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Colorado Democrat Party Goes To Court To Block Ballot Access

Colorado Democrat Party Goes To Court To Block Ballot Access

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The Colorado Democrat Party has gone to court to block Eric Weissmann from appearing on the Republican Party primary ballot in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District.
The Colorado Democrat Party has gone to court to block Eric Weissmann from appearing on the Republican Party primary ballot in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District.

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Published by: ColoradoPeakPolitics on Apr 17, 2012
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04/17/2012

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DISTRICT COURT, CITY AND COUNTY OFDENVER, COLORADO
 1437 Bannock St.Denver, CO 80203
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COURT USE ONLY
 
Plaintiff:
 COLORADO DEMOCRATIC PARTYv.
Defendants:
 SCOTT GESSLER, in his official capacity as Secretaryof State for the State of Colorado, andERIC WEISSMANN.
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Case Number:
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Div./Ctrm:Attorney for Plaintiff  Name: Martha M. Tierney, #27521Address: Heizer Paul Grueskin LLP
 
2401 15
th
Street, Suite 300Denver, CO 80202Telephone: (303) 376-3711Facsimile: (303) 595-4750E-mail: mtierney@hpgfirm.com
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PETITION FOR REVIEW OF SECRETARY OF STATE DETERMINATION ANDREQUEST FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
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The Colorado Democratic Party (“CDP”), by and through its counsel, Heizer PaulGrueskin LLP, and pursuant to C.R.S. §1-1-113, §1-4-909, and §13-51-105 hereby petitionsthis Court for review of the Secretary of State’s determination that certain signatures on thePetition to Nominate Eric Weissmann to the Office of Congress Representing the RepublicanParty (“Petition”) in Colorado’s Second Congressional District are sufficient and for adeclaration that the Petition is insufficient.
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT
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The CDP files this Petition for Review of Secretary of State Determination pursuant to §1-1-113, §1-4-909, and §13-51-105. This action arises from
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the Colorado Secretary of State’s(“Secretary”) determination of insufficiency of the Petition on April 10, 2012. Section 1-4-909(1.5), C.R.S., requires a candidate whose petitions have been certified insufficient to file anaction for review within five days of the date of the insufficiency determination. Weissmann petitioned this Court for review in a separate action filed by LexisNexis on Saturday April 14, 2012(the “Weissman Action”). The CDP reviewed the Petition and believes that the Secretary failed to
 
-2reject all petition signatures that do not meet the requirements of petitions signatures under Colorado law. The CDP intends to file a motion to intervene in the Weissmann action as soon asthe Court opens on Monday April 16, 2012. However, Section 1-4-909 is unclear as to whether, if this Court finds that Weissmann cured enough deficiencies to meet the one thousand signaturethreshold, that such decision would be considered a decision by the designated election officialtriggering another opportunity for the CDP to petition for review of the sufficiency finding pursuant to section 1-4-909(1). As a result, in order to protect its rights under section 1-4-909(1),C.R.S., and so that the Petition is reviewed one time instead of two, the CDP files this action today.Should this Court decide that the CDP will have an opportunity to file a petition for review withinfive days of any determination by this Court of sufficiency of the Petition, then the CDP willdismiss this matter without prejudice and re-file it at the appropriate time. Should this Courtdetermine that, for purposes of efficiency, it is appropriate to hear the CDP’s petition for review atthe same time as Weissmann’s petition for review, then the CDP seeks this Court to consolidatethis action with the Weissmann Action.
PARTIES, VENUE, & JURISDICTION
1.
 
The CDP is the nominating body for federal and state Democratic candidates for office inColorado, is duly organized, existing and operating under the laws of the State of Colorado,and is a "major political party" as defined in C.R.S., § 1-1-104(22). The CDP hasnominated a candidate, Jared Polis, to the general election for the office of Colorado’sSecond Congressional District.2.
 
Defendant Scott Gessler (“Secretary”) is the Secretary of State for the State of Colorado.3.
 
Defendant Eric Weissmann is seeking to be placed on the ballot as a candidate for the officeof Congress from Colorado’s Second Congressional District, and submitted the Petitionwhich is the subject of this action.4.
 
Venue is proper under C.R.C.P. 98(b)(2) in that this action is against the Secretary, a public officer holding office within the county.5.
 
Pursuant to C.R.S. §1-1-113, §1-4-909, and §13-51-105, jurisdiction is proper in thisCourt.
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
6.
 
Candidates for political party nominations to be made by primary election may be placedon the primary election ballot by petition under C.R.S. § 1-4-801.7.
 
In his role of administering and enforcing Colorado’s election laws and code, the Secretarydetermines the validity of petitions under C.R.S. § 1-4-908.8.
 
Pursuant to C.R.S. §1-4-801(2)(b), Weissmann needed to submit one thousand valid petition signatures in order to be placed on the ballot.
 
-39.
 
On April 2, 2012, Weissmann turned in his petition sections.10.
 
After review, the Secretary found that Weissmann failed to submit one thousand valid petition signatures and issued a Statement of Insufficiency on April 10, 2012.11.
 
On April 12, 2012, the CDP obtained a copy of Weissmann’s petitions and the Secretary’sworksheet showing which signatures were accepted, which were rejected, and why a particular signature was rejected.12.
 
On April 14, 2012, Weissmann filed an action in this Court for review of the Secretary’sdetermination of insufficiency, attaching affidavits from some circulators and two notaries public, seeking to cure some deficiencies that resulted in the rejection of entire petitions dueto errors with the notary jurat and the circulator affidavit, including (1) omission of thenotary seal; (2) the notary entered the name of an affiant in the notary jurat that differedfrom the name of the circulator; and (3) the date of the circulator affidavit did not match thedate reflected in the notary jurat.13.
 
On April 12-14, the CDP carried out its own review of Weissmann’s petitions and foundthat some petition signatures that were accepted by the Secretary should have been rejected.Specifically, the CDP found that even if Weissmann is able to cure some discrepancies withthe notary jurats and circulator affidavits, many signatures contained within petitionsections that were rejected wholesale based upon the notary jurat and circulator offenseswould still not be acceptable due to other deficiencies. These other deficiencies includesigners who (1) did not fully complete the signature lines on the petition; (2) are notregistered voters in the Second Congressional District; (3) are not affiliated with theRepublican party; and (4) placed an address on the petition which does not match theaddress where the signer is registered to vote in the statewide voter registration database.14.
 
Specifically, the CDP has determined that even if Weissmann is able to cure all of thedefects associated with the notary jurat and circulator portions of the petitions, he wouldstill have fewer than the one thousand valid petition signatures required by Section 1-4-801(2)(b) - an insufficient number to place him on the ballot.15.
 
The CDP has an interest in ensuring that all candidates seeking to be placed on the ballotfor election in the Second Congressional District have met the requirements established byColorado law before they are placed on the ballot.
FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(Violation of C.R.S. §1-1-113)16.
 
The CDP incorporates the allegations contained in paragraphs 1-15 above.17.
 
The Colorado Election Code sets out clear rules for candidates seeking to petition on to the ballot, including the signature requirements for the petition set forth in §1-4-801.18.
 
The Colorado Election Code sets out clear rules for signatures on petitions in §1-4-904.19.
 
The Colorado Election Code sets out clear rules for circulators circulating petitions in §1-4-905.20.
 
Weissmann’s Petition does not meet the requirements of §1-4-801 because it does notcontain one thousand valid signatures.21.
 
Weissmann’s Petition does not meet the requirements of §1-4-904(1), (2)(a) and (3) because not all petition signers are eligible electors in the Second Congressional District,not all petition signers are affiliated with the Republican party, and not all petition signers

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