1st ever recall vote of legislator certified

For the first time in the state’s history, a special election to decide if a sitting state legislator should be recalled will be held in Colorado Springs sometime in the next few months.

That became possible Tuesday when the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office determined that the effort seeking to oust Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, had turned in enough signatures to force the recall vote.

Earlier this month, a group called the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee submitted petitions with about 16,000 signatures, but more than 6,000 were rejected as invalid by the secretary of state for one reason or another.

Still, it left more than enough to certify the measure for the ballot. Only 7,178 signatures of valid registered voters were needed to do that.

Supporters behind the recall said they started the effort, in part, because of Morse’s support of numerous gun-control measures approved by the Legislature earlier this year. Morse is a member of the Democratic Party, which holds a majority in the House and Senate, and controls the governor’s office.

But Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, immediately made the recall election something more than just about one man.

“Today’s news is unprecedented, and serves as a necessary reminder to Gov. (John) Hickenlooper and the radical Democrats in the state Legislature that they must represent the people of this state, not their extreme special interests,” Call said in a statement. “The Colorado Republican Party is prepared to unite and mobilize behind a single Republican candidate that will be chosen by the people of El Paso County to defeat radical liberal John Morse in the recall election.”

Morse, who is term-limited and cannot run again next year, has said he intends to fight the recall and serve his final year in the legislature.

By law, Morse has 15 days to challenge the certification. If that fails, Hickenlooper must schedule a recall election up to 75 days later.

If that happens, the recall would include two questions, the first being whether to retain Morse. If not, the second question would allow voters to chose from a list of candidates who would replace him.

Those candidates would have to petition onto that ballot, needing only 1,000 signatures each to qualify.

The secretary of state still is in the process of doing a similar line-by-line check in another recall effort, that of Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo.

In that case, the minimum number of valid signatures needed is 11,285. The recall organizers there, however, only turned in petitions with about 13,500 names, leaving it with little cushion to win certification.

Two other recall efforts — against Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Arvada, and Rep. Michael McLachlan, D-Durango — failed last month when no petition signatures were submitted.


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