Colorado

Jun 18, 2013 8:42 PM by Jacqui Heinrich, jheinrich@koaa.com

Gessler confirms Morse recall signatures verified, now a lawsuit announced to get recall thrown out

It's a first for Colorado: enough signatures were gathered to recall a state legislator, Senate President John Morse. But don't expect a ballot in your mailbox anytime soon; the Morse camp is fighting back with a lawsuit to get the recall thrown out entirely.

The claim: the petitions are all invalid since the recall organizers called only for the recall of Senator Morse and didn't specifically mention that a recall election would follow, something that's mandated by the state Constitution.

Morse supporters say leaving that clause out of the petition not only violates the Constitution, butleaves  people signing the petitions uninformed about what a recall would cost, especially given that Morse only has another year left to serve. A special election would cost about $200,000 in taxpayer dollars. "They were just [stating] why these people thought that he should be recalled but it [the petition] didn't say what the next step was or that it would cost money to hold a special election," said Christy Lelait, spokesperson for A Whole Lot of People For John Morse.

Meanwhile folks on the recall committee are convinced the recall will go through. Jennifer Kerns, a spokesperson for Recall Senator John Morse, told News 5, "We will do everything in our power to ensure that the voice of the people is heard, we were expecting this sort of frivolous legal challenge and we will be prepared for any scenario."

Of the roughly 16,000 signatures recall organizers turned in, 6,000 were thrown out by the Secretary of State's office. In the end though, the recall group still retained more signatures than the 7,200 needed to warrant a recall. They're pointing to those signatures as a direct reflection of the will of the people and the reason, they say, the election should go through.

If the recall effort survives the legal challenges, it will be several months before voters see a ballot. Both sides will use the court system to try to throw out signatures or defend the recall. In the meantime, at least one republican has already announced her candidacy for Morse's seat.

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