BREAKING: Recalls Upended By Court Ruling (Again)

UPDATE #2: FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

The Sept. 10 recall elections of two Democratic Colorado lawmakers was supposed to be the first test-run of a new election overhaul, passed this year by Democrats, that would have sent mail ballots to every voter.

Now, those elections won’t involve any mail ballots at all.

After a long day in court, District Judge Robert McGahey ruled in favor of Colorado Libertarians, who’d sued after being denied a spot on the recall ballot because they failed to meet a deadline, put in place by the new election law, to submit petitions within 10 days of the election date being set…

“I know what this decision means,” McGahey told the court as he issued the ruling around 7 p.m. Monday night, alluding to concerns from county clerks of escalating election costs and from Democrats who worried that the loss of mail ballots, which can’t be printed and mailed to voters in time if candidate signatures are validated so late, will lower voter turnout.


UPDATE: The Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader:

[Judge Robert] McGahey said Secretary of State Scott Gessler erred when ignoring the constitution in favor of a new state statute that set deadlines for ballot access in the recall elections.

The new deadline was important for another part of the new election law that required ballots to be sent in the mail to every registered voter, regardless of whether they requested one.


We're still working on the details, but a ruling late today on a conflict between the state's new election statute and the Colorado constitution in Denver District Court appears to throw the upcoming recall special elections into chaos so as to give third party candidates a shot at the ballot. FOX 31's Eli Stokols Tweeted a short while ago:


Apparently, minor party candidates will have the chance to get on the recall successor candidate ballot by August 26th now, which means the expected mailing of ballots next week will not go forward. This decision is also subject to appeal, which seems quite likely under the circumstances. Stand by for updates…

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    Interesting ruling or maybe cluster is a better term.  I wonder if it is going to be a negative for Morse.  One theory would be that the more things get screwed up the more likely voters are stick with the known.  The other theory would be that it opens the door for all a huge free for all and anything goes.  Will be a most interesting election.  The judges seem to be reinforcing an any thing goes ethos.

  2. mamajama55 says:

    My take on it, as someone volunteering with the Giron campaign, is that the recalls will still fail. It will be more expensive for taxpayers ($230K now in Pueblo to go to 9 in-person voting sites).  Paid and unpaid staff for the anti-recall campaigns will work even harder – we'd already talked with thousands of voters who were prepared to vote "No on the Recall".  Now they all have to be contacted again about voting in person. Major pain, but by no means impossible with enough people power, which we have.

    For people who vote yes on the recall, I do think that the votes will be split, mostly in a way which will harm challengers more than the incumbent Senators.

    In Pueblo, there probably are a few (~ 2200 – 20% Dem signatures on those 11,000 valid petition signers) Democratic gun fanciers who will vote yes on the recall and yes for "stealth candidate" Anglund, if he in fact gets enough valid signatures to be on the ballot by Aug 26.  I'm sure that this was Anglund's strategy, and the strategy of those recall proponents backing him. Pueblo's a Democratic town- they hoped, and still hope, to pick up some Democratic votes. Chieftain is, of course, aiding and abetting this by glowingly portraying Anglund as a "retired math teacher" and a former city councilperson. Anglund was on the Pueblo City Council in the 1970s.  But the Chieftain's sympathetic biography doesn't convey Anglund's well-known advocacy for gun rights.

    My understanding is that Anglund has already submitted signatures, If there is a process to validate the sigs, then that has to be done before Aug 26 now.

    It will be really interesting to watch the Pueblo Chieftain, and other recall proponents, tie themselves into pretzels advocating for both Rivera and Anglund, all the while pretending to be "non-partisan" by promoting Anglund, the friendly retired math teacher Democrat.


  3. davebarnes says:

    This is a perfect demonstration that the Colorado Constitution has too damn many words in it.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Or needs to be revised for the 21st century and the popularity of mail-in ballots.  It is a shame that the oversea constituents are going to be denied a legitimate chance to participate in the democracy that they are protecting.  On the other hand in this instance they are probably overwhelmingly pro-gun military so it works to the disadvantage of the challengers to cut them out of the loop.  Where it hurts Democrats will be with the elderly who would have a difficult time getting to the polls to vote in person.  All in all a mess.  The legislation is better than the constitution and the constitution needs to reflect the current available methods for participating in a democratic society.

  4. itlduso says:

    It would seem that one or more home-bound voters who normally receive a mail ballot would be able to file suit against this election that requires them to show up at a polling place.  Talk about voter suppression.

  5. vertigo700 says:

    I think third-party canidates in this race are a slight boon to the Democrats. I doubt many Democrats would vote libretarian, but probably some Republicans will. Even if the Libs get 2-3 percent of what would be GOP, that might just be enough to save the Democrats, particularly Morse.

  6. mamajama55 says:

    The only votes that count from Morse & Giron's points of view are the Recall? Yes / No votes. If more people vote yes on the recall than no, then the senator gets recalled.

    The "successor" vote comes in only for "yes" votes on the recall. Then it might kind of suck to be Bernie Herpin vs Gordon Butt, if Butt gets more votes. This is Colorado Pols, for Chrissakes! Someone go make fun of Gordon Butts' name!

    In the same vein, Anglund would probably take away from Rivera's votes. So it would suck to be Rivera, having campaigned and put up a website, and posed with the "beauties", only to be pushed aside by some upstart Colorado Gun Owner Inc candidate. 

    Anglund is dangerous to Giron because some gun fanciers might say, "Well, at least he's a Democrat," and vote yes on the recall and yes for Anglund.

    None of this matters without a majority on the primary question of the recall election – whether the sitting Senators should be recalled. If a majority votes for recall, than the successor candidate with the most votes wins a Senate seat, even with a tiny minority of votes. Extremism wins, democracy loses.

    So we can't let that happen.

  7. How does this stack up against Federal requirements for military voting? I know it's a state race, but the Federal government gets involved when it comes to military voting.

    If someone chooses, this is ripe for appeal to the Federal courts, which could overturn the Colorado Constitutional provision.

  8. Moderatus says:

    Democrats passed House Bill 1303 over the objections of Republicans. Now their poorly written bill is coming back to haunt them! This is a case of poetic justice.

    Make that two poorly written bills, this one and the stupid unenforceable mag ban…

    • This is a case of poorly written constitution. The provision in the state constitution disenfranchises military and other overseas voters, many of whom are serving our country. No-one in recent memory has challenged a recall based on this provision, and you can be sure that recall ballots have in the past gone out more than 15 days in advance.

      Can't blame this year's reforms for the f-up here.

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