June 3, 2013 Updated: June 3, 2013 at 5:26 pm
DENVER - More than 16,000 signatures were submitted in three boxes Monday afternoon to the Secretary of State in an effort to recall Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs.
Of those, 7,178 must be valid signatures of registered voters in Morse's district in southwestern Colorado Springs. The Secretary of State has 15 days to verify the signatures.
If enough signatures are valid, Morse will appear on a ballot in the coming months and voters in his district will be asked whether he should be removed from office and if so, which candidate should replace him. Candidates can begin filing to challenge Morse once the signatures are found to be valid.
Morse is one of four Democrats targeted by a Durango-based group - Basic Freedom Defense Fund - to be recalled after sweeping gun legislation became law in March.
No state legislator has ever been successfully recalled, in part because of the high number of signatures required to get the issue to ballot. In Morse's case however the number is low because of low voter turnout in 2010 when he was elected.
Rob Harris, who filed for the petition drive and established the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee, said the number of signatures submitted Monday should send a message to Democrats that they have gone too far.
Harris declined to say how many signatures were submitted, but Laura Carno with the Colorado Springs-based I Am Created Equal said more than 16,000 were submitted.
Carno's organization gave $14,000 to the effort to recall Morse.
Check back at gazette.com for more information after a 2 p.m. press conference with Morse.
Contact Megan Schrader: 719-286-0644 Twitter @CapitolSchrader