The Libertarian Party of Colorado won a lawsuit in Denver District Court on Monday that has turned the Sept. 10 recall election on its head.
The party argued that it should have been given up to 15 days before the election, as allowed by the Colorado constitution, to turn in signatures to petition its candidates onto two recall ballots aimed at Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo. The party was instead only given 10 days after the election was certified, per state statute.
Judge Robert McGahey ruled that Secretary of State Scott Gessler should have followed the constitution, and ordered him to give the Libertarians until Aug. 26 to petition their candidates onto the ballots. This, despite arguments that there was no conflict between the laws, and that elections could not be run on such a tight schedule.
"We're really happy with the decision," Libertarian state chair Jeff Orrok tells the Indy. He adds: "Now the ball is in our court, and we're going to have to hustle to get the signatures collected and start campaigning."
The change, however, disappointed both the Republicans who want Morse and Giron recalled over gun-control-related votes, and the Democrats defending the officeholders. It means mail ballots that have already been printed will be discarded, and that county clerks may have to hold a traditional election that will cost more money and likely yield lower voter turnout. Some military members stationed overseas, who depend on mail ballots, may be disenfranchised if they don't seek out a ballot in other ways.
The change also makes it impossible to follow the many of the provisions of a new election reform law pushed through by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The law, which McGahey called "flawed," aimed to increase voter participation.