Clerks Scramble in Face of Recall Ruling

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The recall elections of state senators John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo are still on for Sept. 10, but voters shouldn’t expect their normal mail-in ballot. A judge’s ruling this week has the clerks of both El Paso and Pueblo counties scrambling to figure out how to conduct an election that complies with as many state laws as possible. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports. 

The judge ruled a new law governing recalls is incompatible with the state Constitution. The ruling means replacement candidates now have until Aug. 26 to turn in signatures to get their names on the ballot. That’s just 15 days before the election. El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams said that doesn’t allow enough time to comply with the law requiring election by mail, and he’s waiting for the secretary of state to issue new rules.

"The biggest challenge for us," Williams said, "is to plan for an election for which we do not yet know the procedures."

Williams figures the ballots won’t be ready be printed before Sept. 5th. He and Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz are scouting for polling locations they can have open for several days leading up to election day. Ortiz said it’s not easy.

"We’re in the process of hiring 180 judges," Ortiz said. "We’re looking at possibly closing our motor vehicle office for parts of that time so we can use staff to fill in. Since everybody is going to be required to show up in person, we expect long lines, especially on election day."

Democrats Morse and Giron are being targeted for recall because they supported gun control measures. The ballot will also ask voters to choose a possible successor. El Paso County already mailed ballots to hundreds of overseas voters that list Bernie Herpin as the sole replacement candidate. If a voter returns a ballot lacking the names of other qualified candidates, the Williams proposes to count only the recall question. For more information:El Paso CountyPueblo County