El Paso elections chief warns Caldara: “You better darn well plan on really” living here

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Speaking on a Colorado Springs radio station yesterday morning (listen @28:35), El Paso Country Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams warned political stunt man Jon Caldara that he "better darn well plan on really" living in Colorado Springs, or he'll be prosecuted.

Williams: Caldara decided he was going to highlight this problem. Again, he better have really – I understand he’s got a lease. He’s planning on residing there, and as he said, “checking out the Springs.” And we welcome him to our community. We are happy to have legitimate people who are living here live here. But you better darn well plan on really doing that!

Caldara, who lives in Boulder, cast a blank ballot Saturday in the recall election of CO Springs Sen. John Morse, saying he's renting a room in the recall district

On KVOR's Richard Randall show, Williams said he'll determine after the election if "someone lied" about living in Morse's district, and then voted. And "if they did, they can be prosecuted for a felony." 

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“Give it a shot” is Boyles’ response to a caller who asks if he should commit voter fraud

(Where does it end? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Operating in a reality that few people understand, during a typical one-sided pile-on in support of the recall of Sen. John Morse, talk-radio host Peter Boyles takes calls from "Ray" and "Tom" on KNUS radio today. Both are contemplating voter fraud. And, in case you wonder as you read on, this is real:

Boyles: Ray, you're with the recall team [Recall proponents Anthony Garcia, Jennifer Kerns, and Timothy Knight are also in studio with Boyles]. Good morning, 710 KNUS. Ray: Good morning. How are you?

Boyles: We're well. Go ahead.

Ray: I have a question. I moved to Denver in June after I got married but I kept my Colorado Springs address for this election. But I'm not in the district. I'm just adjacent to the district of John Morse. How do I vote in the election tomorrow? 

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Hickenlooper: Caldara’s “Gypsy Vote” Unlawful

UPDATE: Dr. Seth Masket of the University of Denver writes for Pacific Standard:

In one sense, this is an interesting case of civil disobedience: A citizen knowingly and publicly committed a crime to draw attention to a problematic law. In another, this is a pretty astounding case of a crime being manufactured to demonstrate the need to fight crime. While not quite on the level of manufacturing a galactic civil war to justify the creation of a Clone Army, this is still pretty striking, given the history of this particular issue…

Efforts to crack down on voter fraud, of course, have important consequences on subsequent elections, even if they do nothing to prevent actual fraud. Requirements for voters to bring photo identification to the polls, or efforts to limit who receives a mail-in ballot, tend to have a disparate impact on racial minorities and poorer voters. These voters tend to be strongly Democratic when they actually vote, so it’s hardly shocking that the parties have polarized on the issue of voter fraud.

But the specific case of voter fraud committed Saturday in Colorado is a pretty special one. Here’s an activist concerned about a loophole in a law that would allow people to vote outside their districts. Rather than point to the (so far nearly non-existent) illegal voters, he’s just voting illegally himself. If the statistics don’t support your case, be the statistic.

—–

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

A sternly worded press release from Gov. John Hickenlooper's office this morning:

“We are hearing disturbing reports that some people are being encouraged to go to the polls, not to legitimately vote, but to disrupt the process. That would be unlawful and makes a mockery of the democratic process. [Pols emphasis]

“We urge the county clerks in Pueblo and El Paso counties to make clear that people engaged in attempting to disrupt the elections are open to criminal prosecution. We’ve also reached out to the Attorney General to help us ensure fair elections take place this week.”

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels was first to report Independence Institute director Jon Caldara's appearance at an El Paso County polling location Saturday morning, as well as his intentions to do so Friday. Reporting today in the aftermath of Caldara's alleged felony act:

The governor’s spokesman, Eric Brown, on Sunday talked about “political stunts.”

“We share growing concerns that some people would rather pursue political stunts than respect election law,” Brown said. “Voting integrity and respect for law should be paramount in these recall elections. Coloradans deserve at least that much.”

El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams said he’s excited Hickenlooper is now paying attention.

“It’s too bad he didn’t pay attention before he signed the fatally flawed law that compromised the integrity of the election system. Perhaps Gov. Hickenlooper should have listened to the testimony about the problems with HB13-1303 before signing it,” Williams said in a statement. “The ‘disturbing reports’ he cites are a direct result of his ignoring the concerns of citizens and signing fatally flawed legislation.”

Again, as we've been repeatedly assured, by numerous competent authorities we trust far more than El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams, the above statement is false. The "problem" here is not with any flaw in the legislation passed this year. The only "flaw" at work is the reasoning of the Independence Institute's director, and his willingness to commit a crime in order to make a false point. If Williams does not refer this patently obvious case of vote fraud to the district attorney, and higher authorities are forced to step in to enforce the laws he will not, that's going to look very bad–for Williams, DA Dan Mayeverybody. 

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Sunday Ground Game: Giron In Front, Morse a Horse Race

playchart

What Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz calls "the worst election you've never heard of" is now only a few days away. Early voting is well underway in both Senate District 3 (Pueblo) and Senate District 11 (Colorado Springs). Although the ads are still blaring, most attention has now turned to the field campaigns underway to actually turn out voters. And that's where the fight will be won or lost in both cases.

We are hearing more and more cautious optimism from Democrats as Election Day nears. In Pueblo, all news reports show Democrats still way out ahead in terms of ballots returned, though Republicans in this heavily Democratic district are likely to have a high turnout. Although you can't be certain of a 1:1 Democrat/recall "no" vote ratio, especially in fractious Pueblo, organizers on the ground seem confident they will not just win for Sen. Angela Giron, but run up the score a little to shore her up for the 2014 general election. The reason they're not already celebratory, they say, is they don't want to encourage any kind of complacency–and that makes very good sense.

In Senate District 11, the extremely expensive and contentious fight between Senate President John Morse and ex-Springs councilman Bernie Herpin is virtually certain to be a closer race than Giron's–perhaps very close. Both sides have worked very hard to personalize this high-profile race, and Morse's campaign believes they have done what they needed to drive up Herpin's negatives. Overall, the candidates personally have mattered more to this race than in Pueblo.

The biggest factor now, though, is the high degree of professional organization in both sides' field operations. That reflects the high stakes of this one recall, compared to the two that have already failed and in Pueblo where it's increasingly likely the GOP will lose. This is the race where Republicans have basically placed all their chips, pouring massive nationwide resources into this tiny state Senate district and obliging Democrats to do the same. The national proxy battle that the Senate District 11 recall represents at this point cannot be overstated.

To Democrats' credit, we can tell you the very best and most experienced field operatives in Colorado are working the canvassing operation in Senate District 11. These are the same people who oversaw and participated in the groundbreaking Democratic field campaigns of 2004-2012, one of the major reasons why Colorado is considered a blue state today. On the other side, don't let the diversionary incompetence of recall spokesperson Jennifer "CAPartyGirl" Kerns fool you–there are smart people working to turn out the vote for the GOP, too.

Rather than a poll, use this space to tell us long form what you think will happen Tuesday and why.

Jon Caldara, Colorado’s New (And Maybe Only) Election Scofflaw

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

The Gazette's Megan Schrader reports from Colorado Springs yesterday, where Independence Institute president Jon Caldara committed an act Democrats insist is a felony under Colorado election law:

Caldara lives in Boulder but attested a Colorado Springs address was his permanent residence in a sworn affidavit.

"It is easy to move voters around," Caldara said Saturday morning after casting a ballot he left blank at the Garden of the Gods voting center. "The whole purpose of this was to finally show what I think and I speculate happens often, that people come and use this same-day voter registration to move voters around."

Yet El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams said very few, if any, voters have exercised the rights granted by the new law.

No, folks, it appears that after so much hype about so-called "gypsy voters," the one person to try it is the conservative director of the organization that has staked its credibility on the claim. Election law experts have told us this is not just wrong, but preposterous–the law in question revolves around "intentions," and Caldara's "intentions" were to pull a stunt–to make a bogus point about a bill that was authored by county clerks on both sides of the aisle. And by pulling that stunt, no matter how many contrived "legitimate" circumstances he offers to prove his "residency," Caldara committed vote fraud yesterday. 

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Caldara Vows To “Gypsy Vote” In Recall Election

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

On Tuesday, we took note of a new website from the right-wing Independence Institute that appears to give instructions on how to vote in the upcoming recall special elections in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, even if you don't live there. The severely flawed premise of the site is a fictitious "unintended consequence" of this year's Colorado House Bill 1303, the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, which some Republicans have claimed might allow voters from outside the two senate districts in question to participate. As even Secretary of State Scott Gessler's office has confirmed, that's false: a voter must have already moved to the district to claim their "intention" to reside there, and any false statement in the process of registering to vote is a crime. To actually vote under those false pretenses is felony voter fraud.

But nonetheless, as a press release from the Independence Institute announces today:

The Independence Institute president will exercise his legal voting rights in next week's recall election, casting a ballot in a district outside his current residence.

Independence Institute president Jon Caldara's decision to vote in the Senate District 11 recall kicks off the "Bring in the Vote" educational campaign, highlighting the significant legal changes in Colorado's "Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act," signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on May 10.

Calling attention to the lax new election law sponsored by Senators John Morse and Angela Giron, both facing recall elections, Caldara announced that he has the "intention" to make his permanent home in Senate District 11, currently represented by Morse.

Under HB 1303, the "intention" to establish residence along with a few minor requirements such as being 18 years of age, living in Colorado for 22 days, and having an address in the district, permits almost anyone to "Bring in the Vote" and cast a ballot in any district.

"It is my belief that this extremely sloppy new election law was designed to legally move voters into districts where their vote is most useful. I will show how this dangerous new law works by easily and legally voting in the John Morse recall election," explained Caldara.

"John Morse sponsored this law and worked its passage through the Senate. And now, sadly, under this law future Colorado elections will be decided by which candidate has the most buses." [Pols emphasis]

Now folks, we don't know where Caldara is getting his legal advice, but we surer than hell wouldn't try this based on every sane interpretation of House Bill 1303 we've heard. Certainly if the legal question hinges on "intent," Caldara's "intent" is to mess with the system–and quite possibly to encourage fellow Republicans to do the same. That and to draw attention to himself, naturally. Either way, we are very confident that no one on the Democratic side of these recalls has any plans to bus people in to so-called "gypsy vote," because they all think this half-baked theory is completely wrong.

But apparently Jon Caldara isn't convinced. Maybe he's right–or maybe he's setting fellow conservatives up for disaster.

Why is Bernie Herpin Yelling at Students?

(Yikes! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

We understand that drilling and fracking in Colorado is controversial and there are strident opinions on both sides.  We come down on the side that Colorado needs to seriously consider the impacts to our children’s health and on our communities as fracking booms in our State, but know others feel differently.  While we disagree we don’t have to be disagreeable right?

With passions high on both sides, we expect our elected officials to listen and then make reasoned rationale decisions that are, in their view, best for their communities or jurisdictions.

Unless your elected official is Colorado Springs City Councilman Bernie Herpin.

Check out this video of an exchange Councilman Herpin had with a well reasoned University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student. The City Council was conducting a hearing on the ongoing saga of Banning Lewis Ranch in East Colorado Springs.

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Colorado Commits to Kids approved for ballot as Amendment 66

Colorado Commits to Kids was officially confirmed by the Secretary of State’s office as Amendment 66 today. The Secretary of State confirmed the campaign collected more than the 86,105 signatures required.

“Coloradans support the critically important improvements that Amendment 66 will bring to  our public education system, like small class sizes, one-on-one attention for each student, and the chance to see where every dollar is going within each district,” said Gail Klapper, director of the Colorado Forum. The Forum has been working with business, civic and educational leaders for nearly two years to craft an initiative with broad, bipartisan support. “This is our  best chance to invest in the future of Colorado and to ensure each child has access to a high-quality education.”

“Momentum and support for the Amendment 66 campaign continues to build and, in the next 63 days, we will work tirelessly to share our message with voters across Colorado, from rural communities to urban centers to suburbs,” said Campaign Director Andrew Freedman.

Amendment 66 will ask voters to approve a two-step state income-tax rate increase to pay for reforms that would make Colorado a national model for PK-12 education:

Step 1: On taxable income up to $75,000, the rate would increase from current 4.63% to 5%
Step 2: Any taxable income above $75,000 would be taxed at a rate of 5.9%
Note: Every taxpayer would pay the 5% rate on their first $75,000 of taxable income

What is a two-step tax?

About Amendment 66:

Amendment 66 will modernize Colorado’s P-12 system by:

  • Reducing class sizes to offer more one-on-one time between students and teachers;
  • Ensuring Colorado kids have a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal in every school;
  • Increasing support for gifted and talented students, at-risk students, and English-language learners;
  • Strengthening early childhood education by investing in preschool and full-day kindergarten; and
  • Providing equal funding to charter schools and district schools, ensuring that students receive the same support no matter the type of school they attend.

Money from Amendment 66 will be placed in the State Education Achievement Fund and can only be used for education reforms and enhancements to existing programs.

Amendment 66 also contains unprecedented accountability and transparency measures. If passed, the state will be required to conduct regular reports to assess the cost of our public education system and the effectiveness of our funding efforts in improving student achievement.The initiative will also establish a state-maintained budget transparency system to allow taxpayers to track spending at every school in the state.

More on the Colorado Commits to Kids web site.

Independence Institute Encourages “Gypsy Voters”

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

Clicking through on that eyebrow-raising Tweet from Jon Caldara takes you to a new website, Bring In The Vote, which advertises itself as "a project of the Independence Institute." Here's what it says:

Something really cool in the new law, you can even wait until the election day to decide if you have time to register and cast your ballot. No more having to register 30 days before the election and no more being required to live that entire time in the district where you choose to vote. In fact, you just have to have an address in the district. Honestly, they’d like you to live there, but no one can force you. [Pols emphasis] The law allows you to move from one Colorado district to another up until the day before the election if you have the “intention” of making the new district your home. Although they may call you a name such as “gypsy voter.” 

…Colorado lawmakers have declared that if a registered Colorado voter moves from one precinct in this state to another “with the intention of making the new county or precinct a permanent residence, the person is considered to have residence in the county or precinct to which the person has moved.”

The website is tongue-in-cheek in an inane sort of way, but there's nothing to clearly disclaim to readers anywhere that no, you cannot actually vote in these recall election if you don't reside in the districts. The truth is that any misrepresentation of one's residence to vote in a district one does not live in is a felony–to include misrepresenting one's "intentions" to reside there. When Caldara says "they'd like you to live there, but no one can force you," that's simply not true. As GOP Secretary of State Scott Gessler's own office verified, a voter must have already moved to the district in order to claim their "intention" to live there. Any false affirmation entering into this chain of events is a felony under Colorado law.

Reading these sophomorically worded "instructions," it's undeniable that a casual reading of this website could give voters the idea that they can successfully "gypsy vote" in these recall elections. There's only one instance on the entire website we can find of even the barest legal disclaimer:

This summary is provided for information purposed only and not for the purposes of offering legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any statement of the Independence Institute in this summary without seeking advice from qualified legal counsel on the particular facts and circumstances involved. [Pols emphasis]

Translation: "Please don't actually do this!" But you don't see this disclaimer until you get to the bottom of one page on the site, and not the same page as the claim "no one can force you" to live in the district.

The fact is, this site is so poorly constructed and worded that most users won't get what the point is at all. But other than to encourage vote fraud, we don't have any idea why this would considered a good idea. And if the hope was actually to produce real, if perhaps unsuspecting "gypsy voters?" We don't have the words to articulate just how stupid that would be.

Reporters should keep an eye on CO Springs elections chief Williams in the wake of his attack on candidate Morse

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In the wake of El Paso Country Clerk Wayne Williams' criticism last week of State Sen. John Morse, reporters should gain assurances from Williams that he'll run a fair recall election in Colorado Springs.

On KFKA radio Aug. 29, Williams said it was "ironic given Bloomberg’s contributions yesterday" that Morse urged citizens to reject, as Morse wrote previously, "out-of-state billionaire and extremists who are wasting $150,000 of our tax money" on the recall election."

It's a surprising to hear Williams toss out partisan criticism because county clerks have a tradition of not taking sides in elections they're running. It looks bad.

Williams is a well-known Republican, but it still looks bad.

And it should have raised the eyebrow of KFKA's Devon Lentz, who was interviewing Williams on her and Tom Lucero's AM Colorado morning show.

Lentz should have asked Williams point-blank: "Wayne, we may be friendly, but I have to ask if you think it's appropriate for you to be attacking Sen. Morse, given that you're in charge of the election? So I'm wondering, why voters should trust you to run a fair election."

It's a question Colorado Springs reporters might pick up and run with, as well. And at a minimum, reporters should keep an eye on Williams and see if they detect any signs of favoritism toward Republican challenger Bernie Herpin.

Lentz: Wayne, do you by any chance have senator Morse’s response to the recall that you can share with us? I haven’t seen that.

Williams: Sure! I’ve got it right here, cuz it’s part of the ballot and I’ve got the sample ballot up in front of me….So, John Morse [preparing to read response from ballot] It’s kind of ironic. 'Vote ‘no’ on the out-of-state billionaires and extremists who are wasting $150,000 of our tax money—' I say ‘ironic’ given Bloomberg’s contributions yesterday—"and spending millions on a negative campaign to recall your twice-elected senator John Morse… [BigMedia emphasis]

Listen to Wayne Williams attacks Morse on AM Colorado 8.29.13 @4:30.

Let No Legitimate Problem Go Unexploited For Political Points

Editorials in the Colorado Springs Gazette today and the Pueblo Chieftain yesterday attempt to blame a court ruling this week throwing the upcoming recall elections into chaos on an election modernization bill passed this year, House Bill 1303. As the story goes, HB-1303 conflicts with Article XXI of the Colorado constitution, enacted in 1912, which prescribed a deadline for getting on the ballot in a recall election of fifteen days before the vote. Adhering to this deadline for recall candidates makes it impossible to print and mail ballots to voters.

The Gazette's editorial board:

The new Morse law also gives potential candidates up to 10 days after the governor sets the date of a recall election to turn in signatures for inclusion on a ballot as a potential replacement for a politician facing recall. There's only one problem, as determined by McGahey. The Colorado Constitution, which trumps the attempt by Morse to re-engineer our traditional election process, says potential candidates can petition onto a ballot up to 15 days before an election. Colorado Libertarian Party officials understand the state constitution, even obscure portions of it, and filed a lawsuit that asked McGahey to enforce it.

And the Chieftain:

But we must agree with Judge McGahey’s ruling. In it he criticized the Legislature for “writing an election law so clearly non-compliant with the state constitution.” “With all due respect to the Legislature,” he added, “it did not consider, or ignored, the clear language of Article XXI. I find that both sad and, frankly, shocking.”

The problem? Judge Robert McGahey's ruling was off base, and the usual suspects piling on are wrong

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Gessler’s Latest “Illegal Voters” Evaporate On Examination

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

As the Boulder Daily Camera's Erica Meltzer reports:

Last month, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler gave Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett a list of 17 names, all suspected of voting in the November election despite being non-citizens.

Those names were among 155 people identified statewide as possible illegal voters.

But an investigation by Garnett's office found that all 17 people were citizens and were able to easily verify their status, the district attorney said Wednesday…

"Local governments and county clerks do a really good job regulating the integrity of elections, and I'll stand by that record any day of the week," Garnett said. "We don't need state officials sending us on wild goose chases for political reasons." [Pols emphasis]

Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler's years-long quest for "illegal voters" on the Colorado rolls has consistently ended in embarrassing failure, ever since his first dire warnings of ten thousand or more "illegal voters" in 2011. Verification that all 17 voters turned over to the Boulder County DA are in fact legal citizens is just the latest example of the absolutely pitiful return on Gessler's large investment of time and resources on this non-problem.

Meanwhile, other problems his office is directly responsible, like the failure of the state's mobile voter registration website to record hundreds of registrations, are brushed off as "inevitable glitches." The right-wing media and friendly organizations like True the Vote who sing Gessler's praises for the big scary numbers he throws around are silent when the truth comes out, and Gessler is found to be wasting everyone's time. The fact is, Gessler has done more to disprove the right's endless allegations of voter fraud in American elections than most of his opponents, but you'll never hear that from True the Vote. The true purpose for Gessler and conservative "vote fraud watchdogs" in these witch hunts, sowing doubt in the process and chilling participation by perfectly legal citizens, provides an ongoing raison d'être no matter what the facts are.

At this point, we believe Gessler depends on the outcome getting less attention.

Recall Spokesperson Just Makes Stuff Up

UPDATE: Slate's Dave Weigel:

I emailed Kerns to find out the origins of the "Chicago ballots" rumor. "I went down to Pueblo yesterday (the site of the other recall), and lo and behold there in this small town is an operative from OFA in Chicago," she wrote. "In this town of Pueblo! Parked right out front of the Democrat Party headquarters is his car, with (Chicago) Illinios license plates. There is another gentleman with him, also from OFA, also from Chicago. I took photos and video and talked to them. Now what in the world is someone from OFA in Chicago doing in the small town of Pueblo, Colorado?"

Got that, folks? Organizing for America employee at Pueblo Democratic HQ="ballots mailed from Chicago!" Jennifer Kerns, thick-resumed Morse recall spokesperson, actually sent this bubbleheaded nonsense to a real reporter.

Can they just bring back the spokesman who called Democrats "c-words?" He may have been better at this.

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Recall spokesperson Jennifer Kerns.

Recall spokesperson Jennifer Kerns.

Check out Media Matters' recap of a recent interview with Jennifer Kerns, the California Americans for Prosperity operative and Proposition 8 spokesperson turned recall media relations flack, on NRA News radio yesterday:

A spokesperson for the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, the NRA-backed group behind an effort to recall two Colorado Democratic state senators over their votes for stronger gun laws, baselessly claimed on NRA News that the campaign of recall-targeted Senate President John Morse was plotting to commit "massive amounts of voter fraud including ballots possibly even being mailed in from Chicago." [Pols emphasis]

Reacting to an August 12 court decision which will necessitate that the recall election be conducted with polling centers instead of solely through mail-in ballots, BFDF spokesperson Jennifer Kerns said the change could stymie what she described as a plot by Chicago-based groups hired by Morse's campaign to commit voter fraud by sending in fraudulent ballots from out of state…

Kerns added, "I think it's much harder for the Democrats to cheat if they have to do it in person. They have to spend their time and treasure busing people in to try to commit fraud."

Ballots "mailed in from Chicago?" We don't think even in the wildest speculative GOP fretting about House Bill 1303, the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, that something this ridiculous was ever suggested. It's just laughable, folks. It wouldn't even merit a response if it wasn't coming from the spokesperson for the biggest show in Colorado politics today–the campaign to recall Senate President John Morse.

We suppose we should not be surprised by this, but we are. There's simply no justification for this. We, along with the legitimate press and the voting public, need to come to grips with the depth of ludicrous prattle these recalls are descending to–fully detached from reality. And as for California-imported recall spokesperson Jennifer Kerns, no reputable journalist should consider her a credible source of information ever again.

That's how it used to be before crazy went "mainstream."

Latest Recall Election Court Ruling Hurts Colorado Voting Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 13th 2013
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director at amy@progressnowcolorado.org

DENVER: A Denver District Court ruling on the recall special election process late yesterday sent plans for all participants in this election into chaos. ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, calls for a speedy appeal and respect for the rights of Colorado voters–not political candidates.

“Yesterday’s district court ruling is unfortunate to say the least,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Unless an appeal is successful, this ruling guarantees less participation in the upcoming recall special elections, and that’s not going to serve the best interests of our state.”

“These recall elections were already extremely costly and bad for Colorado,” said Runyon-Harms, “and now Colorado taxpayers are expected to pay over half a million dollars for a process brought on by special interests who disagree with hard working legislators. A legislative recall has never happened in Colorado, and should be reserved for an elected official involved in criminal activity or major malfeasance–not a simple disagreement.”

“This year, one of the greatest achievements in the Colorado legislature was the passage of the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act,” said Runyon-Harms. “The reason for the confusion is not any new legislation, but recall elections are so rare that the laws governing them have never been tested. This year's important legislation to simplify and modernize Colorado’s voting system did not create the conflict with the Colorado constitution over recall candidate deadlines, which has apparently existed for as long as we have been using mail ballots. It’s absurd for right-wing opponents of this legislation to blame a 2013 bill for a 1912 constitutional provision.”

“Progressives don’t support these wasteful and unnecessary recall elections, but we stand behind the right of every Coloradan to vote,” said Runyon-Harms. “This conflict between the state constitution and mail ballots in recall elections needs to be resolved in a way that allows our state’s voters, at home and overseas, to vote the way they have for years. In fact, making voting more difficult and confusing for our servicemembers who are fighting for our freedoms every day is downright infuriating. Conservatives must stop with the blame games. Everyone involved in this election deserves better.”

###

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.

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