Century-old elections language sparked a fiery partisan debate in the Colorado Senate on Thursday as Democrats steered through an update to recall laws despite complaints that they’re trying to change the rules in their favor. The bill updates dusty recall requirements that were written long before modern elections procedures such as mail-in voting. The bill was approved on an unrecorded voice vote and faces a more formal vote before heading to the House. Democrats say the bill is not an attempt to make it harder to recall public officials, even though two of their own were ousted last year in the first state legislator recalls in Colorado’s history.
Former Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse were recalled by voters and replaced with Republicans after they supported gun control measures opposed by the GOP. Those recalls were plagued by confusion because of outdated elections code.
For example, the state constitution gives candidates until 15 days before a recall election to qualify for the ballot. But that’s not enough time for elections clerks to accommodate federal requirements to get ballots to military and overseas voters.
The elections code also sets different requirements for petition-gatherers for recalls and petition-gatherers for other ballot efforts.