Politics

Libertarians thwart mail-in voting, still don’t make ballot

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Greg Campbell Contributor

A Libertarian Party candidate failed to collect enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot in one of Colorado’s historic recall elections, even though the entire voting process was thrown into disarray to accommodate her and other last minute candidates.

The Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit earlier this month that scuttled election officials’ intention to conduct the recalls of state Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron by mail. County clerks were following the guidelines in a newly passed election reform law that Libertarians said conflicted with a timeline laid out in the Colorado constitution.

A judge found in the party’s favor, ruling that potential candidates had until 10 days before a recall election to submit signatures to be included on the ballot.

That didn’t leave enough time for the secretary of state’s office to verify the signatures and for county clerks to print and mail ballots with the names of last minute candidates. To accommodate the court ruling — and any candidates who were to successfully petition onto the ballot — officials spiked the idea of voting by mail and are scrambling to hold the Sept. 10 elections in-person at voting centers.

Now it seems all the scrambling was for naught — with no new candidates on the ballot, the only result of the Libertarians’ court maneuver is that there will be no mail ballots aside from the small number already sent out before the lawsuit forced election officials to change course.

Historically, in-person elections have smaller turnouts than those that include mail ballots; a lower turnout is expected to favor those seeking to recall the Democratic lawmakers.

As a minor party candidate, Libertarian hopeful Jan Brooks needed 575 signatures to qualify for inclusion on the ballot seeking to recall Morse, but only 408 were valid out of the 834 she submitted, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Also falling short was Democrat Richard Anglund, the Pueblo Chieftain reported, who wanted to appear as an alternative candidate on the ballot seeking to recall Giron. As a major party candidate, he needed to collect 1,000 valid signatures.

In other recall news on Tuesday, Denver’s Fox31 reported that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote a $350,000 personal check to the 527 organization backing Morse and Giron. Morse has repeatedly decried the influence of outside interests in the local elections, primarily by the National Rifle Association, while at the same time receiving contributions from out-of-state donors.

And the Colorado Supreme Court weighed in on the recall elections as well Tuesday. The state’s high court clarified that voters don’t need to vote “yes” or “no” on whether to recall the targeted legislators in order to have their vote for a successor count.

The court was asked to weigh in on the matter by Gov. John Hickenlooper to avoid any future legal challenges to the results of the elections.

Morse and Giron are being targeted for their support of Colorado’s tough new gun control laws.

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