State Sen. Evie Hudak resigned her seat Wednesday, ending a recall effort being waged against her days before gun-rights activists were to turn in petitions to try to oust the Democrat from office. In her resignation letter, Hudak said her decision would spare Jefferson County residents from having to shell out more than $200,000 for a special election, especially after the county has cut programs for seniors and mental health. She praised the gun laws Democrats passed in the 2013 session that sparked recall efforts against her and two fellow senators, Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo. Several Democratic lawmakers conceded that a recall election would have served as a distraction during the 2014 session for them and for Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is up for re-election. And if voters in Hudak’s district had voted to oust her and replaced her with a Republican, the GOP would have gained control of the Senate by one seat. Democrats now have only an 18-17 majority over Republicans, thanks to the successful recalls of Morse and Giron, who were replaced by Republicans. Under Colorado law, Hudak’s successor will be a member of her own party.
Three unnamed people have asked the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to temporarily halt a secret investigation of campaign fundraising and spending during Wisconsin’s recent recall elections. Madison attorney Dean Strang filed the five motions Thursday, according to online court records. The filings name special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and initially named retired Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara Kluka, who was originally in charge of the investigation. The filings were amended this week to reflect that the investigation is now being overseen by retired Appeals Court Judge Gregory Peterson. Kluka has not said why she recused herself. Copies of the court records were not available because Strang has filed motions to seal the petitions and related records. The filings, called petitions for supervisory writs, are requests that higher courts review how the investigation is being conducted.
Wisconsin: Assembly Republicans push through recall, photo ID, absentee voting measures | Associated Press
Assembly Republicans used the final regular session day of the year Thursday to push their proposals that would make it more difficult to remove public officials from office, require photo identification at the polls and limit hours of in-person absentee voting. Democrats, who opposed all the measures but didn’t have the votes to stop them, argued against the changes as an infringement on voter rights and attempt to quash Democratic supporters. Republican leaders defended the proposals, saying they would protect the integrity of the election process by allowing recalls only when those targeted have committed a serious crime, combat fraud by requiring photo identification and install a more uniform system for in-person absentee voting hours statewide. The Assembly isn’t the last stop for any of the hot-button elections issues. All would also have to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, and the change to the recall law for statewide officials would be put to a statewide vote. The soonest that could happen is 2015. The recall measure passed 53-39 with all Democrats opposed.
Recalling the governor and others from office in Wisconsin would be more difficult, in-person absentee voting hours would be restricted and photo identification would be required to cast a ballot under a flurry of divisive measures the state Assembly plans to pass Thursday. The elections bills aren’t the only hot-button issues the Republican-controlled chamber plans to approve on its final session day of the year. Also slated for passage are proposals limiting the public’s access to a proposed iron ore site in northern Wisconsin and undoing the 124-year-old practice of having the most senior member of the state Supreme Court serve as chief justice. Democrats oppose the proposals and plan to push debate into the early morning hours Friday, but they don’t have the votes to stop the bills. Instead, Democrats plan to use the opportunity to argue that Republicans’ priorities are misplaced. Democrats say Republicans should respond to the call from government watchdog groups, newspaper editorial boards and others to hold public hearings on ways to improve the process of redistricting, the process by which political boundaries are drawn.
The Colorado Election Law, HB13-1303 Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act of 2013, passed in haste last legislative session on a straight party-line vote (the Senate sponsors of the bill, Angela Giron and John Morse, were subsequently removed from office in Colorado’s first legislative recall elections in state history) has once again been challenged in court. The Libertarian Party of Colorado, joined by several individual plaintiffs, filed suit in Denver District Court (Saturday, 2 November 2013) seeking to ensure that voters in this year’s coordinated (nonpartisan) municipal and special-district (including school board) elections were able to vote – and only able to vote – on those races for which they were eligible under state statute and the provisions of the Colorado Constitution.
Gov. Scott Walker wants to replace, without explanation, the former judge who led the nonpartisan elections board during Walker’s recall in 2012, raising questions about his motives for the unusual move. Walker’s office today provided The Associated Press with a copy of the governor’s Oct. 24 letter withdrawing the nomination for Senate confirmation of Judge David Deininger. Walker spokesman Tom Evenson had no comment on why the governor made the move. A Senate committee was to vote on the nomination Tuesday. “I feel like I’ve been fired and I don’t know why,” said Deininger, a former Republican lawmaker who was first appointed to the Government Accountability Board in 2008 by then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. The board was established to be a nonpartisan arbiter of the state’s election and ethics laws, but some of its decisions have so angered Republicans they have called for it to be abolished and reconstituted.
The Colorado Supreme Court has reaffirmed its decision in two Colorado legislative recall elections that voters do not have to first vote “yes” or “no” on the recall to have their votes for a successor validated. The Colorado high court said Monday a state constitutional requirement that voters must first vote on the recall before voting for a candidate violates rights to voting and expression under the U.S. Constitution. The court’s written ruling came in response to a question from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
When a pair of Colorado lawmakers were recalled last month in a referendum on gun control, opponents had this to console them: At least, they said, the twin defeats did not alter the balance of power in Denver, the state capital. Now gun rights advocates are looking to change that. Organizers have received official go-ahead to start gathering signatures in a bid to oust state Sen. Evie Hudak, a Democrat from the Denver suburb of Westminister, who was the target of a failed recall petition drive earlier this year. The group, certified by Colorado’s secretary of State, has until Dec. 3 to collect just over 18,900 signatures to force a vote. The stakes: control of the state Senate, which Democrats hold by a tenuous 18-17 edge. Hudak, who is in her second term, was one of four lawmakers originally targeted after the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a series of sweeping gun controls in response to mass shootings last year in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. The measures, signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, include a requirement for universal background checks and a limit on ammunition magazines like the one used in the July 2012 theater shootings in Aurora, another suburb of Denver.
Ten years ago, California erupted in an anti-government, anti-establishment convulsion unlike any ever seen. Disgruntled voters seized the chance for a rare do-over, recalling their staid and serious governor, Gray Davis, and replacing him less than a year after his reelection with one of the most famous and exuberant personalities on the planet. It was only the second time in U.S. history a sitting governor was booted from office. The spectacle — a snap election featuring a color wheel of 135 candidates, including a former child actor, a porn star and a handful of professional politicians — shook California from its usual political slumber and captivated an audience that watched from around the world. A decade on, the effects are still being felt, albeit subtly, and not the way proponents imagined, or the way actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the chief beneficiary, so grandly promised.
The final results are in for the recall election of Senate President John Morse — and it was a squeaker. With additional ballots counted, it turns out that Morse lost by just 319 votes. With the deadline for receiving military and overseas ballots passed, all possible remaining legal votes in the Senate District 11 Recall Election have been collected and tabulated. The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office announces the official final result of the election as follows: The final results include an additional 76 ballots from military and overseas voters and 22 polling place provisional ballots that were counted after signatures were verified.