Kennedy Enterprises On The Ground In Hudak Recall

UPDATE: Readers remind us of Twila Sue Peach, a two-years deceased voter who "signed" a Kennedy Enterprises petition, and other related allegations made during the recall of John Morse this past summer:

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petitions

The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee buries the lede yet again–paragraph fifteen of today's story on the "grassroots" recall attempt underway against Sen. Evie Hudak of Arvada, which if successful would flip the Colorado Senate to Republicans:

[Recall organizer Mike] McAlpine said through small donations they are now paying only "two young" volunteers and hopes to gather 25,000 signatures.

But sources close to the recalls confirmed Tuesday that McAlpine is using Colorado Springs-based Kennedy Enterprises, [Pols emphasis] the firm that paid volunteers to gather signatures in the Morse recall. Kennedy has in the past received flak for not requiring background checks of employees.

Petition-gathering company Kennedy Enterprises is generally known for two things: a reputed 100% success rate in getting questions on the ballot via paid-per-signature petition drives, and controversy over the hiring of unscreened paid petition gatherers who potentially pose a risk to signers who give them their personal information. This isn't just a scare tactic from recall opponents: in 2008, Kennedy Enterprises conducted the petition drive for Amendment 47, that year's "right-to-work" anti-union ballot initiative. During that petition campaign, 9NEWS "found signature gatherers convicted of sexual assault on a child, theft, harassment, trespassing and drug possession" working for Kennedy Enterprises.

Kennedy Enterprises' lucrative pay scale for signatures, despite a nasty expose on KOAA-TV about the company's record, was instrumental in getting the recall of John Morse on the ballot in Senate District 11. Given the considerably higher number of signatures needed to initiate a recall election in Senate District 19, what we're talking about here could be the professional edge this "grassroots" recall effort needs to avoid embarrassment in early December. The fact is, given the constitutional loophole that prevents the delivery of mail ballots only in recall elections, and all the other attendant advantages of picking off swing legislators one by one in oddly-timed special elections, there's no reason to believe that this is going to stop. With a bankrolled effort to recall Sen. Hudak, we are now fully engulfed in an endless recall-driven free-for-all.

That is until, despite all the circumstantial leverage, they lose.

Gessler’s Big “Award”–The Rest of the Story

Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

As the Denver Post's Ryan Parker sort-of reports:

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers presented Gessler the State Technology Innovator Award on Tuesday, according to a news release from the secretary of state's office.

Gessler introduced the country's first web-optimized site allowing citizens to update or verify voter registration using a smartphone or tablet following the 2012 primary election…

"Your leadership in Colorado is a shining example," NASCIO President Brenda Decker said in the release. "NASCIO and its members recognize that such leadership is critical to advancing citizen service, information sharing and good government, and we applaud you for your commitment to these efforts."

Now first of all, far be it from us to question the decision making process of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in selecting Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler to receive this award, which is surely a nice thing to have drop in one's lap at the outset of a gubernatorial campaign. And we have to give Post reporter Ryan Parker the benefit of the doubt, since he's young and impressionable.

So he gets a pass, we suppose, for not having read this story from the very same Denver Post's Tim Hoover about that killer "web-optimized site" (what does that mean, by the way?) Gessler rolled out in 2012, for registering to vote by smartphone or tablet.

As it turned out, Gessler's "killer app" killed voter registrations.

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Neguse Off To Strong Start in SoS Race

CU Regent Joe Neguse (D).

CU Regent Joe Neguse (D).

A press release today from the campaign of Democratic CU Regent Joe Neguse, running for Secretary of State against GOP El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams, shows good performance out of the gate with over $100,000 raised in the last 6 days of Q2 and his first whole quarter of fundraising:

Joe Neguse filed his official paperwork on June 24, 2013 making him a candidate for Secretary of State of Colorado.  With less than seven days to fundraise for the second financial quarter that ended June 30th, the campaign raised $28,484.37 from 228 unique contributors (which surpassed any other previous candidates for Secretary of State in both total contributions and total number of contributors in their inaugural financial quarters).  Today, the campaign is proud to announce that Neguse has broken a new fundraising goal, having raised $73,926.95 in its first full quarter, bringing the total to over $100,000 in less than 100 days.

Former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, Congressmen Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, and former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy joined over 600 other individuals in making a monetary contribution to Neguse's campaign. 
 
“On the heels of an impressive campaign roll out, these unprecedented fundraising numbers are further proof that voters are eager to support Neguse’s candidacy,” said Senior Strategist Craig Hughes.
 
For his 2010 campaign, Scott Gessler filed on Jan. 5, 2009, giving him January 5, 2009 to March 31, 2009 to raise funds in his inaugural financial quarter.  He reported $24,525 raised from 47 contributors. His first full quarter was April 1st-June 30, 2009, in which he reported $12,859.00 raised.

Watch for this race to garner more attention in the coming months. Sources confirm to us today that GOP Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson will not be running for Secretary of State. The popular and moderate Anderson–one of the prime architects of this year's election modernization law, House Bill 1303–would have made for a much tougher race for Neguse. Now, against the avowedly partisan Williams as the likely Republican nominee, Neguse looks very strong–and the stakes are higher for Democrats to ensure Williams doesn't get the job.

A Few Words on HD13 and Levy’s Resignation

First of all, term limits are a horrible idea. But that's not what I'm here to discuss, so I one start to dig into all the reasons why. But I will address one of them. Term limits result in lawmakers going job-hunting before their time in office is over. 

The case in point is Rep. Claire Levy (D-HD13) who is leaving her seat in the State House at the end of October to take a position with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. 

If she had stayed, the 2014 session would have been her last, so some might have trouble seeing the difference. 

But I think there is a big difference. And lawmakers who leave their post the year before they are term limited is one of the worst and most damaging elements of our state's system. 

And here is why:

Before Levy had announced she would be resigning, the race to replace her in the 2014 election had already begun. Two Dem candidates, Tad Kline (http://www.tadklineforhd13.org/) and KC Becker (http://kcbecker.org/) had already announced their intention to run for the seat next year. But that race, which would have been a spirited and interesting primary, decided by the voters in HD13, will now be decided by a couple dozen Dems on October 19th. If either of them is chosen by the vacancy committee, they will now be the incumbent when caucuses roll around and are unlikely to be challenged. And that isn't right. 

The person who serves in this seat for the next 8 years should be chosen during an election, not a back-room coronation. 

There is hope, though. Two additional candidates, George Clark and Zane Laubham, have expressed interest in filling the vacancy for the remaining 15 months of Levy's term, but have not declared candidacy for the 2014 race. The vacancy committee has the opportunity, here, to appoint someone who has no interest in keeping the seat for 2015, so that a legitimate election can still be held. 

I don't know anything about the candidates (another one of the down-sides of the vacancy process is a low amount of information), but if either Clark or Laubham are willing to commit to not running and they are reasonably qualified for the spot, I would encourage the vacancy committee to select that person and give the voters of HD13 an opportunity to choose their own representative through the normal election process. 

Gov. Hickenlooper: Local Control Is Best, Except In Colorado?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado was questioned by a health care professional who asked the governor why he continued to be a party to a lawsuit against the town of Longmont even as they continue to pick up the pieces from devastating flooding.  He evaded any definitive answer but did say, “We didn’t do that because we wanted to, and “we will certainly address all the issues.” 

If you haven’t seen this video, take a look. It’s worth seeing the reaction from Gov. Hickenlooper.

It appears that Gov. Hickenlooper is willing to stump for the oil and gas industry and oppose water, air, and public health protections from oil and gas drilling at all levels of government.

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Alternative Voting Methods

Perhaps I can get some traction over here. (Perhaps not).

I believe plurality voting, when more than two candidates are on a ballot, is absurd.

I was converted to a belief in alternative voting methods after reading William Poundstone's book, "Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About it)."

An excerpt from the book jacket:

At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate, but these results were not inevitable. In fact, such an unfair outcome need never happen again, and as William Poundstone shows in Gaming the Vote, the solution is lurking right under our noses.
 
In all five cases, the vote was upset by a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who took enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of the Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. His theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on today’s political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. The answer to the spoiler problem lies in a system called range voting, which would satisfy both right and left, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the U.S. electoral system.
 
The latest of several books by Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is both a wry exposé of how the political system really works and a call to action.
 
I seek your thoughts, both pro and con. Muchas gracias.
 
David K. Williams, Jr.
BlueCarp

“Honey Badger Lite”–Wayne Williams For Secretary of State

El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams.

El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, a Republican, filed paperwork Tuesday to run for Colorado Secretary of State.

Williams, whose office oversaw a chaotic and controversial recall election in Colorado Springs last month, is currently the only Republican seeking to replace Scott Gessler, who is one of four candidates seeking the GOP’s nomination for governor next year…

Earlier this year, he firmly opposed the Democratic bill that overhauled the state’s election law, allowing for same-day voter registration and shifting all 64 county clerks to one electronic database that can track voter information in real time.

One of current Secretary of State Scott Gessler's closest allies, El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams' holdout opposition to this year's election reform bill, House Bill 1303–while most county clerks in the state supported the bill–reportedly led him to resign from the Colorado Association of County Clerks. More recently, Williams' judgment was questioned in the recall elections after early voting locations and hours set up by his office were substantially more restricted compared to much better early voting accessibility in neighboring Pueblo. Detractors point to a much lower resulting turnout in SD-11 versus the SD-3 recall election in Pueblo. In Williams' defense, litigation from a minor-party candidate in SD-11 held up the works for awhile–but that doesn't fully explain the shorter hours and fewer locations even after that was resolved.

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New Census Data for Colorado Congressional Districts.

The Census has released new data on congressional districts, including those in Colorado. The peeps at (warning: Google Doc)  Daily Kos put together a useful spreadsheet of the racial/ethnic makeup of our congressional districts.

Of particular interest to  me was Mike Coffman's Co-6 district, which as many of you might expect is one of the most diverse in Colorado. In fact, Co-6 has the second smallest white population of any district with only 62 percent of the population being white. Only the Denver-based Co-1 is less white. Co-6 has the largest African-American (9 percent) and Asian populations (6 percent) and a significant 20 percent Hispanic population.

Colorado progressives have of course been looking long and hard at Mike Coffman's much more swingy district and this new data gives us even more opportunity to target the diverse voters of his district. Coffman after all has been against immigration reform and immigrants generally, going as far as saying that we should get rid of birthright citizenship to stop those horrible "anchor" babies from becoming citizens.

Well, my bet is the CO-6 has quite a few of "birthright" citizens that would love to get the opportunity to vote against odious, extreme-right Mike Coffman. And now that we have this new data, we can better target them and make sure CO-6 is represented by someone who will fight for and not against them.

Anyway, take a look at the new data for Colorado. It's definitely some interesting stuff to look at for these upcoming elections.

Once Again, These Were Two Different Recall Elections

Recalled Colorado Senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

Recalled Colorado Senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

As the post-mortem coverage of last week's historic recall elections in Colorado continues, we're seeing a trend toward an inaccurate hindsight narrative of what happened. It's important for both sides–Democrats seeking to prevent further recurrences, and Republicans hoping to adopt their success as a model to use elsewhere–to understand what actually happened, and how the results in the two separate recall elections held last week differ widely–just not in the biggest respect, the bottom line.

A story by the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels today typifies this problem:

Opponents of an effort to recall two Democratic state senators for supporting stricter gun laws borrowed a page from an earlier playbook, arguing reproductive rights were in peril if the lawmakers were kicked out of office.

But the message — so effective in keeping Republican Ken Buck from becoming a U.S. senator in 2010 — failed to protect Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, who were recalled by their constituents Sept. 10…

Here's the hole in Bartels' seductively lazy analysis: The Senate District 11 recall was decided by a mere 343 votes in unofficial tallies, while the margin of defeat for Sen. Angela Giron was over ten times that in an election with only about twice the number of voters as SD-11. As we've noted repeatedly in this space, the loss of mail ballots in the SD-11 recall can fully account for the margin of defeat for Senate President John Morse. Fewer vote centers and shorter hours to vote in El Paso County also factored disproportionately in this very close election.

This means any attempt to ascribe some kind of "common meaning" to these two elections, as the above story seems determined to do, is off-base. But for the logistical voting problems in SD-11, it's very likely that Sen. Morse would have prevailed in his recall. If that had happened, obviously we wouldn't be reading about how this or that tactic "failed" to save Morse, we'd be talking about how those tactics had succeeded. The truth is, 343 votes is not enough of a margin, especially given those balloting problems, to make any such judgment either way. In 2010, Sen. Michael Bennet very narrowly defeated Ken Buck in a victory heavily influenced by a collapse of support from women. Without polling to know that had happened, which we haven't had in this recall, it's impossible to know how well the ads against Bernie Herpin on the issue of reproductive choice actually worked.

Impossible to know, and irresponsible to assume.

That said, Democrats do need to acknowledge that something bad, and very different from the close race in SD-11, happened in Senate District 3. They won't find the answer in this story, in which Bartels indolently lets GOP talking head Katy Atkinson dive into free-ranging speculation about why Pueblo Democrats turned out one of their own. We seriously doubt it was the civil unions legislation passed this year as Atkinson speculates. The story we've heard, and tend to believe, is that Sen. Giron was perceived by many rank-and-file Pueblo Democrats as having neglected constituent services in the district. There is some cross-partisan appeal to the gun issue that needs to be acknowledged too, but if those we've spoken with about this are to be believed, much of the heavy margin of defeat for Giron, in a far more Democratic district, can be attributed to factors unique to Giron personally.

The proof of our theory, which we're at least honest enough to represent as a theory, will come in 2014–when GOP Sen.-elect George Rivera is defeated by a wide margin of his own. In the meantime, if Republicans want to believe that they are no longer vulnerable on the issue of reproductive choice and health, we know plenty of Democrats who'd be happy to encourage them.

BREAKING: Caldara Vote Fraud Case Under AG Investigation

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

The Colorado Independent's Tessa Cheek breaks news on the developing controversy over Independence Institute director Jon Caldara's alleged vote fraud, committed during the recent recall special election in Colorado Springs:

Last week, Senate President John Morse’s campaign manager Christy Le Lait filed a complaint with Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May, calling for an investigation of political stunt man Jon Caldara, the Independence Institute director and Boulder County resident who made a show of committing “gypsy” voter fraud and casting a ballot in the El Paso County election…

Caldara has since announced that the flooding in Boulder had made it clear to him he shouldn’t move away from his children, who live there. He said, upon reflection, he won’t be moving to Colorado Springs after all.

May seems to be at least taking the complaint seriously. His office told the Colorado Independent that he was passing the case to the Attorney General’s office.

“I can confirm that this matter was referred to our office by District Attorney May,” wrote Carolyn Tyler, a spokesperson for the Attorney General. “However, we do not comment on investigations, except in certain instances involving public safety, which do not apply here.”

It seems likely that Caldara's "decision" this weekend to "keep Boulder as a permanent home" had more to do with this now-confirmed criminal investigation than anything else. Uninformed editorials from chummy newspaper editors notwithstanding, we have yet to see any defense for Caldara's actions other than "civil disobedience." As we've explored in detail since the incident, that's not likely to cut it in this case. What Caldara did, voting in a district that he does not live in after falsely affirming a "sole residence" there, is a felony under Colorado law. Every sane interpretation we've heard suggests there was absolutely no grounds, moral, legal or otherwise, for doing so.

This also settles the question of whether or not Republican El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams, or District Attorney Dan May, would attempt to impede or prevent the prosecution of Caldara. It's a relief to see, whether DA May did it voluntarily or in response to a request from the Attorney General's office, that they are doing their jobs and investigating the case. Gov. John Hickenlooper requested the AG's involvement in part out of concerns that Caldara might skate in this highly conservative jurisdiction.

We said before that we hope Caldara consulted with a good lawyer before he pulled this ill-advised stunt. Now it looks like may get to see how well that as-yet unnamed lawyer does keeping Caldara out of prison.

Debunking Nonsense About Colorado Election Law (Again)

Wayne Laugesen.

Wayne Laugesen, editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Yesterday, Colorado Springs Gazette editor Wayne Laugesen published an editorial demanding a special session to "fix" the election modernization bill passed by the General Assembly this year, House Bill 1303. Republican opponents of this new law, which was written in large part by county clerks from both parties, have made a range of highly dubious claims about this bill, from warnings that it would facilitate "gypsy voting" by nonresidents to the bizarre assertion that ballots might arrive "from Chicago" and be legally cast in Colorado elections.

Jon Caldara of the right wing Independence Institute went so far as to cast a ballot in the recent Senate District 11 (Colorado Springs) primary, even though he has lived in Boulder for nearly 30 years. As we've explained based on sound legal opinions we've heard, Caldara's logic is fundamentally flawed, and he has exposed himself to criminal prosecution by falsely affirming his "residence" in Colorado Springs. It seems like part of the purpose of Laugesen's silly editorial is to run cover for Caldara's election fraud, but he doesn't even manage that as we'll explain.

Here are some of the major claims made by the Gazette yesterday about Colorado election law, with their debunking. We hope that at some point journalists will stop allowing this nonsense to be uncritically repeated by their outlets, to include their editorial boards:

The new law undoes traditional checks and balances that have kept elections fair. Gone are assurances that only lawful residents of a jurisdiction get to vote in an election. Before HB1303, only the tinfoil hat crowd worried much about election fraud. Today, with HB1303, it's a legitimate concern…

Now first of all, we're pretty sure Laugesen just accused Secretary of State Scott Gessler and a whole lot of other Republicans who do indeed "worry about election fraud" of being members of the "tinfoil hat crowd!" Setting that aside for a moment, Laugesen is wrong–House Bill 1303 does not eliminate "assurances that only lawful residents of a jurisdiction get to vote in an election." Voting fraud is today–and always has been–a felony. Same day registration doesn’t remove any checks and balances, and actually isn't all that new. As the Secretary of State's office itself explained, the law allows voters to cast a ballot after they have already moved to the district and their address is verified.

We know the law can be abused, which is obvious to anyone who reads it. Any question about the biggest flaw in HB1303 was eliminated when Jon Caldara, a Boulder resident and president of Colorado's Independence Institute, cast a blank ballot in the District 11 recall to make a point.

You might recall during the debate over gun safety legislation in the General Assembly this year, a key contention by opponents was that "criminals don't care about laws." This argument always dumbfounded us, because it's a completely ridiculous tautology–of course criminals "don't care about laws," that's why they're criminals. But here we have one of the same people who made this ridiculous argument, that criminals don't follow laws, calling for–wait for it–stricter election laws! Because–wait for it–it's possible to break the law! We agree Caldara is a great example of the problem of people breaking laws.

Oops.

That was a high-profile stunt, and authorities could do nothing to stop it because of HB1303.

If someone swears under penalty of perjury that something is true, generally that sworn statement is accepted by whoever is asking for it. If it is determined that a person lied under penalty of perjury, they then can be prosecuted. That didn't change with House Bill 1303. Caldara committed a felony by pretending to move to Colorado Springs and casting a ballot in the recall election. As we've explored in detail, it was obviously never Caldara's "intention" to move to Colorado Springs. So he committed a felony. The threat of felony prosecution is now, and has always been, the principal deterrent to election fraud. 

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It’s All One Big Joke To Jon Caldara

UPDATE: Gazette editor Wayne Laugesen hotly points out in a comment (below the fold) that Caldara probably didn't leave his minor children in the house he "leased to renters" in Boulder while he rented former GOP Rep. Mark Barker's guest bedroom in Colorado Springs. While that leaves unclear the location of Caldara's minor children while he "lived" in a Colorado Springs guest bedroom and fraudulently voted in the Senate District 11 primary, it's good to know the kids weren't in a house that has allegedly flooded.

But that doesn't legitimize Caldara's disregard for the law, or making a joke of the floods impacting the state today as a pretext for some too-clever-by-half legal defense. After all, "he can't be this far from his kids" is a pretty good reason not to "move away" in the first place. Which Caldara didn't really do, as stated in his own press release.

It never ceases to amaze us how stupid some people think you, meaning all of us, are.

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Via Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette, we finally learn how Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute hopes to resolve the sticky legal predicament he finds himself in. As reported, Boulder resident Caldara voted in the Colorado Springs-area Senate District 11 recall a week ago, after affirming under penalty of perjury that a "week-to-week lease" of a single room in ex-GOP Rep. Mark Barker's house was now Caldara's "sole legal residence." This led to angry warnings from Gov. John Hickenlooper that such attempts to "disrupt the process" are unlawful, and a request for Attorney General John Suthers to get involved if necessary.

Well folks, we're embarrassed to even show you this, but here is how Caldara apparently plans to skate:

caldaranotmoving

Convenient, albeit an insult to so many legitimately inconvenienced, or worse, by this week's massive flooding along the Front Range. This latest move raises many questions, of course, like why (or whether, see update above) Caldara would leave his children in a home he has "rented out" while he made a single bedroom in another city his "sole residence." But more than anything, we would kind of like to know if Caldara has any shame left. At all. Because whatever contrivance Caldara uses to effect his getaway from Mark Barker's guest bedroom, everyone reading this knows he never had any intention of making it his "permanent home."

Election fraud notwithstanding, Caldara should be grateful you can't be arrested for being a callous asshole.

In Which Matt Arnold Spills The Beans

Matt Arnold, the occasional failed Republican candidate for office, face of the "Clear The Bench" campaign against Colorado Supreme Court Justices, and now blogger writing at The Examiner, has a very interesting opinion about the role of the courts in the recall special elections in Pueblo and Colorado Springs this week:

[D]espite the massive spending on the advertisements and volunteer-intensive “get out the vote” efforts, the electoral outcome was shaped far more by less-noticed, but ultimately MUCH more impactful, battles in the state courts…

[J]ust as the first mailing of ballots (to overseas voters) was starting, yet another court challenge was filed, seeking to uphold the constitutional provisions (and timelines) for candidate ballot access (which were incompatible with the recently-passed “all-mail-ballot-elections” legislation, HB13-1303). This time around, the challenge (and the primacy of the Colorado Constitution over statute) won – forcing the elections to be held primarily as polling-place elections, since the candidate certification deadline of 15 days before the election date made “all-mail-ballot” voting practically impossible.

This case may have been the most important in shaping the ultimate outcome of the Recall elections – possibly even saving the Recall effort, since “all-mail-ballot” voting favors the (Democrat) incumbents… [Pols emphasis]

Arnold gets a dig in on Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call, who (at least at first) supported mail ballots:

(Note: Losing incumbent state senate president John Morse blamed his loss on the lack of an "all-mail-ballot" election; ironically, Colorado Republican state chair Ryan Call had opposed the lawsuit and criticized the court ruling which set aside the "all-mail-ballot" provisions of the recently-enacted election law for the Recall vote).

As we noted in our initial recap of this week's successful recalls of Democratic Colorado Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron, the margin in Morse's race was very small. Morse's defeat can in fact be fully accounted for by balloting problems stemming from court action before the election. Chief among these problems was the withholding of mail ballots following a minor-party challenge, the lawsuit Arnold refers to above. In the Senate District 11 recall, questionable decisions by a partisan county clerk affecting vote center locations and operating hours further impacted the ability of Democrats to get out the vote. But in a state that has been carrying out routine mail ballot elections for some years now, the court-ordered delay which prevented the delivery of most mail ballots, even to so-called "permanent" vote by mail voters, can easily itself account for 343 votes–the preliminary margin of defeat in Morse's recall.

To be clear, there are a number of factors that can hypothetically account for that slim margin of victory for Republicans in SD-11, or at least keeping this race out of recounts–including, ironically, the very same last-minute registrations the GOP decried as part of this year's election modernization law House Bill 1303. But the loss of mail ballots is probably the change most problematic for individual voters. When Arnold says that stopping mail ballots may have been "the most important [factor] in shaping the ultimate outcome of the recall elections," even "saving the recall effort," it's not because of fraud. It's just about fewer people voting.

So, obviously, triumphant Republicans don't want to get bogged down by quibbles about the mechanics of this election. Despite the fact that the margin in the SD-11 recall was very thin, and arguably indicative of a playing field judicially stacked against the incumbent as much as any other factor, Morse's recall is being sold as a game-changing grassroots insurrection against Democrats. The press doesn't seem to want to get into these procedural weeds either, at least not yet. And let's be frank: nothing we're describing here can account for Giron's much wider margin of defeat in Pueblo, where something altogether different and unexpected occurred.

You won't find it in GOP-approved Morse talking points, but Arnold is admitting something very important here.

Recall Election Post-Mortem: Ballots, Bitterness, and Bloviation

morsegiron

An unexpectedly brutal recall special election night for Democrats has left observers scrambling to recalculate the Colorado political landscape. With a headline-grabbing victory in hand, beleaguered Colorado Republicans are (understandably) looking to capitalize with an eye toward an electoral turnaround in 2014. Beneath the headlines, there are some underlying factors responsible for last night's success that are indeed warning signs for Democrats going forward–but, as we'll explain, also teachable moments. And Republicans should not feel overly buoyant about last night's results, as much of what happened can't be replicated. Here's our initial read of some key factors: 

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Pro-Recall Ad: “Democrat Shenanigans” Killed Mail Ballots

This is an ad which has reportedly running in Senate District 11 for several days. The ad asserts that "due to Democrat shenanigans," voters won't be receiving a mail ballot. The ad instructs viewers to visit polling locations.

As our readers know, mail ballots were indeed halted by a court order this year, but the problem had nothing to do with "Democrat shenanigans." A lawsuit filed by the Libertarian party, on behalf of a candidate who did not even make the ballot, produced the court decision that stopped mail ballots. the defense against that suit included recall campaigns, county clerks involved, and even GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler–although Gessler backed out of the appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. Democrats we've talked to are highly suspicious about possible collusion between the GOP and Libertarian plaintiffs, especially after the Secretary of State pulled out of the case.

In any event, to attempt to blame Democrats for the loss of mail ballots, when Democrats were relying on mail ballots to turn out the vote conveniently for their base in these recall elections, is completely ridiculous. If Democrats lose either of these races, any realistic post-mortem is going to view halting mail ballots as one of the key turning points against Democrats.

If that happens, this ad will be insult added to injury.