The Colorado Democratic Party on Monday requested Secretary of State Mike Coffman, a Republican, to step down from his office because of an ongoing controversy over the decertification of voting machines and possible conflicts of interest.Pat Waak, chair of the Democratic Party, said Coffman’s office was under a cloud of controversy.
“The public’s confidence in the elections process continues to erode under the watch of this Secretary of State whose essential role is to fulfill his responsibilities as the state’s chief elections officer,” Waak said in a press release. “Coffman has failed miserably in his attempts to instill the confidence and trust the voting public deserves in the elections process. He needs to leave.”
Coffman has been accused of mixing politics with his duties as the Secretary of State, which is supposed to remain neutral in election policies and practices. Since he has announced his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District, calls for his resignation have come to the forefront.
For instance, a report by the Colorado State Auditor office last fall criticized Coffman’s office for not dealing with at least a dozen problem areas, including personnel-board rules abuses and numerous conflict-of-interest violations among employees who were working in partisan political side jobs.
Initially, Coffman gave the single nod to Premier, formerly known as Diebold Election Systems, although nearly 50 counties had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in other voting machine systems. Coffman admits his decision put some county clerks and recorders into a “state of shock.”
Also problematically, Coffman has been accused of a conflict of interest because his congressional campaign consultant, Phase Line Strategies, had ties with Premier. Coffman hopes to replace retiring Rep. Tom Tancredo in this fall’s election, but faces a stiff primary race with at least two other candidates.
“The Secretary of State is the chief elections officer for all Coloradans, therefore the office can be no less than transparent when dealing with the fundamental voting rights of every qualified citizen in our state,” said Waak. “There appears to be a lack of transparency when it comes to Coffman’s ability to guarantee Coloradans an honest and accurate elections process, he needs to go.”
Photo: Secretary of State Mike Coffman