Senate candidate Jon Keyser sues his way onto the ballot
Update, 5 p.m. April 29: Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez has ordered Secretary of State Wayne Williams to delay finalizing the primary ballot for the U.S. Senate race to give GOP candidates Ryan Frazier and Robert Blaha time to review signatures deemed invalid and decide if they will challenge Williams’ ruling. Martinez ordered Williams to wait until 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 4 to finalize the ballot.
Former state Rep. Jon Keyser of Morrison won a spot on the Republican primary ballot for the U.S. Senate race after all.
Denver District Court Judge Elizabeth Starrs ruled this morning that Keyser had submitted enough valid signatures in Congressional District 3 to qualify for the June 28 primary.
Keyser sued Secretary of State Wayne Williams for disallowing 186 signatures submitted by a Colorado Springs man, Tyler Gonzales, who had mistakenly entered a home address different from the one on his voter registration information listed on his petitions.
Under state law, petition gatherers must sign an affidavit that includes their correct address.
Williams ruled that Keyser came up 86 signatures short in Congressional District 3.
Keyser maintained Gonzalez’s foible was an unsubstantial error. Gonzalez told the court that he had moved on February 29, 2016, the same day he started working as a petition circulator.
Starrs indicated that rejecting the Gonzalez petitions was a trivial excuse, “especially given the fact that his move occurred just days before he started gathering signatures for Mr. Keyser. In assessing Mr. Gonzalez’s credibility and the evidence in this case, the Court finds that Mr. Gonzalez did not have an improper motive in failing to update his voter registration address. The Colorado Election Laws are designed, in part, to eliminate fraud. No fraud was present here.”
With those 186 signatures now back in, Keyser qualified for the ballot.
Today, Williams must finalize the ballots for the June 28 primary.
Williams ruled yesterday that petitions submitted by former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier and Colorado Springs businessman Robert Blaha failed to provide the minimum number of signatures required under state law. Each candidate must obtain 1,500 valid signatures per congressional district to qualify for the ballot.
Frazier fell short in four congressional districts. Blaha was short signatures in three of the seven.
Unlike Keyser, both candidates had high percentages of invalid signatures, according to the Secretary of State. Frazier submitted 18,581, but 7,473 were deemed invalid, or about 40 percent. Blaha turned in 17,844 signatures, but 7,337 were ruled invalid, or 41 percent.
According to Secretary of State spokesperson Lynn Bartels, as of 11 a.m., Frazier and Blaha had not yet filed court challenges on the invalid signatures.
Photo credit: Jim Hammer, Creative Commons, Flickr.
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