DENVER–The Secretary of State’s office announced Tuesday that there are sufficient valid signatures to proceed with the recall election of Senate President John Morse, which would be the first recall of a state legislator in state history.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler said the recall committee had gathered 10,137 valid signatures, well in excess of the 7,178 needed to qualify the recall for the ballot. Another 6,061 signatures were deemed invalid.
Morse’s anti-recall campaign, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, is expected to challenge the signatures as part of the protest process.
“Under Colorado law, there is a fifteen day protest period, during which any eligible elector can file a protest with the Secretary of State,” said Gessler in a statement. “Barring a successful protest, at the conclusion of the protest period, the governor will be responsible for setting an election date. The election date will be held between 45-75 days from the end of the protest period.”
The announcement came as no surprise, given that the recall committee had submitted more than twice the number of signatures needed to force a recall in Morse’s Colorado Springs district.
Speculation is rampant that Morse may resign his seat in order to allow a Democratic vacancy committee to choose his successor and thus allow Democrats to preserve their 20-15 majority in the state Senate.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, Morse may resign his seat until 10 days after the governor sets the date for the recall election.
Morse has about 18 months left to serve, given that he is term-limited and cannot run for reelection in November 2014.
The recall drive was sparked by his support for three gun-control bills approved by the state legislature in March. Morse also sponsored an unsuccessful bill that would have made firearms manufacturers, retailers and owners liable for crimes committed with their guns.