MONDAY UPDATE: As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader reports, organizers of the recall election against Sen. Angela Giron will turn in roughly 13,500 signatures today–a much smaller margin than in Sen. John Morse's race, and less likely to survive validity checks by the Secretary of State's office.
To put the ouster attempt on the ballot 11,500 of those signatures must be valid, which is 25 percent of the number of votes cast in the 2010 election that put Giron in office.
As we've written before, the general rule of thumb for collecting signatures — whether it is for a recall or a ballot measure — is to make sure to turn in about double the amount required. Because many signatures will be invalidated for a variety of reasons (wrong address, signer wasn't a registered voter, etc.), it is always advisable to make sure you have a sufficient cushion to withstand those problems. It's not impossible that the Giron recall could make the ballot with just 2,000 additional signatures than required, but it's statistically unlikely.
As the Pueblo Chieftain's Peter Roper reports:
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler warned local Republicans in March that it would be a "brutal" process to recall state Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, and that recall elections are far more complicated than they appear.
Brutal or not, Giron's critics in the gun-rights community have pressed ahead with their petition drive and predict they will turn in more than the necessary 11,200 voter signatures to Gessler's office on Monday to force that special election later this summer.
Over the last few weeks, we've heard about a renewed push by gun-rights supports to obtain enough signatures to force a recall of Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo. When the recall petition campaign against Sen. Evie Hudak of Arvada folded, volunteers in that effort indicated they were headed to Pueblo to assist gathering signatures against Giron. It must be noted that, as of this writing, we have no information indicating that a paid petition effort is underway as was the case in Sen. John Morse's recall drive–and directly resulted in that campaign's delivery of over 16,000 signatures, which should be enough to survive validity checking by the Secretary of State.
Sources on the ground in Pueblo tell us that a combination of intra-Democratic infighting–locals can better speak to the nature of this but it appears to fully predate this year's legislative session–and a coordinated effort from local businesses, combined with the volunteer assist from failed recalls elsewhere, has given the petition campaign against Giron a chance of success. What we've heard is that this campaign will not turn in double the signature requirement like the campaign against Morse did, having only announced reaching bare sufficiency a week or so ago. The less pad they turn in, the greater the chance the petitions will not survive validity checks.
The key thing to understand about this is that local political dynamics, having little to do with the debate over gun safety, are at least partly responsible for the signature campaign against Sen. Giron having legs relative to other recall efforts that died on the vine without lavish funding. We expect that, should the petitions be ruled sufficient to proceed to an actual recall election in Senate District 3 this fall, everyone will be getting a crash course in frequently Byzantine Pueblo local politics. And we can tell you that some Democrats in Pueblo, who may have placed personal ambition and petty squabbles ahead of what's good for their party (they most certainly know who they are), might come to dearly regret the can of worms they've helped open down there.
Petitions are due tomorrow–stay tuned.