Christy Le Lait, campaign chair of A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, filed a complaint Tuesday with the El Paso County District Attorney’s office accusing Caldara of breaking the law when he cast a blank ballot in the Morse recall election.
“This appears to be a flagrant attack on our election system,” said Le Lait in a statement. “Jon Caldara’s childish stunt, meant to prove a misguided point, has ultimately undermined the public’s faith in our democracy. It was a shameful act, and it was a crime.”
Caldara insists he was just following the rules laid out under the state legislature’s newly approved Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, which some analysts say allows voters to cast ballots in outside jurisdictions as long as they intend to move there.
A longtime Boulder resident, Caldara says he intended to move to Colorado Springs when he cast the ballot, and had even rented a room from a friend in Senate District 11.
“Don’t complain about me. Complain to the governor for signing it [the bill] into law,” said Caldara.
His argument received a boost from the Denver Post editorial board, which ran an editorial Monday entitled, “Jon Caldara’s Political Stunt Had a Purpose.”
“But even stunts of dubious legality may prove a point — namely how easy it apparently is under Colorado’s new election law to commit fraud,” said the editorial. “The same-day registration rules under House Bill 1303 are dismayingly lax, as we suggested in an editorial in April.”
The editorial continues, “It is not enough for defenders of the statute to point out that it is illegal to mislead election officials, or that election fraud is relatively rare in Colorado. If it is easier than it used to be to skirt the law through an 11th-hour registration, that’s disturbing.”
Le Lait contends in her complaint that Caldara may have committed a felony by “knowingly giving false information about his place of residence.”
Ryan Parsell, spokesman for El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, has said that the office will refer any “suspicious activity” to District Attorney Dan May, but declined to speculate on whether the Caldara episode qualifies.
Williams said in a statement Monday that Caldara’s vote was “not a disruption” after Gov. John Hickenlooper expressed concern over anyone who would “make a mockery of the democratic process.”
The governor signed the elections bill, also known as House Bill 1303, in May. The measure was passed by the Democratic state legislature with no Republican votes.