I've seen what works and what didn't. Experience sets me apart. In Malcolm Gladwell's book he states that it takes 10,000 hours to become an "expert." I have around 58,000 hours. This is my career. My quest when I ran for office and won was to make it better for the voters, the employees and our customers. I have done that and there is more to do.