Thursday, July 11, 2013

County Clerk again trying to interfere with recall

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Wayne Williams: An eager beaver.
  • Wayne Williams: An eager beaver.
El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams has been extremely excited about the possible recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse since the idea was first proposed.

Well before the petitions were turned in, he was calculating the cost of hosting the election (about $150,000), and bemoaning the fact that new election laws meant he'd have to send out ballots to all registered voters, as well as open polling places.

Before Morse had a chance to fully contest the petitions — many of which were so faulty that they were thrown out by hardcore-Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler — Williams was asking the governor to set an early date for the election, August 27. Never mind that the exact date of the recall election is solely the governor's call.

Now Williams, a longtime elected official who is considering a run for Secretary of State, is announcing that he plans to "intervene" in the state's business. He plans to attempt to force Gov. John Hickenlooper to set an election date immediately, halting any further vetting of petitions — some of which were apparently found to have been forged. In a rather breathless press release, Williams is quoted as saying:

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. 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. We are taking this action to preserve the integrity of fair and efficient elections here in El Paso County.

Of course, a press release from the El Paso County Democratic Party points out, Williams hasn't always been so excited to host a special election. It notes:

Does anyone remember how hard WW fought against a special election when the county commissioners put their misleading initiative on the ballot [to extend term limits]? How it would cost so much money and the county and how we just couldn't afford it. Isn't it interesting now that he is in such a hurry to spend money he doesn't even have?

Hmmmm...

Here's Williams' press release in full:

Clerk and Recorder’s Office Seeks Setting of Election Date


[Colorado Springs, Colo. — July 11, 2013] Earlier today, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams announced his intention to intervene in Kleinsmith v. Gessler, Hickenlooper, et al in an effort to compel the Governor to set the Senate District 11 Recall Election date without delay. This action is being taken as a result of litigation filed in Denver District Court seeking to enjoin Governor Hickenlooper from complying with his constitutional requirement to immediately set an election date until a court has resolved all recall-related appeals.

“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,” stated El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. “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. We are taking this action to preserve the integrity of fair and efficient elections here in El Paso County.”

The Clerk and Recorder’s Office concern is due to the condensed timeframe required for recall elections. The office must receive certification of successor candidate petitions from the Secretary of State’s Office, finalize the ballot, submit the ballots for printing two weeks prior to the scheduled mail date, and mail the ballots within the statutorily required 18-22 days prior to the election. Because these successor petitions are not due until ten days after the Governor sets the date for the election, every day of delay in setting the election date delays preparation of the ballots. The Clerk and Recorder’s Office must also appropriately vet and hire additional temporary election staff to run the four Voter Service and Polling Centers that must be established nine calendar days before the election.

On Friday, June 28, 2013, Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams requested that the Governor set August 27th as the date for the Recall Election. That date was requested because it permitted sufficient time to prepare for the election —assuming that the date was set immediately—without conflicting with the Labor Day weekend or preparations for the upcoming 2013 Coordinated Election.

“It is our hope that the Governor will set the Recall Election date immediately,” said Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. “I am responsible for administering the election that the people of Senate District 11 asked to have. Any delay in setting the Recall Election date undermines the trust in our democratic system and needlessly compromises our ability to run a fair election in accordance with our constitution and state statutes.”

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