Former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson showed up at an awards ceremony last week with a speech to honor attorney John Moye, a longtime friend of the office.

Former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson showed up at an awards ceremony last week with a speech to honor attorney John Moye, a longtime friend of the office.

She left with the identical award Moye received, the NASS Medallion, given by the National Association of Secretaries of State to those individuals who have made an enormous difference.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who nominated Moye and Davidson for the awards, said their contributions cannot be overstated. Williams presided over a ceremony at the Secretary of State's Office filled with friends of the two recipients.

Davidson was appointed after Secretary of State Vikki Buckley died in office in 1999. During the transition, the office lagged behind in business filings and it was a problem for every attorney and banker in the state. Moye became chair of the Business Advisory Committee and advised the secretary how to make the office more functional. By the time Davidson stepped down in 2005 after President George W. Bush appointed her to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 90 percent of customers were filing electronically.

"That is an accomplishment, John, that you should mark on your calendar because it was because of you, the committee and the office staff that it got done," Davidson said. "I can't tell you how much I appreciated it. You made me a success."

Moye went on to advise five other secretaries of state, a 16-year-endeavor that has not cost the taxpayers a penny. Davidson said Moye's contributions were so extraordinary that he should receive two NASS medallions.

That's when Williams announced that he had two of the awards and the second one was going to Davidson, who appeared stunned.

"There are few people in Colorado elections history who have had the wide variety of background that Secretary Davidson has had," Williams said.

Davidson began her career as the clerk and recorder in Bent County, and went on to handle elections on a county, state and federal level.

Davidson said she wondered why so many former and current county clerks were present, but they had told her they were at the Secretary of State's Office for a meeting and stopped by for Moye's event.

Trevor Timmons, the chief information officer for the Secretary of State, and Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder Matt Crane also talked about Davidson's impact on the state.

Former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher couldn't be present for the ceremony but his letter on behalf of Moye was read by Dwight Shellman, an elections manager for the Secretary of State's office. Shellman once worked at Moye's law firm, Moye White, and considers him a mentor.

Buescher said he wished he had thought to nominate Moye for the NASS award. Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler echoed that sentiment when he spoke at the ceremony.

"I have learned that secretaries come and go, but John Moye is eternal," Gessler said.

Davidson said receiving her award at the same time as Moye made it all the more special.

About John Moye

He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Cornell University Law School. He has held the position of president of the Colorado Bar Association, written a dozen books and served as chairman of many Denver organizations. He has been a faculty member of Southern Methodist University and the University of Denver College of Law. The University of Denver bestowed on him an honorary doctorate in law for his dedication to legal education.

The NASS Medallion is just the latest honor for Moye. In 2005, he received an Award of Merit, the Colorado Bar Association's highest honor. In the 1980s, both the Colorado and Denver bar associations named him the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year.

About Donetta Davidson

Davidson has decades of experience in elections. She also served as the clerk and recorder in Bent County, the state elections director, a commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association. Most recently, she served on the Pilot Election Review Committee, which advised Secretary Williams on selecting a voting-equipment vendor.

In 2005, Government Technology Magazine named Davidson one of its "Top 25: Dreamers, Doers, and Drivers" because of her innovative approach to government.