SATURDAY UPDATE: Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s statement on yesterday’s court action and denial of his requested injunction, via the Colorado Independent:
“The judge today did not decide on the merits of the case as this was a preliminary decision. The judge said we have a reasonable probability of success on the merits but also admitted his decision could throw the outcome of the election in doubt.
“Coloradans can continue to expect my office to enforce the laws on the books, preserve statewide uniformity, and ensure election integrity,” Gessler said. “Unfortunately, the judge’s decision today allows counties to operate this election differently based on how much money they have. We’ve seen constant erosion of personal responsibility and this decision continues that erosion.
“There can be respectful disagreement over whether Colorado has a good law. But the issues argued in court were largely muddled by overblown political rhetoric and grandstanding by those seeking partisan gain. As we move into the presidential election, I would challenge Coloradans to look beyond the rhetoric, beyond the embellishments and beyond the overblown statements to arrive at your own conclusions. This is merely the first salvo in a long election year to come. [Pols emphasis]
“As I’ve said, inactive voters can still participate in this election by updating their status at GoVoteColorado.com, by contacting their county clerk or by showing up to any service center or polling place before the election.”
UPDATE #3: The Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper:
Pueblo Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz said that after the judge’s ruling, county employees began mailing ballots to 64 inactive military voters Friday afternoon and would send ballots to the other the other 17,000 inactive voters in the county next week. That’s when Ortiz is mailing out all 82,000 ballots he’s ordered for the Nov. 1 election.
“From the beginning, we thought that providing ballots to our inactive voters was the bare minimum of our obligation,” Ortiz said after the judge refused to grant Gessler an injunction against Denver and Pueblo counties. “I don’t know where this leaves the other (58 counties, which will mail) that had decided not to send ballots to inactive voters, but we’re going to be working now to get all our ballots out on schedule.” [Pols emphasis]
UPDATE #2: Just in via Twitter from Sara Burnett of the Denver paper–Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz will mail ballots to inactive voters in that county as well, mail ballots to overseas/deployed military will go out “immediately.”
UPDATE: Denver District Judge Brian Whitney DENIES preliminary injuction sought by Gessler against Denver, inactive voter ballot delivery permitted. Case to proceed on merits. Developing.
As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports:
Like a fistfight in the street, the judicial showdown between Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler and two county clerks – Pueblo County’s Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz and Denver Clerk Debra Johnson – is starting to draw a crowd as both sides head for a court hearing today in Denver.
Denver District Judge Brian Whitney is scheduled to hear Gessler’s request for an injunction against Denver County at 1 p.m. today. Ortiz will be there, along with Pueblo County Attorney Dan Kogovsek, hoping Whitney will accept their filing to be included in the courtroom fight.
Like Johnson, Ortiz has argued, with the advice of Pueblo County Attorney Dan Kogovsek, that inactive voters are still entitled to receive ballots, regardless of their response to postcards or other notices.
Ortiz sharpened the confrontation last week by challenging Gessler on the question of inactive military voters.
Yesterday, Denver advocacy groups Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver filed an amicus brief in support of Denver Clerk Debra Johnson:
This brief will establish that the Secretary’s actions are contrary to Colorado law because they unnecessarily and improperly restrict voter participation and potentially disenfranchise eligible electors. Further, because the Secretary’s Order to the Clerk has a disproportionate impact on eligible Hispanic and African-American electors and denies them the opportunity “to be permitted to vote” under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-1-103(1), it should be found void ab initio.
Courtesy Colorado Common Cause, here are links to many of the principal documents and press releases related to the case–a lot of which you already know about, forming the basis of coverage of the story over the past couple of weeks. Here they are in one spot for reference:
We’ll update this afternoon with developments from court.