While Colorado voters have gathered enough signatures to trigger the recall elections of two state senators, Senate President John Morse (D-Colo. Springs) is filing a criminal complaint with the Colorado Springs district attorney’s office, claiming that many of the signatures gathered are fraudulent.
The complaint calls for a criminal investigation of the signatures. These signatures have already been validated by the secretary of state’s office and both petitions were ruled constitutional by a district court judge.
Morse and another state senator, Sen. Angela Giron, both face recall elections following their participation in passing strict gun control laws in Colorado earlier this year.
“There’s forgery, there’s perjury on the part of the circulators, there are a lot of issues,” said Christy Le Lait, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse campaign spokeswoman.
Morse’s campaigners claim at least 3,500 of the signatures will be found fraudulent after a full investigation.
“The evidence that I have provided the District Attorney’s office calls into question the validity of the entire petition gathering process,” said Le Lait to KDVR/Fox 31 News Denver. “There should be a swift and thorough investigation. Any incidents of forgery and perjury should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
“There are many categories of faulty signatures,” Le Lait said. “Including petitions that were not properly notarized, signatures from voters who live outside Senate District 11 and some forgeries. In all, we were able to find 2,149 faulty signatures”
However, groups petitioning for the recall of Morse are confident that this is just politics as usual.
“It’s just one more piece of information they’re trying to use to detract from the real issue of this campaign,” said Basic Freedoms Defense Fund spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns to KDVR/the Denver Channel.
“They did not present a single signature that had been forged or was inaccurate,” Kerns said.
Kerns said that these actions are simple “thuggery.”
“[These] baseless accusations are yet more fiction being spun by John Morse’s team,” Kerns added. “John Morse has now become so desperate his team is willing to say anything to help him keep his seat — even accusing his own constituents of fraud.”
“For weeks, they promised to produce scores of constituents who were ‘confused’ by the petitions, yet in Court they never called a single witness to testify to that, not one. John Morse’s campaign consists of a pattern of baseless, bogus accusations uttered in public that are never backed up by facts in a court of law,” she continued.
“A campaign can do many things, but it cannot have its own version of the facts and reality,” she said.
Recall petition signers reported being harassed by Morse’s campaigners who allegedly pressured them to remove their names from the petition.
Giron’s supporters were caught on camera in what looks like accepting payment in exchange for protesting against the recall. Although Giron’s campaign rejected accusations of paying for the protesting, campaign workers handed the money over to the state’s unclaimed property fund.
While neither Morse nor Giron are expected to appeal the recent court ruling validating the recall petitions, this request for an investigation surrounding the petitioners and the signers is in-line with Morse’s campaign’s claims from the outset of the recall.
Morse has continuously maintained that fraud, not voters, is what’s working against him.
The recall election is scheduled for Sept. 10.