Iraq Election Managed Better Than in Montrose County

How bad was the 2006 election handled by the Montrose county clerk? Ask the new Secretary of State, Mike Coffman. In an article by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel by reporter Beverly Corbell, Mike Coffman said that Montrose’s situation was worse than the Iraq’s national election in 2005.

Coffman should know. He assisted in the Iraqi election as a Marine Corps civil affairs officer.From the Daily Sentinel

Coffman, who’s been in office since January, said he is “most concerned” with Montrose County because there were so many problems. Montrose’s problems were “stunning,” Coffman said, so after the election he called the attorney general’s office for advice.

“I asked them, ‘What recourse do I have?’ The answer was: The only recourse was the nuclear option – court supervision,” he said.

Coffman said he considered that to be an extreme step and instead decided to take an intermediary step and create the watch list to force counties to comply with legal practices and good management.

The infractions in Montrose were serious and numerous, he said. The state report on the county can be seen online at www.elections.colorado.gov.

In Montrose, votes also were left unsecured, voter registration wasn’t always properly checked, and some voters were given the wrong ballots, according to the state’s report.

Of all the counties, “Montrose is the most challenging,” Coffman said.

Montrose County has formed an election team of citizens who will look at correcting problems. This “Montrose Election Fact Finding Task Force” will hold monthly public meetings to update citizens on the Montrose County Clerk’s office’s progress, and a quarterly newsletter will be published to restore voter confidence.

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Leslie Robinson

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