Colorado Dem facing recall levels criminal accusation at his opponents
Despite losing administrative and courtroom challenges to fend off a recall election, Colorado Senate President John Morse isn’t finished fighting for his political life.
Supporters of the embattled Democrat are hoping the Colorado Springs district attorney will open a criminal investigation against petition circulators, claiming that as many as 3,500 signatures seeking his ouster were forged.
Morse and fellow Democratic Sen. Angela Giron are both facing recall elections on Sept. 10 for their support of new gun control laws that ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds and which require universal background checks on gun transfers. They are the first recalls of state legislators in Colorado history.
The senators challenged the recalls with the Colorado secretary of state, whose office certified that opponents had gathered enough valid signatures to hold a recall election. Both lawmakers claimed that the wording on the petitions did not specify that an election would be held to choose a successor.
The secretary of state’s office rejected the challenge, as did a Denver judge who heard the same argument.
After the court ruling, both Morse and Giron said they wouldn’t appeal the decision to the state supreme court and Gov. John Hickenlooper set the date for the election.
But Morse’s supporters told local reporters that they’ve now gotten affidavits from voters who say they never signed the recall petitions that their names appear on.
“There’s forgery, there’s perjury on the part of the circulators, there are a lot of issues,” Morse supporter Christy Le Lait told Denver’s 7News.
Among the names on the petitions is one of a woman who reportedly died in 2011.
“The evidence that I have provided the District Attorney’s office calls into question the validity of the entire petition-gathering process,” Le Lait said in the Denver Post. “There should be a swift and thorough investigation. Any incidents of forgery and perjury should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
A spokeswoman for the Recall Morse campaign dismissed the accusations as a ploy to distract “from the real issues of this campaign.
Jennifer Kerns told 7News that the campaign was doing its own investigation, but that only about 50 signatures out of 16,000 gathered had been identified as being inaccurate.
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