BREAKING: Recall the Recall!

The Colorado Secretary of State's office announced today that organizers seeking to recall Senate President John Morse submitted 10,137 valid signatures, easily surpassing the 7,178 signatures needed to initiate what would be the first recall election in state history.

Or maybe not.

Colorado Recall Campaign

Who was driving this thing?

While it appears that Kennedy Enterprises directed its hired troops to collect enough signatures to survive review, it seems that whoever was in charge of drafting the petitions in the first place may have left out some pretty important language. As The Denver Post reports:

But before any recall election is solidified, Morse representatives now have a 15 day period to protest the validity of the signatures.

A Whole Lot of People for John Morse — the group backing the state senator — said Tuesday its challenge "would nullify the purported sufficiency of the signatures." They argue that the organizers failed to use proper language as defined by the Colorado constitution that requires petitions "expressly include a demand for the election of a successor to the recalled official."

"The constitution is clear, just as the courts are clear: no recall petition is valid without this specific language," said Mark Grueskin, an election lawyer who is representing a Morse constituent who filed the legal challenge with the secretary of state Tuesday.

Article 21, Section 1 of state statue says that recall petitions ask for "an election of the successor to the officer named in said petition."

Plain language from the recall petition doesn't appear to contain that request. [Pols emphasis]


There is certainly legal precedent behind this argument, which makes it harder for the anti-Morse campaign to explain why it didn't know what it was doing. In 2002, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that a municipal recall election was invalid for exactly this reason. If you're interested in the nitty gritty, use the Google and look up the awkwardly-titled "Combs v. Nowak, City Clerk of City of Central." Here's a brief summary of Combs v. Nowak:

In July 2000, the recall committee submitted petitions for the recall of two aldermen and the mayor of Central City. A citizen filed a protest to the petitions, claiming that the recall committee failed to include a demand for "an election of the successor to the officer named in said petition," as required by article XXI, section 1 of the Colorado Constitution. See also § 31-4-502(1)(a), C.R.S. 2001.

What's interesting in this case is not just the fact that the court rejected the recall signatures in their entirety — which it did — but that the courts never disputed the central argument in the Constitution that lawyers are now citing for the Morse case: that recall petitions must demand an election of a successor. The only dispute in 2002 was whether the municipality was subject to state recall laws, which clearly isn't an issue in a recall campaign for a state legislator. Should the state follow precedent and continue to abide by the Constitution as it was written and applied in the appeals court…then the recall efforts aimed at Sen. Morse and Sen. Angela Giron are probably toast.

Recall organizers and the people who bankrolled the signature gathering campaign very likely just blew two months of work because somebody didn't finish their required reading. That the Secretary of State's office failed to notice the omission means little; after all, it's not like they have experience with unprecedented recall elections. There's are many, many reasons why Colorado has never had a successful recall campaign of a state legislator. The details can kill you.

Maybe this was just a practice recall, and the real effort will be in 2014 (when Morse is term-limited anyway). At least they can't lose that one.

82 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    what a shame. all those volunteers out collectig signatures for invalid petitions.

  2. It's a shame Sen. Morse didn't tell them about this when the petitions first came out. Surely that's grounds for a recall…

    • Davie says:

      And the tens of thousands of GOP dollars wasted! Oh, the horror!

      • Albert J. Nock says:

        Gruscum will rack up at least 50K in legal bills and still probally lose. Talk about wasting money.

        IN the big picture, the way national money is funnled in, this is all chump change.


        Do the voters have a right to weigh in on this recall issue or this more about judges and laywers?  Non elected judges and laywers I may add.

        What is all this talk about Democracy?



        • BlueCat says:

          Fail to see what this has to do with "democracy". There are two basic requirements, not suggestions, in the Colorado state constitution for a recall petition. This one failed to include one of them. This isn't about an undotted "i" or  incorrect font size.  How would holding the petitioners to such simple, plainly stated and integral requirements be an assault on democracy? And then there's the Combs v Nowak decision.  It sure seems to be looking pretty good for Grueskin even with the current sleazeball SOS as a bump in the road.

          • horseshit GOP front group says:

            Non-elected judges, lawyers, state election statutes, and democracy have been co-existing for what appears to be a good while now.  Nock no understand.

            JUDGE:  "There is clear legal precedent in this case, and the procedures were not followed"

            NOCK:  Uhhh….Democracy !

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          Albert.  Do you believe that the judges have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution of the State of Colorado?  The constituation was ratified by the voters of Colorado so what's your beef?  Your petty pissed off Free Guns supporters can't follow the rules of these processes which is serious business and you're going to blame the judges?  What a turd.

        • Gray in Mountains says:

          the recall proponents will simply have to begin again and do it correctly. No big deal 😉

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    It'll be interesting to see how Gessler responds. Normally he's all about a strict interpretation of the law…

  4. ElliotFladen says:

    Seems like a huge screwup.  I haven't looked at the caselaw, but somebody who has told me it looks like a deal breaker on first read.  

  5. Negev says:

    Glad to see them using the statute to defend thier position. Perhaps if they read a little further they would have seen: "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question" Art. II, § 13 (enacted 1876, art. II, § 13).

    Funny how that works….


    • ajb says:

      That does not say what you think it says, But apparently your side has a problem with reading comprehension.

      • Negev says:

        It is difficult to comprehend. Perhaps you can educate me? 

        • ajb says:

          Last I checked just about anybody could still buy a gun and ammo. 

          It appears that you believe that there should be no restrictions on gun ownership, true? In that world, anybody (children, violent criminals, certified lunatics) would be able to buy any arms (automatic weapons, artillery) at any time. Lucky for you, there is such a place, it's just not Colorado.

          • Negev says:

            Well, I guess its been a while since you checked on that ammo thing, but that’s another issue. It appears your missing the already existing laws which prohibit children, criminals and certified lunatics from owning firearms. How is that working out?

            Perhaps you believe that a certified lunatic out to do great harm punishable by death will reconsider his actions as to avoid a misdemeanor ammo capacity charge. Perhaps you consider the best way to stop the killing is to repeat the same steps that failed over and over and expect a different result. I bet the logic is that since every gun used in a mass killing was obtained via a successful background check, that more background checks should stop the problem. 

            I am wondering what would have happened if Adam Lanza drove through the school with a car. Ban Keys? 

            Your confusing reasonable and effective. Restricting law abiding citizens in an effort to thwart criminals is neither. 

            And lucky for me, Colorado IS such a place. Machine guns are legal in CO. So is artillery. Where is the outrage? 



            • Curmudgeon says:

              Oh, right, the "car" argument…. you're right… cars can be lethal. But, they make you register cars. And force you to insure them. And you have to take a test to drive one. And some unsafe modifications aren't legal.   Go figure.

              • Negev says:

                You do not have to legally register a car. Nor are you required by law to insure them. If you want to drive them on public streets, yes. Otherwise, no. 

                And magazines are not lethal. Guns are. Why aren't you banning guns? My analogy does not concern cars, its the keys you use to start them. 

                Pretty freakin ridiculous, don't ya think?




            • ajb says:

              You really don't read very well, do you? 

              You quoted the constitution, but the constitution makes no exceptions for children, criminals, or the insane. Nor does it specify which arms are legal and which are not. All of these things are (obviously) subject to reasonable regulation. 

              But then you conflate reasonable regulation with 100% effective regulation. That's akin to saying that because some people speed, there should be no speed limits. 

              FWIW: Jared Loughner was tackled when he stopped to change magazines.

              • Negev says:

                I do not expect reasonable regulation to be 100% effective. I would expect perhaps, 10% effective? How about 1% effective. National statistics show less than 4% of gun crimes are done with a rifle. Of them, less than 1% with a so called "assault" rifle. So limiting the magazine capacity of a rifle to 15 rounds will effectively, assuming a criminal abides by this law, reduce gun violence by less than 1%. 




                • ajb says:

                  Are you always this disingenuous? How many mass murders have been committed with a low-capacity magazine? Do only assault rifles have high-capacity mags? I think you know the answers better than I do.

                  Presumably you are also aware of the record in Australia?

                  • Negev says:

                    I am in time out right now, I broke the libtard rule #4. Not ignoring you. John Morse recall petition (on topic)

                    • BlueCat says:

                      You do realize that supporting choice and gay marriage, wrong position in two out of the three G categories, makes you seriously libtarded. I wouldn't mention any of that at your next 2nd Amendment Hysteria Rally. Skunk at the picnic and all that. Just sayin'.

          • Hawkeye-X says:

            Hey, give Somalia some credit.. At least they are trying to clean up their image.


            They do have a government there, and it's still in its infancy. Unfortunately there's Al-Shabeeb who just bombed the other day…



    • BlueCat says:

      You say that, Negev, as if somebody's right to bear arms has been called into question.

      • Negev says:

        Not somebody's, everybody's.  This would be easy if the focus was on stopping criminals, not creating them. Are you suggesting the ammunition feeding device is seperate from the firearm and in and of itself not protected by this article? That would be awesome.  

        • Curmudgeon says:

          Maybe they're suggesting there's a difference between a Right to Bear Arms (which is a good thing), and a paranoid fear that you can't defend yourself from jack-booted Gubmint thugs with a magazine that's less than 15 rounds (because you're a scaredycat, and apparently, a terrible shot).

        • BlueCat says:

          First, people can still buy and possess all the guns they want. Second even gun rights advocates obviously don't believe that second amendment rights are any more absolute than any other enumerated rights, all of which are subject to certain restrictions. Example: Freedom of speech famously does not include yelling fire in a crowded theater, committing libel, misrepresentation of various kinds, etc. It is not, therefore, absolute. None of our rights are or ever have been.

          How do I know that even gun rights hardliners don't believe what they say about the uniquely absolute nature of the ban on infringing on the right to bear arms? Because I see you accepting the ban on fully automatic weapons and I don't see you lobbying for the right to bring your favorite shoulder mounted missile launcher with you to the mall, for starters. So obviously, you do accept restrictions on your second amendment rights similar to those on all other enumerated rights. So has the Supreme Court which has failed to strike down the ban on fully automatic weapons or on boarding your flight with your weapon of choice.

          You're basic argument is full of it and you know it. If you don't, the courts, which will not strike down any of the recent Colorado legislation to which you object, will instruct you.

          • Negev says:

            I certainly don’t believe the 2nd Amendment rights are any more absolute than any other rights, and of course subject to certain restrictions. Your example of not yelling fire in a crowded theater is spot-on. I would think a totally reasonable and acceptable restriction to the 2nd Amendment would/should/must include something very similar, such as “you are absolutely, under no circumstances, allowed to enter a crowed theater and open fire with your firearm.” Agreed? The issue starts, in my mind, when the movie theater starts taping your mouth shut prior to entering the show.


            Reasonable restrictions to all rights are obviously already in place. I would be with you if they made a crime using a magazine with over 15 rounds punishable by life in prison. I would be right there if using a firearm in ANY CRIME put you in a mass murder crime category. When you suggest anyone with a magazine over 15 rounds is suspect to be a mass killer, you go beyond reason.   


            Again, there is no ban on automatic weapons. Google it. There are however reasonable restrictions. But you can buy a tank on ebay. You cannot however, use it to hurt another individual. Hey, that makes sense to me. Can we call that common ground?


            I personally accept restrictions on the 2nd.  I would however suggest, if your going to go down this path, why not, at least, do something effective in the process. If Morse is going down over this (I accept the way the cards fall, either way) it would have been nice to know that his martyrdom at least made a difference. As it stands, he risked everything to accomplish no significant progress on ending the killing. What is even worse, he used legislation that has been proven time and time again, to be ineffective. Not even an original, break out thought, which is unfortunate. 

            • BlueCat says:

              I googled it.

              Federal Firearms Regulations

              It has been unlawful since 1934 (The National Firearms Act) for civilians to own machine guns without special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department. Machine guns are subject to a $200 tax every time their ownership changes from one federally registered owner to another, and each new weapon is subject to a manufacturing tax when it is made, and it must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in its National Firearms Registry.

              To become a registered owner, a complete FBI background investigation is conducted, checking for any criminal history or tendencies toward violence, and an application must be submitted to the ATF including two sets of fingerprints, a recent photo, a sworn affidavit that transfer of the NFA firearm is of "reasonable necessity," and that sale to and possession of the weapon by the applicant "would be consistent with public safety." The application form also requires the signature of a chief law enforcement officer with jurisdiction in the applicant's residence.

              Since the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of May 19, 1986, ownership of newly manufactured machine guns has been prohibited to civilians. Machine guns which were manufactured prior to the Act's passage are regulated under the National Firearms Act, but those manufactured after the ban cannot ordinarily be sold to or owned by civilians. (my emphasis)

              (Sources: talk.politics.guns FAQ, part 2, "FAQ on National Firearms Act Weapons", and from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms,and Explosives (ATF) National Firearms Act FAQ. See also, "The Firearms Owners' Protection Act: A Historical and Legal Perspective" [Hardy, 1986]) )




              So yes, there are many fully automatic weapons which most civilians are flat out barred from owning . Very extensive restrctions are placed on others.


              Until the courts side with you and overturn the gun control legislation recently passed in Colorado as unconstitutional I'd get my pompous ass down off that high horse of yours. Your personal opinion of what passes constitutional muster and what doesn't will not be a factor.


              • Negev says:

                Sweet. Oh but you missed this part:

                [A]ny qualified manufacturer, importer, or dealer intending to discontinue business shall, prior to going out of business, transfer in compliance with the provisions of this part any machine gun manufactured or imported after May 19, 1986, to a Federal, State or local governmental entity, qualified manufacturer, qualified importer, or, subject to the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section, dealer qualified to possess such, machine gun.

                And your forgetting, I have made no opinion of what passess consitutional muster. I just found it a bit ironic that the Morse campaign is the first to scoure the Colorado Constitution when it comes to saving HIS pompus ass, while at the same time ignoring what would be conceivably something equally as clear cut in the same document. That is all. 



                • BlueCat says:

                  That doesn't negate anything in the part I included, the result of which being that bans on many fully automatic weapons are indeed in effect for most people, bans which have been allowed to stand as constitutional by the courts. For that matter the assault weapon banning legislation was never overturned either.

                  For someone making no judgements you set forth quite a few undeniable judgements. You state that everybody's right to bear arms is being infringed. I assume you must mean in an impermissible manner, not in the normal way all rights are limited, or why make the point?

                  As for the examples in which you find that weapons shouldn't be banned in certain environments, just the illegal use of them, why shouldn't the same go for your weapon of choice on a flight?  The principle is the same.

                  You don't treat any of this as disagreements among reasonable people who hold differing opinions to be settled in the courts. You do clearly disparage an interpretation of the constitution regarding the right to bear arms with which you don't agree,  making a connection between two unrelated questions and how the constitution should be interpreted in regards to the two distinct sets of  issues involved with the clear implication that there is hypocrisy in Morse's interpretations.

                  Now you will probably say  that you never said  the word "hypocrisy". You just said "ironic'. But what's ironic about it unless you feel that one view shows respect for the constitution and one doesn't ? I believe it to be reasonable to assume an inference of hypocrisy or, once again, why bring it up as "ironic"?

                  Why not just have the balls to stand by your smart ass assertions?  There is a certain charm,  a dash of panache, in being a smart ass. None at all in being a weasel.



                  • Negev says:

                    Please feel free to substitute ironic with hypocrisy anywhere in the text. I do feel one shows respect for the Constitution and one does not, noting that it comes from the same camp. I totally prefer smart ass over weasel. I believe we are getting somewhere now. 

                    • BlueCat says:

                      Fail to see what the one constitutional issue has to do with the other.  Don't suppose you'll change your tune if the challenge to the petition is upheld and the recent gun legislation is also upheld, making the Morse camp simply correct on both counts rather than hypocritical? Nah, didn't think so.

                      But that's not the important thing here. The important thing is my success in shaming you into abandoning your inner weasel in favor of embracing your inner smart ass. wink

                      You're welcome.

                      And may I say, after the long pointless struggles with EF it's fun to argue with someone who argues back instead of trying to employ comically lame evasion techniques. I will probably always think you're wrong but at least I'll know WTF we're arguing about from one post to the next.


            • Duke Cox says:

               When you suggest anyone with a magazine over 15 rounds is suspect to be a mass killer,

              I am sorry… I missed that. Who suggested that was the case?

              • Negev says:

                The intent of the law is to allow an individual the opportunity to escape or tackle a mass killer while  reloading. Therefore we would limit the ability of a law abiding citizen to possess a magazine with a capacity larger than 15, soley to prevent them from having the ability to kill on a massive scale without reloading. Did you catch it this time?  

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          For the umpteenth time asshole.  Nobody is coming to take your guns.  The black helicopters are not circling overhead.  You're a fucking liar to say that gun regulations are identical with gun confiscation which you know damn well isn't the case.  Maybe it time Free Guns supporters like you pull your heads out of your asses and have an start an honest dialogue about gun regulations and what we as a society can do to prevent dangeous people from having unrestricted access to some of the most dangerous weapons developed by man.  Pull your head out of your asshole asshole and admit that you know the difference between gun rights, gun regulations and gun confiscation.  If you can't distinguish between the three and what's real and what is conservative conspiracy fantasy then shut the fuck up because you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

          • Negev says:

            Wow. For someone ready to start honest dialogue, your off to a great start. I am guessing your talking to me, and I wonder if you can show me where in my text I suggest someone is coming to take my guns, or  gun regulations are identical with gun confiscation? I do however, like the enthusiasm. 


            • Gilpin Guy says:

              Got your attention didn't I.  In the old days people had to smack a stubborn mule with a 2X4 to get their attention.  You still didn't answer my question regarding what Constitutional statutes are being violated and how.  If you know the difference between gun regulations and gun confiscation then why don't you just come right out and say it instead of being all sly about how I can't prove your core beliefs.


              Why don't you just come out and say it in public that you know the difference between gun regulations and gun confiscation and you want to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons.


              You want women to change their lives to protect life but then you claim that nobody can ask you to change yours.  Is that it?  You're only Pro-Life when it comes to other people's lives?  Freedom for me but not for Thee?

              • Negev says:

                I know the difference between gun regulations and gun confiscation and I want to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons. I have a child the age of those killed at Sandy Hook. There is nothing I want more than the violence to stop. These laws do not do that. 


                And now you think I am pro-life? That's another leap. Listen, we are talking about rights here. I am pro-choice. I am pro choice because I believe in a women's inalienable right to her own reproductive decisions, as determined by her, not rich white men in Washington. While we are at it, I am pro gay marriage, because you should have the right to love whoever you want, not to be determined by heterosexual homophobics in power. I value all rights, as should everybody. 


                So if you want to make this a Dem/Republican thing, I personally swing to the left. In fact, all this time I thought the tyrannical government we were meant to fight was a Republican tyrannical government. I would hope some Dems would see the value in retaining as many gun rights as possible – you may need them someday! . 



                • BlueCat says:

                  I should have scrolled down before saying I would probably always disagree with you. At least I didn't put any assumptions about your general rightieness in print. Still think the courts will disappoint you on both the recall and gun control legislation.

                  And about embracing your inner smart ass? That's pretty much the entire reason for the existence of BlueCat so I know whereof I speak.

    • Half Glass Full says:

      Dear Negev: I'm sure your views on gun control are extremely interesting to your friends and yourself, and maybe even your dog. They are not of interest to most of us reading this thread, which is supposed to be about the John Morse recall petition. You are violating the "Libertad Rule":


      SENTENCE: Temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box
      Also known as “The Libertad Rule,” so named after the long-time Polster who has an irritating penchant for posting irrelevant comments, videos or non sequiturs under inappropriate threads.
      If you have something off-topic you want to talk about, then go to the daily “Open Threads.” But nobody wants to scroll through comments about the Senate race and have to skip past your diatribe about a flat tax. Unless the diary is called “Senate Candidates Discuss Tax Options,” then take your comments or embedded video somewhere else. If your comment is totally off-topic, it will likely be deleted. Repeated abuses of this will lead to temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box.
      – See more at:

      • Negev says:

        Is that the topic? Sorry. Off to the box I go…

        • Gray in Mountains says:

          Though I think you wrong in every opinion you have voiced I am sure we'll cut you a little slack on the threadjack since you're a newcomer to the 'hood. Next time bring cookies or beer 😉


        • BlueCat says:

          A bunch of us who played along would have to join you. It was a tangent that naturally flowed from the comparison you drew. Maybe several warning tickets should be issued and leave it at that. And since gun control legislation issues are at the heart of the recall effort in the first place, it's not all that much of a tangent.

  6. dwyer says:

    God is a democratic. 

  7. dwyer says:

    God is a Democrat.  I, on the other hand, am a blind idiot.  Where the hell is the preview icon anyway?

  8. OrangeFree says:

    Let's see here…

    16,200 signatures obtained. 6,063 declared invalid. A Full 1/3 of the gathered signatures.

    10,137 declared valid. 

    Owen Hill, Morse's opponentin 2010, received 13,526 votes. 3,389 more than the total valid signatures signatures obtained.

    And that was an election held under the old district lines, in a midterm election and in a Republican year. Morse is in a much more favorable district now – and it's the district the recall would be held under. So much for the argument that Morse doesn't represent the views of his district. 

    And now there's this foul up. Really got it locked up there NRA front group, locked. up. If the establishment doesn't want Tanc as the nominee, they will force Gessler to follow the letter of the law and declare the petitions invalid. If he doesn't, not only will his chances at the Governor's Office be DOA after the primary, he'll be the next state-level elected official to face a recall. 

  9. Konola says:

    I'm sitting here giggling. Can't decide if it was the hard cider, the hour, or the content of this story that set me off.

  10. LOLcakes says:


    A copy of the McLauchlan peition is below, which I assume is the same as the Morse one, in case anyone is curious.

    It looks like they relied on section 1-12-108 in designing their petition (below).  Which raises the question, are there contradictary instructions in state law? If following 108, where is the petition supposed to include the language from 101 about electing a succesor?  I'm not a lawyer, so I'll be interested to hear what people think.  Also, how does the fact that Gessler's office (or EPC clerk?) approved the petition as-is factor into the Morse's challenge? (Can you blame "citizens" for getting the petition wrong if the election official approved it for ciculation?)


    § 1-12-108. Petition requirements – approval as to form



    The petition shall be prepared and circulated pursuant to this part 1.


    No signature shall be counted that was placed on a petition prior to approval as to form of the petition by the designated election official pursuant to subsection (4) of this section or more than sixty days after the designated election official's approval as to form of the petition.


    The petition for the recall of an elected official may consist of one or more sheets, to be fastened together in the form of one petition section, but each side of the sheet that contains signatures of eligible electors shall contain the same heading and each petition section shall contain one sworn affidavit of the circulator. No petition shall contain the name of more than one person proposed to be recalled from office.


    The petition for recall may be circulated and signed in sections, and each section shall contain a full and accurate copy of the warning as required by paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of this section, the title in paragraph (c) of subsection (3) of this section, the general statement as described in section 1-12-103, and appropriate columns or spaces for the information required in paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of this section. Each petition section shall designate, by name and address, a committee of up to three persons that shall represent the signers in all matters affecting the petition.


    No petition shall be certified as sufficient that does not contain the requisite number of names of eligible electors whose names do not appear on any other petition previously filed for the recall of the same person under the provisions of this article.


    At the top of each side of each sheet that contains signatures of eligible electors shall be printed, in bold-faced type, the following:





    For anyone to sign this petition with any name other than one's own or to knowingly sign one's name more than once for the same measure or to knowingly sign the petition when not a registered elector.


    Do not sign this petition unless you are an eligible elector. To be an eligible elector you must be registered to vote and eligible to vote in (name of political subdivision) elections.


    Do not sign this petition unless you have read or have had read to you the proposed recall measure in its entirety and understand its meaning.


    Directly following the warning in paragraph (b) of this subsection (3) shall be printed in bold-faced type the following:


    Petition to recall (name of person sought to be recalled) from the office of (title of office).


    No petition shall be circulated until it has been approved as to form as meeting the requirements of this subsection (4). The official with whom the petitions are to be filed pursuant to section 1-12-107 shall approve or disapprove a petition as to form by the close of the seventh business day following submission of the proposed petition. On the day that the action is taken, the official shall mail written notice of the action taken to the committee and to the person whom the petition seeks to recall.


    If the form of the petition is not approved as to form, the designated election official shall provide specific reasons for the disapproval.

    • Answer to at least one question: can you fault the citizens if the election officials approved it?

      The law supercedes the election official. The Constitution supercedes the law. If the complaint is accurate (and based on past case law I'd say it's got a strong chance), then these petitions are toast.

  11. Canines says:

    Can anyone add any insight to this?

    That the Secretary of State's office failed to notice the omission means little; after all, it's not like they have experience with unprecedented recall elections.

    From reading that, I'd gather it's not necessarily the Secretary of State's job to point out that out? Doesn't the Secretary of State's office doesn't have an attorney like Grueskin who researches and points that out during the language review? Just curious.

  12. mtboneiii says:

    Just read the opinion in the Nowak case.  This was a very different issue because in addition to the constitutional language, the statute in section 31-4-502 applies only to municipalities.  The judges in the appeal of the Nowak case relied more on the stature than on the Constitution to come to the decision that they came to.  Since Morse is not a municipal official, this section cannot be references in this situation.  Tons of case law in this area defers to the people and respecting their right to recall. Can't imagine the courts will throw this out on this technicality when all prior case law shows they will respect the signatures. 

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      this is NOT a technicality. The language that was not included in the petitions is necessary so that those signing will have an idea what they are signing.

    • Early Worm says:

      The Colorado Constitution requires the recall petition to demand "an election of the successor to the officer named in said petition."  The Petition, as best I can tell, does not include that demand.  One man's "hyper-technicality" is another's basic compliance. By my reading, it is a fatal mistake.  But that is why we have an independent judiciary.

    • The court in that case said that they never bothered considering the Constitutional question because the city charter also included by reference the requirements from CRS 31-4-502. And they found that the language requirement was valid grounds for invalidating the petitions.

      If the language requirement from the city charter inclusion of state statute is valid, then the Constitutional language requirement for state elected officials is even more rock-solid for these recalls of state elected officials.  (And if the Constitutional provision doesn't apply to representatives and senators, then there is no applicable provision to recall representatives and senators at all…)

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        it would be a shame if the Rs are so angry at Gessler for letting this happen that they abandon him for Tancredo or Brophy. Wonder if the petitions re Giron are similarly flawed

        • I'm guessing they're all the same. The example image above was for the McLachlan recall effort and contained the same omission.

          If they were sane they'd all get pissed at the RMGO or whoever initiated the petitions. Gessler was just trying to expedite the process by approving what was put in front of him.

      • PS – the Constitutional question in the Combs v. Nowak case wasn't about the language requirement – it was about the applicability of that provision to municipal officials. In typical court fashion, they didn't answer that broader question because a narrower solution – reliance on the city charter and state statute – directly answered the question.

        But the direct answer to that more narrow question was: if you don't include the required language, then the petitions are invalid. As Eliot noted above – it seems like a strong case.

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