Judge orders Colorado secretary of state to stop voter purge | VailDaily.com

Judge orders Colorado secretary of state to stop voter purge

Todd Hartman
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Federal judge John Kane demanded Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman stop canceling voters from the state registration rolls amid an emergency court hearing this afternoon.

“There has been a violation of federal law, and that must cease and stop immediately,” Kane said from the bench. “That is the order.”

The ruling came after activists, seizing on comments Coffman made to the Rocky Mountain News on Thursday, asked the judge to intervene.

Coffman had told the newspaper that a court-approved agreement worked out this week still allowed him to remove voters from the state rolls when he found duplicate names, people who moved or deceased voters.

“The process is continuing,” he told the Rocky on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Common Cause said she was “outraged” by the approach Coffman was taking and lawyers representing voting activists sought the hearing Friday. Because most lawyers for the plaintiffs had left Denver, the hearing was conducted by phone.

Kane was clearly unhappy with Coffman’s actions, taking no time to issue his opinion after the parties made their case.

“I don’t think there is anything deliberate about this, although possibly something obdurate about the secretary’s comments (to the paper),” Kane said. “Let’s just cease and stop from … removing names immediately.”

Jessie Allen, a lawyer for the activists, then told the judge she was concerned Coffman wouldn’t follow the advice of his counsel, or the judge’s order.

“If the defendant doesn’t listen to his counsel, he’s going to be listening to me personally,” Kane said. “I don’t issue threats idly, and I’m not issuing one now. … I expect to be obeyed.”

An attorney representing Coffman said the secretary would comply

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