OK

In my previous diaries here
and here
I highlighted the evidence thoroughly documented by Colorado Ethics Watch
which showed a pattern of 2 different violations of the law by Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman, and his recent ruling to disenfranchise thousands of voters for not checking an obscure box on voter registration forms.
Now, the heavy hitters are getting into the game, including America Votes.
Watch the interview with Rich Pelletier,  State Director for Colorado's branch of America Votes, where he discusses a coming lawsuit and the plot by Mike Coffman to strip voters of their vote.

Background:

In what I previously covered:
1) Colorado, according to Stu Rothenberg's  What's the Top Electoral College State This Year?, Colorado is now THE swing state as Florida and Ohio were in 2000 and 2004.
2) Secretary of State Mike Coffman broke the law last year by allowing his database manager Dan Kopelman to manage the database while he was running a Republican voter database company on the side. See story by Dan Whipple

3) Coffman's State Elections Director was discovered to be staying at a loft owned by the software salesman who manages the Voting Machines for our state, machines that have already been de-certified, then re-certified by Coffman. She resigned pending an investigation, and it calls into question the veracity of our voting machine process.

(Here is the interview with Colorado Ethic's Watch Chantel Taylor and Colorado Media Matter's Bill Menezes on these issues and the failure of the media to report these criminal activities.)

4) Now, Coffman has ruled on new voter registrations and decided this:
(from Colorado Pols' Dan Willis)

At Issue: Forms used by Voter Registration Drives. They include a place for people to include their Driver's License Number, State ID Card Number or Social Security Number (only requires last 4 digits). There is a box present which states "I do not have a Colorado Driver's license or Dept. of Revenue identification number" which people are supposed to mark if they are going to only give an SSN.
The Secretary of State has included in his Rules (dated July 2008) that any new voter who does not mark that box and only gives their SSN shall not be registered to vote.  In mid-September he issued a memo to the County Clerks telling them specifically to not register anyone who does this.
Consequence: Thousands of new voters are attempting to register to vote, thinking they are successful because they signed up through some organization such as ACORN or any of the political parties, but are not registered and will not be allowed to vote if they do not correct their forms.

This past Tuesday I was a guest on local Air America affiliate AM 760's the Jay Marvin Show, where David Sirotawas the guest host. During that interview, I called out the Governor and more specifically, Denver DA Mitch Morrissey to start a criminal investigation for the already documented past violations of the law. Also, I gave out their phone numbers and urged people to call for action. This caused the DA's office to call in to the show to try to get callers to 'cease and desist'

here is that radio (about 2 minutes in)  segment
And at 20 minutes in this segment is the DA's communications officer, Lynn Kimbrough. She attempts to divert attention to the clerks office without addressing the issue of investigating the issue. She states "We can find no evidence of" a voter purge. This would imply that there is already an investigation happening, which is not the case. Her attempts to quell the callers, is merely a way to divert pressure off of Morrissey, who could make his name politically by hanging out Coffman to dry on these law violations. Instead, it appears he is punting on 4th and 1 instead of playing for the win. Whether it is politically expedient or not, Morrissey should enforce the law.
She also talks about the "provisional ballot" option for voters who show up at the polls and are not registered.
You may recall, the "provisional ballots" were the ballots in question when Ohio went for Bush in 2004.
Ironically, Morrissey, is a democrat, and should be the first one on this case, and while my real anger is with Coffman, we will be let down by inaction on this case.

Along with the recent New York Times article on several states engaging in illegal voter purges, and these phone calls, Governor Ritter is now stepping up to
put pressure on Coffman to answer allegations.

Coffman's response is classic, deny and blame.

The Democratic governor asked Coffman, a Republican, to move quickly to rectify an error that left some 4,000 voters believing they were out of time to correct incomplete voter registration forms. He said his office has recently been contacted by "scores of constituents" who fear the mistake will lead to voter disenfranchisement.

"It is critical that public officials charged with carrying out the law provide the public with accurate information," Ritter said in the letter to Coffman released Thursday. "I urge you, as the chief election official in the state, to direct all county election officials to make personal contact by telephone with each potential voter, who may have been misled or confused by the earlier communications."

Coffman was unhappy with Ritter's letter and accused the governor of political "grandstanding" instead of coming to him for an update on the matter.

Mr. Coffman, there are many people, belonging to several progressive organizations, who have received no response from you on these very issues. Governor Ritter was right to put the heated spotlight on you and your failure to change a policy that so clearly was designed PURPOSELY to disenfranchise voters.

As promised, here is the interview with Rich Pelletier of America Votes.

This sums it up best:

This was a pro-active decision, to misinform voters out there. The hypocrisy in all this is that the Secretary of State is also an officer in the National Guard, who has served in Iraq, who was fighting for this country, to preserve the very right that he is taking away form citizens right now.
I served in Iraq, and every person who serves in the military is there right now, today, because they are there to preserve the rights we have as Americans. To have a man who has led troops into battle for the purpose of protecting our rights...
(me)- and to give the Iraqis the chance to vote themselves...
... to take that away, how hypocritical is that?
To take action, not just for Obama, but to stop the pattern of Republican Secretary of State officers who steal elections without consequence,
contact the Secretary of State's office here,
or the Denver District Attorney's office, an urge him to investigate,

or contact AND THANK Democratic Governor Bill Ritter's office here, for his public reprimand of Coffman.
Remember, pressure from us the citizens, gives our elected officials the cover they need to go on the offensive. This will not be like 2000 or 2004. It stops here, now, with us.

Originally posted to wade norris on Sun Oct 12, 2008 at 07:25 PM PDT.

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