Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler filed paperwork in district court this weekend to force Gov. John Hickenlooper to set a date for the recall elections of two Democratic gun-control supporters.
“John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado, has refused to perform his constitutional duty to set a date for an election to recall Colorado state Senators John Morse and Angela Giron,” Gessler argued in the court filing. “His refusal to perform this mandatory and ministerial duty is frustrating the right of Colorado citizens to vote promptly on whether these senators should remain in office, and preventing election officials from complying with statutory deadlines for a recall election.”
The filing comes after Gessler’s office certified that Morse’s opponents had gathered enough signatures to trigger the election, and after his office rejected an attempt by both lawmakers’ supporters to have the petitions thrown out on a wording technicality.
By law, the election is required to be held within 60 days of Gessler notifying Hickenlooper’s office that the recall is certified and valid, which occurred on July 5.
But Morse quickly filed a motion in district court asking for a preliminary injunction to keep Hickenlooper from setting a date until Morse’s attorney can again argue against the validity of the petition.
Gessler argues that’s the 60-day clock began ticking on July 5 and that the legal challenge has no bearing on Hickenlooper picking a day for the vote.
But the Denver Post reports that Hickenlooper’s office is waiting until all the legal challenges have been heard to set a date.
Waiting prevents Gessler from fulfilling his own obligations as the state official in charge of elections, he said, pointing in his motion to statutory deadlines he must meet to certify the ballot and vet petition signatures nominating challengers to both offices.
Gessler, who is considering a run for governor to unseat Hickenlooper, hired his former law firm to file the paperwork. An emergency hearing may be held as early as Monday.
Morse’s motion to prevent Hickenlooper from setting an election date is set for a hearing on Wednesday.
Giron’s attempts to challenge her recall, while lagging behind Morse’s by a few days, have mirrored his supporters’ efforts, but Giron has not filed for an injunction.
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