Mike Coffman: Commissioner's remarks are off target


I am writing in response to the April 5 article, "County officials fire back," written as a result of my decision to place Routt County on the Election Watch List.

In the article, County Commissioner Mitsch Bush alleged my decision was somehow politically driven. I am disappointed an elected official would make such an unfounded, purely partisan attack. Commissioner Mitsch Bush should know all too well Routt County was placed on the probationary list because voters were subjected to four-hour wait times on Election Day, and some poll locations were forced to remain open until 11 p.m. to accommodate the long lines.

Commissioner Mitsch Bush also expressed concern that my office will take credit for the reforms that local officials now are considering. Again, this is an unfounded allegation and it is contrary to my repeated public statements of support for County Clerk Kay Weinland's actions since November.

I also support the formation of the Citizens Election Review Committee to evaluate the problems and recommend solutions. I made my support clear during my visit to Routt County in March, when I met with Clerk Weinland, county commissioners (including Commissioner Mitsch Bush) and county chairs of the Republican and Democrat parties, to discuss the county's election problems.

I support local control. Ultimately, the county's success, or failure, to remedy its election problems will rest on the shoulders of Clerk Weinland. My office will focus on the end result - whether Routt County voters are once again subject to long lines. How the county chooses to correct the problems is a local decision.

Although I am encouraged by the actions local leaders have taken since November, those actions have not changed the fact that problems existed on Election Day, and so these actions did not factor in my decision. Four of the five counties on the Watch List have formed similar task forces or advisory groups. My office has been asked to formally participate in some of these groups and we are pleased to work in collaboration with local leaders.

As Secretary of State, it is my responsibility to ensure that counties conduct their elections in accordance with state and federal law, and that elections are well managed so voters can cast their ballot without facing unreasonable obstacles. My office has identified five counties that fell short of this mark in 2006 and now are on the state's Watch List.

This list is an intermediate, probationary step for these counties, so they can correct their problems at the local level and avoid court-ordered state supervision of their elections. Neither I, nor the locally elected officials in these counties, want to see state-supervised elections. The purpose of the Watch List is to avoid this step. I am confident that if we work together the county's problems will be corrected, and Routt County can then be given a clean bill of health after the 2008 elections.

Contact Mike Coffman at Secretary@sos.state.co.us


linus 10 years ago

He's absolutely right, and I'm not a Republican.


JQPUBLIC 10 years ago

YES... "Neither I, nor the locally elected officials in these counties, want to see state-supervised elections" ... We all know that higher ranking government involvement solves all problems.... why don't we make them federal-supervised elections... then everything will be perfect! Use mail-in ballots (unless you don't trust government ran mail) then there is no line at all. Mail is how I vote and the only complaint I have is the lack of decent choices on the ballot.


Richard Levy 10 years ago

I too was disappointed by Commissioner Bush's comments. The 4 hour wait experienced by Routt County Voter's is an insult to the democratic process. Leading up to the election many people predicted election day problems due to the new voting machines, low number of machines and the lack of preparation of county officials. These predicions all came to pass.

Now that we have been placed on an election watch list, I feel a little better. There is now a good chance that the excellent recommendations coming out of the Citizen's Election Reveiw Committee will actually be implemented by a historically tight-fisted County.

This debacle was created by short sightedness of our Clerk and Recorder. So how can this be "politically driven" when both the Elected Clerk and Recorder (Weinland) and the Secretary of State (Coffman) are both Republican?

I did not vote for Mike Coffman, but its a relief to see him agressively addressing the failures in our election process


agentofchange 10 years ago

My wife and I did not vote early due to our "love of the process". Voting in a small burg is a "locals happening".

It was not fun this year. For nearly 2.5 hours we waited to cast our votes.

Our local government types, totally over-reacted to Coffman's actions. So many things could have been done more efficiently on that day, and it's good to know that we don't live in a bubble. "git er dun", and stop being so sensitive about Routt County.

By the way, Jan and I will vote early from now on.


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