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El Paso County clerk asks court to order a Sen. John Morse recall election date

July 12, 2013 Updated: July 12, 2013 at 7:20 am
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El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams filed court papers in Denver on Thursday to demand a date for the election that could recall Colorado Springs Democratic state Sen. John Morse.

Legal wrangling has tied up the effort to recall Morse, who was targeted over his stance on gun control measures that passed the General Assembly this year. A protest of the recall effort was filed by Catherine Kleinsmith of Colorado Springs, who claims the recall petitions used in the campaign to oust Morse don't meet constitutional muster.

The protest was denied by the secretary of state's office then appealed to Denver District Court.

The legal action prevents Gov. John Hickenlooper from setting a date for the Morse recall election.

"We are concerned and disappointed that no election date for the recall election has been set. Colorado's Constitution requires it to be set immediately, and that hasn't happened," Williams said in a statement. "Any delay in setting the date runs the real risk of disenfranchising voters by running out the clock for this office to run the election while abiding by constitutional and statutory provisions."

Now, Williams filed to intervene in Kleinsmith's suit to have the court demand an election date from Hickenlooper. A hearing is set for next week.

Ryan Parsell, a spokesman for Williams' office, said the county is hoping to hold the election Aug. 27, which would allow enough time for the man who wants to replace Morse, former City Councilman Bernie Herpin, to petition onto the ballot.

Parsell said another worry is getting ballots printed in time for an all-mail vote.

It's unclear whether Williams will be heard in court. First a judge would have to allow Williams to intervene in the lawsuit. In making that call, the judge will consider whether Williams has legal standing to join the case.

Parsell didn't know when the court would respond to Williams' motion to intervene.

While Williams is a Republican, Parsell said, there's no political motivation behind the effort to set a recall date.

"At the end of the day, we have to administer the election, and we do that as bipartisanly as possible," Parsell said.

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