11:56am

Tue July 2, 2013
Politics

Colorado Lawmakers Challenge Recall Process

Two Democratic lawmakers facing recall elections this fall are disputing the petition process.

Recall efforts were targeted against four lawmakers for their work passing gun legislation during this year’s legislative session. The only two to get enough signatures to move forward were the ones against Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron.

KUNC’s Brian Larson spoke with Colorado Statesman publisher Jody Hope Strogoff about the arguments and what’s next in the recall process.

Interview Highlights…

Last week Senator Morse challenged the wording of the petition before the Secretary of State. Senator Giron will make a similar case on Wednesday.

“In both cases, the argument basically is that the state constitution requires petitions to expressly include a demand for the election of a successor to the recalled official.  And, in these petitions, that was absent.  And it wasn’t really anyone’s mistake per se, it was that they used the forms supplied by the Secretary of State’s office, they complied with that, and for whatever reason, it appears anyway, that the forms that have been used for the last few years did not require that replacement.”

Supporters of John Morse are also saying that some of the signatures on the petitions have been forged.

“In fact, they said that at least 50 petition signatures were forged and they provided a few examples.  They didn’t give peoples’ last names.  They said they wanted to protect the identities of these people but they said one involved a man who has not lived in Colorado for over a year, which is a requirement.  And they also cited an example of a signature of a woman who, they say, died two years ago.  So, they’re hoping that this shows the poor collection of petition signatures. The proponents of this say, ‘look, were going to look at them as well and see if we did make any mistakes.’  But they claim that they think they’re petition collection was really above board.”

On what’s next if Morse and Giron lose their challenge and the recall moves forward.

“Then, there’s a whole another set of rules that go into effect.  Governor Hickenlooper, a Democrat, would be responsible for setting an election date sometime between 45 to 75 days from the end of the protest period.  But, during that time, Senator Morris and Giron have ten days when they could decide to resign their seat.  If they resigned, a democratic vacancy committee, in each case, would appoint a democrat to continue on in that seat.  There’s some speculation, although nobody is talking about it right now, that’s it’s a possibility that the democrats want to hang onto that seat and if that results in those two incumbents resigning, so be it.”

Jody Hope Strogoff is the publisher of the Colorado Statesman.