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April 26, 2016 03:51 PM UTC

Keyser Ballot Rejection Court Challenge Races Ahead

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: No ruling today says the Denver Post’s John Frank:


Jon Keyser's "two ballots."
Jon Keyser’s “two ballots.”

A hearing for embattled GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser, who was unexpectedly thrown off the 2016 primary ballot this week after Secretary of State Wayne Williams determined he did not submit enough valid petition signatures in CD-3, is getting under way right now in Denver District Court. From Keyser’s filing:

Due to the Secretary’s breach/neglect of duty or other wrongful act, Mr. Keyser was wrongfully deprived of a place on the primary election ballot for the Republican Party’s nomination for United States Senator.

Here’s the court filing. Keyser’s rejection appears to boil down to a (presumably paid) petition circulator who was not properly registered as required under Colorado election law, and resulted in the invalidation of signatures collected by that circulator. Keyser’s response is never mind those pesky details:

WHEREFORE, Petitioner prays for judgment and relief as follows:

A. For an order requiring the Secretary to comply with the Colorado Elections Code by accepting the Keyser petitions circulated by Tyler Gonzalez and all otherwise valid signatures thereon;

B. For an order requiring the Secretary to place Jon Keyser’s name on the Republican primary election ballot for United States Senator;

C. In the absence of an order requiring the Secretary to accept the Keyser petitions circulated by Tyler Gonzalez, an order continuing the proceeding on this Verified Petition for no longer than four business days to allow the Keyser Campaign to supplement this Verified Petition on the basis of additional wrongfully rejected signatures before the deadline under C.R.S. §§ 1-4-909 and 1-1-113; and

D. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

We’ll update when we hear what happens in court this afternoon.


17 thoughts on “Keyser Ballot Rejection Court Challenge Races Ahead

  1. Mr. Keyser's argument that the petition carrier "substantially complied" with the law is a strong argument. The Colorado Election Code specifically states that actions under the code that substantially comply with it are valid and legal.The petition carrier was a registered Republican. He had not updated his voter registration records at the El Paso County Clerk and Recorders office. I think Keyser wins this afternoon.

      1. If Keyser gets away with this, maybe Timmy Neville could file a lawsuit and say that his 18% at the convention/assembly was close enough to get him on the ballot.

        And at least Neville had the good sense to not quit his day job when he launched his US Senate campaign.

  2. How is any of this a result of Wayne Williams's "breach/neglect of duty or other wrongful act"? So, it's some sort of conspiracy from Williams (R) to keep Keyser (R) off the (R) primary ballot? I didn't realize it was Williams's responsibility to make sure all of Keyser's ballot collectors were properly registered? He didn’t meet the criteria as laid out in plain terms. Way to pass the buck, KEYSER.

    1. It's a pro-forma statement alleging a harm will result to the candidate.  Strictly legalese to comport with the section of the Colorado code under which the action is brought.

      C.R.S. 1-1-113

      (1) When any controversy arises between any official charged with any duty or function under this code and any candidate, or any officers or representatives of a political party, or any persons who have made nominations or when any eligible elector files a verified petition in a district court of competent jurisdiction alleging that a person charged with a duty under this code has committed or is about to commit a breach or neglect of duty or other wrongful act [emphasis mine], after notice to the official which includes an opportunity to be heard, upon a finding of good cause, the district court shall issue an order requiring substantial compliance with the provisions of this code. The order shall require the person charged to forthwith perform the duty or to desist from the wrongful act or to forthwith show cause why the order should not be obeyed. The burden of proof is on the petitioner.

      I think it was perfectly reasonable of the SoS to disallow the petitions. It shows he’s not playing favorites, and it likely is a violation, if a technical one. I also expect the district court to rule that the petitions should be considered valid as the use of the particular circulator was in substantial compliance with the law.

      1. It's all horseshoes and hand grenades, then?  

        Doing 90 in a 75? — It's OK, "substantially" within the speed limit, officer.   Minor in possession at age 19? — "substantially" of age 21.

        Will Keyser win? — undoubtedly.  Williams' job just got easier, all future petitions can just be judged valid by weight — no need for any of that messy, time-consuming counting crap!  (On the bright side, Keyser wi'll have to piss away a "substantial" portion of his massive remaining cash-on-hand campaign bankroll paying for this challenge.)

        You can return now, Moderatus — Keyser is an officially validated political juggernaut!

        1. Well election law, including case law, requires substantial rather than total compliance.  I'm not aware of that standard in relation to possession of intoxicants or in the law regarding vehicle speed, although the discretion of law enforcement to enforce the speed law does exist, and is used all the time.

          I don't think absolute technical compliance is a great standard with a fundamental right like those which surround elections.  While candidates and their campaigns should do better, the result of something like disqualifying Jon Keyser doesn't just harm him, it disenfranchises those who've asked that he be allowed to run.  I'm willing to do that, but not over some dude who's carrying around petitions forgetting to change his address.

          1. I agree. The "substantial compliance" standard is based on the policy that individuals should be allowed to present themselves to the electorate as a candidate and that elections, in the end, should be decided by the voters and not by technical legal requirements that, as in the context of Mr. Keyser's case, represent a technical violation of the statute but in no way can be characterized as one that undermines that policy or this election. 

      2. Your clarification makes more sense than the original words, thanks! I agree that Williams was right in disallowing the signatures based solely on the rules, but you're probably right about the sigs being allowed. It still doesn't change the fact that his fundraising was pathetic for someone who was the "pick", and as stated in the article(s) on this site, anything less than a great fundraising quarter for Keyser indicates a sinking ship. This just gave them a little more time to throw down a few more lifeboats.

        1. Not just his crap fundraising.  The fact that his, or any other candidate's, petitions would hinge on a hundred votes shows a ridiculous lack of competence on the part of his organization and/or whatever organizations are supporting his run.  A clown is still a clown, I suppose, even after he exits the car.

          I don't have much hope for him against Glenn, and certainly none against Bennet.

          1. The fact that he came with barely enough signatures in not one but three (or four) of the districts is not a sign of competence on his part, or enthusiasm for him on the part of registered Republicans.

            Keyser for the only slightly redeeming win.

    2. It's not anything to do with Wayne Williams unless you want to accuse him of "upholding the law." Really bad idea. The problem here is Keyser hired a petition collector who originally was registered to vote stating his home address was in El Paso County but then, signed all the petitions he carried on the Western Slope with an address there. So the question is did the petition carrier think he needed to live on the Western Slope to carry petitions and used his friend's address or did he move there and not update his registration He needs to prove where he lived. Regardless, it looks like a petitioner attempted to defraud the system whether he needed to or not. Second, If he has lived on the Western Slope and now wants to claim that address, I wonder how many signatures he achieved illegally in El Paso County on petitions. If I were SoS, I would be looking at that to question him and his big shot state GOP attorney. Frankly, this could go bad for Mr. Keyser either way. 

      1. You may be misinformed, as something you've stated as fact, is not borne out by the allegations listed in the filing by Keyser's legal team.

        You note that, "Keyser hired a petition collector who originally was registered to vote stating his home address was in El Paso County but then, signed all the petitions he carried on the Western Slope with an address there." You then used that to imply some sort of shady activity.

        The allegations contained in the filing linked above state that the address the circulator was registered at was 3535 Ashbrook Heights #103, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921.  And, that the address which he used when signing affidavits was his residence at 6586 Many Moon Drive Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80923 [emphasis mine].  A move of about 12 miles.

        1. Said he got hired around the day he moved and just forgot. I agree this doesn't sound like something shady and Keyser may well win the reinstatement of those signatures for all the good it will do him getting elected to Bennet's seat.

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