DENVER - A shockwave reverberated through both side in the recall elections of two southern Colorado Democratic senators after a judge's ruling likely eliminates mail-in ballots for the looming Sept. 10 elections.
Judge Robert McGahey considered a lawsuit brought by the Libertarian Party saying they were wrongfully denied the ability to get a candidate into recall elections for Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo.
McGahey—in a decision that stunned many on Monday evening—ruled that potential candidates should have had until 15 days prior to the election to turn in enough signatures to get their names on the ballot. It's a part of the constitution that applies only to recall elections and is seldom used.
Among those the ruling stunned were election officials in El Paso and Pueblo counties, who have already prepared and even sent out some mail-in ballots. Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz had already printed ballots and mailed them to overseas voters. Anyone using those ballots will have the votes invalidated if another candidate ends up being placed on the ballot in the next few weeks, and since officials now have to wait until Aug. 26—the deadline Judge McGahey set—they definitely won't have time to get the new ballots printed, mailed, and returned from overseas voters. They'll have a very tough time getting mail ballots to regular voters in time, with just 15 days for turnaround. It also means Ortiz has to scrap the 100,000 ballots he's already printed. A new law in Colorado requires that every voter receives a mail-in ballot, so this ruling really complicates how the Sept. 10 recall will proceed.
It also complicates GOTV efforts for Sens. Morse and Giron, who've likely geared their campaigns for the mail-in balloting. They'll have extra work to educate voters about the very fact that the recall election is happening and where to vote. You can help make sure they have the funds to deal with this new wrinkle.