UPDATE: Check out this complaint posted to the Hudak recall campaign's Facebook page:
FOX 31's Eli Stokols again breaks a big story that's bad for the recall campaign against Sen. Evie Hudak:
A man being paid to gather signatures to recall state Sen. Evie Hudak can be heard encouraging a person who lives outside the lawmaker’s district to sign his petition with a fake address in an audio recording released Thursday by a group defending Hudak.
The Democracy Defense Fund, formed to defend Hudak, D-Westminster, sent out a YouTube video of an audio recording of a four-minute exchange between an unidentified petition circulator, who admits to being paid $3 per signature by Kennedy Enterprises, and an unidentified person who is really a DDF staffer with a tape recorder…
“If you write an Arvada address in there, it’s alright,” the petition gatherer says, apparently encouraging the man to lie about his residency. [Pols emphasis]
“So if I just wrote my buddy’s house, you think it would work out?” the man responds.
“The thing is, technically, only out of 100 names — or let’s say out of 1,000 names, only 630 of them have to be real registered voters for me to get paid for the whole job,” the petition circulator says.
“It’s basically six out of ten — makes it a little easier for me.”
One of the things that has made Democrats nervous as the recall signature campaign against Sen. Evie Hudak got underway were reports that organizers had adopted a validation screening procedure similar to the method against against Sen. Angela Giron in Pueblo. By pre-screening prospective petition signers against a mobile-accessible voter file spreadsheet to ensure they are registered voters living in the district, the recall campaign against Giron achieved a stunningly high validity rate for their petitions. As we've said, regardless of how you feel about the recalls, you have to acknowledge that this prescreening of signers was a game-changing development–and should be adopted by every petition campaign going forward.
So what's going on here? Why is this paid gatherer telling people who live out of the district to lie about their residence? Why does he so casually explain that he only needs a 63% validity rate to "get paid for the whole job?"
There have been a number of anecdotal reports, from talk radio interviews in addition to tallies from recall opponents watching petition sites, that suggest the Hudak recall campaign is having trouble obtaining the signatures needed to reach the ballot. We of course have no way of assessing the truth of these reports, but it's true that the threshold for success in Senate District 19 is substantially higher than it was for the two recall elections this summer. We do know that at least at one point of the Hudak recall petition campaign, on-site validation of voters as residents of the district was taking place.
But what we're seeing here, a paid gatherer willing to lie and encourage lying, with a validity quota of only 63% to get paid, obviously without the screening intended to ensure the kind of high validity rates we saw in the Giron recall, is the best evidence yet that the Hudak recall campaign is desperate. The impression the campaign has given is that they are using on-site validation, and as a result there's already a broad presumption of a high validity rate for whatever signatures they do turn in. This campaign has tried even harder than previous efforts to pass itself off as "grassroots" and adherent to high standards. Eli Stokols' last report, documenting a pro-recall worker assaulting a recall opponent cameraman, already put a dent in that impression.
Today, we know a lot more. Now we know that they've got guys out on street corners ready to say anything to anybody to get them to sign the petition, even lie and facilitate fraud. And that means the aforementioned presumption of high validity, and with it the moral high ground the Hudak recall campaign claims, may now be dispensed with.