Voters in two Colorado legislative recall elections over new gun laws don’t have to first vote “yes” or “no” on the recall to have their votes for a successor validated, the state Supreme Court said Tuesday. A state constitutional requirement saying voters must first vote on the recall before voting for a candidate violates rights to voting and expression under the U.S. Constitution, the Colorado high court said. The court’s brief statement came in response to a question from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. The decision is the latest twist in recalls that have triggered legal challenges and drawn the attention of big-money contributors like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association. Bloomberg wrote a check for $350,000 to support the Democratic candidates targeted for recall, according to the latest campaign finance disclosures.
Hickenlooper said in a filing through the state attorney general that the question is important because the Sept. 10 elections could require a recount or even be invalidated if someone raises a legal challenge afterward.
The legal filing from Hickenlooper noted that a “virtually identical provision” of California election law that required a vote on the recall before voting for a candidate was declared unconstitutional in 2003, during the recall of former Gov. Gray Davis.