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Colorado: Secretary of State's Campaign Advisers Also Represent E-Voting Firm PDF  | Print |  Email
By Myung Oak Kim and Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News   
December 20, 2007

The political consulting company running Secretary of State Mike Coffman's congressional campaign also was working for a voting machine manufacturer when Coffman gave that company's devices his seal of approval on Monday.

 

Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold, was the only one of four voting machine companies to have all of its equipment conditionally approved for use in 2008 elections. Premier hired Phase Line Strategies, a Highlands Ranch consulting firm, in September to lobby on its behalf, records show.

 

Phase Line also is running Coffman's campaign to take over U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo's 6th Congressional District seat. Coffman said he hired Phase Line in November but has been talking to them since the summer.

"This is an outrageous conflict of interest," said Paul Hultin, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit that resulted in Coffman's certification process. Hultin said Premier's machines are known to be flawed and there was no credible basis for Coffman to certify them. "This explains what was going on," he said.

 

Coffman and a Phase Line official both deny that Premier got any special consideration in the lengthy review of Colorado's electronic voting systems. "There was absolutely no outside influences that affected any of my decisions on the vendors," Coffman said Wednesday night.

 

Chris Riggall, spokesman for Premier, said the company found out Wednesday night about Phase Line's connection to Coffman. "That was certainly news to us and of great concern to us . . . and effective tonight that relationship is terminated," he said.

 

"Oh my God!" said Claudia Kuhns, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project, an advocacy group that pushes for accurate and verifiable elections. "I thought (the certification process) was politically capricious before but now I really do. "When you have a situation where there's the appearance of impropriety, it really causes one to be completely distrustful of the entire process."

 

Read the Entire Article at Rocky Mountain News 

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