The recalls must go on

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The Recalls must go on


Denver, Colorado – Although Colorado faces the first-ever recall of two legislators, we have had plenty of other recall elections in the past. But this recall process has had more curve balls than a baseball game. The latest? On Monday a court ruled that candidates may petition onto the ballot up until 15 days before the September 10 recall elections. It means mostly in-person voting, like past recall elections, because new legislation mandating all-mail ballots will be impossible to implement.


How did this happen? The Colorado constitution allows recall candidates to petition onto the ballot “not less than” 15 days before the election. But the legislature passed laws explicitly requiring an earlier petition timeline. Even worse, last session the legislature mandated all-mail ballots in a recall election.


I strongly opposed that law, but I nonetheless defended it in court. A judge disagreed, so now we must prepare for in-person voting and several shortened timelines. Voters should know this: we will adjust. We will manage this election, just like past recall elections. And every eligible voter will have the chance to cast a ballot on September 10.


As someone who served overseas in the Army and consequently missed an election myself, I’m particularly concerned about our military and overseas voters who want to cast ballots. Currently, El Paso County has 645 and Pueblo has 287.


Colorado is ready to serve them.


Last year I deployed a statewide electronic mail ballot delivery system for military and overseas voters. It worked extremely well, contributing to a 65% jump in turnout, even while most states saw a drop.


That system is already at work in the recall elections. The large majority of our military and overseas voters have already signed up for electronic ballot delivery. They have already received ballots. If more candidates qualify, we will work with El Paso and Pueblo to get them new ballots quickly, through electronic ballots, fax, and expedited mail. Forward deployed service members can even radio their votes to their commanders, and we can accept those ballots eight days after the election. Finally, we’ll take additional steps, if necessary.


The judge may have thrown us a curve, but in Colorado we have a can-do attitude. Voters can be confident the recall elections will be conducted with integrity and every eligible voter will have a chance to vote.

Scott Gessler

Colorado Secretary of State