An e-mail exchange between Secretary of State Mike Coffman and his then-elections technology manager Dan Kopelman elevated the specter that hordes of illegal immigrants are attempting to vote in Colorado.
The communication, intercepted as part of an open records request by the Colorado Citizens for Ethics in Government, details a directive by Coffman to Kopelman to try to smoke out not just “illegals” in the system, but “illegals” who have been convicted of felonies, and are registered to vote – as well as illegally registered voters who have been deported.
The idea that undocumented immigrants are flooding polling places has been one that has been propagated in some conservative circles. Specifically, some are frustrated by court rulings in some states that reject efforts to make it harder for people, especially poor people, to vote. However, there is no evidence of a widespread problem.
Keep reading for Coffman’s directive to Kopelman.It all started with an April 25 e-mail that Coffman received from El Paso County Clerk & Recorder Bob Balink, alerting him to an Arizona Republic story about 10 people who were charged with fraud after they illegally registered to vote. (Balink, you’ll recall, is the elected official who back in October published a newsletter, courtesy of taxpayers, proposing a “New American Revolution” of sorts, to stop people from illegally voting.
After receiving Balink’s e-mail about the Arizona Republic article, Coffman forwarded it to Kopelman.
It would be absolutely great if we could do the same in Colorado if there is evidence that such a prolem exist [sic],” Coffman wrote.
Kopelman wrote back:
“I can get a list of possible fraudulent records put together. I need to narrow down the 40,000 SSN mismatch records to ensure it is not a valid name change or something like that. I will need to [sic] voting history for everyone to do the next phase of targeting to see if the remaining eligible voters actually voted, then we can ask the counties to seek verfication of the ones listed as having voted without SSN verification.
“We will need an appropriate level of due dililgence, but it can be pursued using the data we have on hand at this time.”
“What would be really compelling would be that somehow we could get a list of illegals who have actually been convicted of felonies and who are registered to vote. Something like that would be great. For example, some of the 9/11 terrorists were found to be registered to vote. Also, a list of illegals who have been deported. We can see if any of them registered to vote.”
In early May, the ePluribus Media website broke the story detailing how Kopelman, as the elections technology manager, maintained the state’s master voter registration database. At the same time the Republican activist was selling voter lists via his privately-owned company, Political Live Wires.
Kopelman has since been moved into another position in the secretary of state’s office; the state auditor is investigating.
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at email@example.com