“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.

—–

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.

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.