Robinson, Watson Fail to Make Ballot; Lynne Squeaks In

UPDATE: The Secretary of State’s office announced this afternoon that Democrat Donna Lynne made the ballot for Governor. Lynne barely surpassed the signature threshold in two congressional districts (1,556 in CD-4 and 1,586 in CD-6) and almost certainly would not have qualified for the June Primary were it not for SOS Wayne Williams’ decision to stop counting petitions for Democrat Jared Polis.


Republican gubernatorial candidates Victor Mitchell (left) and Doug Robinson get mixed news from the Secretary of State’s office.

We wrote Thursday about the absolute mess of a process that candidates in Colorado must navigate in order to make it onto the June Primary ballot. Things are about to get a whole lot messier.

On Friday the Colorado Secretary of State’s office made some huge announcements about ballot access for four statewide Republican candidates. In the race for GovernorVictor Mitchell is on the ballot and Mitt Romney’s Nephew (Doug Robinson) is not.

In the battle for State Treasurer, Republican Polly Lawrence has been certified for the June Primary, while erstwhile frontrunner Brian Watson failed to make the ballot because of a shortage of signatures in Congressional District 2.

Today’s ruling is almost certainly not the last we’ve heard of Robinson and Watson. We would expect both candidates to file lawsuits, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if both ended up making the ballot after a Colorado judge hears their case. These days, the key to making the ballot in Colorado is really about having enough money to hire an attorney.

25 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Davie says:

    Curious that Mitchell, who turned in his petitions after Robinson, made it, while Robinson didn't.

    Note to self — don't hunt for signatures in the same areas Staplegun's people are working.

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    After two election cycles with this much fun in the "petition process," it may be time to re-invent this wheel. What is your favorite approach to simplification or improvement?

    I'm thinking there should be a way to allow campaigns to submit backers electronically and have a daily or weekly tally of who is backing them. A signature with attached photo or thumbprint would be a better identifier, and matching of the person with a voter registration would allow a running count throughout the petition gathering phase.

    Other ideas?

    • Davie says:

      A straightforward way to do that would be to have the SoS give Read-only access to the voter registration system to a tablet-based petition application, to confirm the petition-signer is registered (and for the correct party).  Then using the same tablet application, let the signer check the box next to the candidate's name (in effect, signing the petition), and then finally have the petition-taker take a picture of their ID to attach to the "e-signature" which would be stored in a separate, secure petition database maintained by the SoS, providing real-time counts.  That would be faster and more legible than scribbling a name, address and signature on a tiny box on a sheet of paper.

      Not only would that instantly validate the signature, it would prevent the same voter from signing subsequent petitions for the same race.

      The petition-gatherer would still be required to be qualified, and swear that the "signatures" gathered are from the person with the corresponding ID.

      Trying to capture a physical signature electronically that resembles a paper record is impossible.  I've tried many times at retail checkouts or tablets, and they never look the same.


      • flatiron says:

        Just do like California and others states and just impost a filing fee of 2% of the position's annual salary. For Colorado governor, I think that's $1,800. Why are we making it so hard to get on the ballot? 

        If we are concerned about just needing a plurality to win, have a runoff.

        • Davie says:

          We don't really want a mail-in ballot the size of a phone book, now do we?

          • MADCO says:

            What's a "phonebook?"

            • Davie says:

              A large collection of unfamiliar names, only a very few of which I need to know, delivered to me in an absurdly heavy package, that I must then decide how best to disposition in an environmentally friendly way.

              I mean seriously, it's tough enough to get voters to choose among candidates and return ballots as it is.  Can you imagine if each race had a dozen or more no-hopers randomly listed?  I actually believe it could suppress voter participation due to an epidemic of acute eye-roll dysplasia.

              • MADCO says:

                I totally remember the Hamilton papers and The Federalist claims that limited access to the ballot to just one candidate per party. That Pesky constitution making life great for … many years.

                • Davie says:

                  Or we could just cut to the chase and use the jury system to call up citizens to do their public duty and serve in office.

                  Talk about walking a mile in someone else's shoes!

                  • mamajama55 says:

                    At a local or municipal level, I could see some kind of rotation serving on boards of directors of public institutions. You would want to temper it with other people so that no one had too much power, and keep it odd numbers to avoid deadlocks.

                    You'd want appropriate supports, like childcare, accommodations for disabilities, and non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to ensure that folks don't get exploited. You'd want some minimum stipend to meet people's basic needs. You'd want a clear time limit. If people love serving in public office, and are good at it, they could try to get elected.

                    But it could be a part of public service, which I do think could be beneficial for every citizen or person who wants to become a citizen.

                    It would allow folks to gain marketable job skills and experience.

                    Don't tell CHB, but I do think that sometimes people can take public benefits for granted and need to give back to the community – not least, to feel included and valued by that community.

                    I'm not the only one with this idea.

                  • RepealAndReplace says:

                    What did William F. Buckley once say…..

                    He would just as soon see this country governed by the first 435 names in the NYC telephone book than by the members of the House of Representatives.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      No, Buckley said he'd rather be governed by the first 1,000 names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty.

      • mamajama55 says:

        That's a reasonable solution if the paid signature gatherers could be persuaded to prioritize quality (valid sigs) over quantity.

        But I would never trust these paid signature firms that hire anyone off the street with that level of confidential information. Hell, I don't even trust Secretary of State Williams with it, and he already has access. He wanted to give it all to Trump's Election Commission when Kobach requested it.

        • Davie says:

          Agreed — much of the problem is with the companies that hire transients and felons to gather this info.

          However, seems to me giving these guys your home address on a sheet of paper is just as risky (or more so) than having the voter simply type in their name, zip code and birthday (none of which needs to be saved on the petition computer — just a pointer in the app to the registration record already on file), in order to verify their registration.

          The validation happens within the application — the signature gatherer at most would get a glance at the voter's driver's license (to capture a verification photo) that would again, only be stored on the SoS database for official tracking/auditing purposes.

    • MADCO says:

      Oligarchy or straight up Monarchy.

      Mad King George was the problem. Pretty sure he's gone now – so Brexit should lead to a merger – Britain and North America.  
      Think about it! 
      Canada, Estados Unidos and Mexico. Joined by the Queen of England.

      Bleedin' awesome, eh, amigo?
      Mexico had an Emporer. Restore the Empire!


  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    Refresh my recollection……

    Polly Lawrence … she's the one in that photo Pols posted which appeared as though she was fellating a corn cob? (I remember Moderatus was quite indignant about it.)

  4. RepealAndReplace says:

    I predict a lawsuit filed over the weekend……

    Moderatus' girlfriend is going to be in court Monday defending Wayne Williams from the onslaught of Republican office-seeking litigants.

    Well, at least Brian Watson and Mitt Romney’s nephew.

  5. Davie says:

    According to Denver7 news, Robinson is going to court over his petitions.  But other than perhaps clarifying the law or even making new law, this appears to be much ado about nothing:

    The primary ballots will be set by April 27 ahead of the June 26 primaries. In a recent Magellan Strategies poll of likely Republican primary voters, about 8 percent said they would support Robinson if he made the ballot, and about 5 percent said they'd support Mitchell.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      So Romney's nephew's lawsuit at best, sets up a battle for third place?

      Of course, that’s assuming that Greg Lopez has been able to channel his big second-place finish at the assembly into a second place standing in the polls.

      Robinson and Mitchell are like two bald guys fighting over a comb.

      The big question: who gets Cynthia’s 13% in the Magellan poll?

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    So what are the numeric insufficiencies that SOS determined?  Interested in knowing the numbers, please . . . 

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Thx.  So Mitt’s nephew just missed the mark by 22 signatures in one district (CD2) according to the accounting firm of Wayno & Bartels . . . 

        I look for Lynn to be releasing a statement in the near future about how Wayno’s getting his ass handed to him by a judge (Mitt’s Nephew v. W-SOS) is really a victory for the SOSCo. 

        Interesting that in both cases the deficiences were in CD2.  Maybe there’s a lesson for Republicans gathering signatures in Boulder?  (That young kid with a dreadlocks, piercings, and a neck beard signing your petition may not be the Ivanka Trump he says he is? . . .) 

        Oh, those crazy college kids, ratfucking the GOPers . . .

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