Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Recall challenges continue in Denver District Court

By Megan Schrader Published: August 28, 2013

DENVER - The Sept. 10 recall elections were back in court Wednesday, this time with the Libertarian Party challenging express voter cards being used to bypass election day lines and electronic ballots sent to some voters.

Denver District Court Judge Robert McGahey said he would rule Thursday morning on whether El Paso and Pueblo counties can use the emailed ballots and express voting cards.

Voters in Senate District 11 and Senate District 3 will decide in a few weeks whether to keep Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, in office. Voters will also vote on the same ballot for a potential replacement if either candidate is successfully recalled.

State chair of the Libertarian Party Jeff Orrok said he filed the complaint to ensure the integrity of the elections weren't compromised by unsecured technology and rapid voting without checking identification.

"Some of the things that were proposed may weaken the integrity of the elections," Orrok said.

Ballots are emailed and mailed in hard copy to most military voters. In Pueblo that's about 300 of the registered voters in Senate District 3 and in Colorado Springs it's about 645 voters.

Other absentee voters will receive email ballots during the recall election but will have to mail them back rather than send them back electronically, as military voters are able to do.

Orrok said the emailed ballots could be compromised and should only be used for military voters as required by the law.

The proposals were a response to an earlier court ruling that eliminated the possibility of mail ballots going to every voter in the districts. Traditional neighborhood precincts won't be open on election day, so lines could get long at the limited voting centers that will open for five days of voting.

The El Paso and Pueblo county clerks might be on opposite ends of politics but after spending yet another day in court arguing about the Sept. 10 recall elections, they agree on one thing.

"We're training (election) judges now. We need to know what rules to tell them to follow. We need to tell our voters what rules to follow," said Wayne Williams, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder. "We need a ruling whatever the ruling may be saying this is how the election should be run."

Gilbert Ortiz, Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder, agrees.

"I look forward to the ruling tomorrow so that we can finally be on solid ground for running these elections," Ortiz said.

Both said they've never run an election with as many rule changes as the recall elections coming up in a few weeks.

Ordinarily in an election, ballots would have been printed long before this point, especially to be sent to overseas voters.

And things may still get more complicated for Williams.

Orrok said Wednesday after court he plans on challenging the count of signatures that kept Libertarian candidate Jan Brooks off of the recall ballots.

He said the Secretary of State's Office may have erred while counting the signatures and that the party is in the process of reviewing the signatures now. Brooks turned in 834 signatures, of which 575 needed to be from valid registered voters in Senate District 11. Only 408 were counted as valid, keeping Brooks off the ballot.

Williams said a challenge would turn the world upside down because it takes time and money to have ballots proofed, tested, printed and then sent out to absentee voters.

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Contact Megan Schrader

719-286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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