House committee unanimously passes Colorado election petition bill

Last-minute negotiations on an elections bill took place last week right before it was heard by the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. Left to right, Tim Griesmer, legislative liaison for the Secretary of State’s office; Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County; Martha Tierney, attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party; and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s election drama last year over forged petition signatures and the failures of some petition candidates to initially make the ballot is being addressed by the Colorado legislature.

A House committee voted 9-0 in favor of a bill by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, that allows the Secretary of State’s office to conduct signature verification on candidate petitions, similar to what is done with mail ballots, and provides a signature cure process. It also allows petition circulators to cure administrative deficiencies in their circulator affidavits.

Members from organizations such as America Votes and Common Cause, along with Secretary of State Wayne Williams last Thursday testified in favor of HB17-1088.

“Allowing us to work with a candidate to fix (problems) improves the process and increases the integrity of the election,” Williams told the House State Affairs, Veterans & Military Committee.

Read moreHouse committee unanimously passes Colorado election petition bill

Jon Keyser’s term limits pledge

The GOP U.S. Senate ballot in the June 28 primary election.
The GOP U.S. Senate ballot in the June 28 primary election.

A phrase under Jon Keyser’s name on the primary ballot for Republican U.S. Senate candidates is causing consternation among some voters.

It reads: “Signed declaration to limit service to no more than 2 terms.”

“Pretty blatant campaigning ON THE BALLOT,” one voter remarked to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

“Electioneering,” one woman complained to the elections staff.

“No,” she was told. “We’re just following the constitution.”

Coloradans in 1998 approved a constitutional amendment allowing candidates who want to choose voluntary congressional term limits to declare so on the ballot and on their election materials.

Read moreJon Keyser’s term limits pledge

Republican U.S. Senate ballot: Darryl Glenn’s name is first

The primary election is June 28.
The primary election is June 28.

UPDATE:  Ryan Frazier’s name will be on the Republican Senate primary ballot but the votes will not be counted if a judge determines he should not have made the ballot.

If former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier makes the ballot, his name will be second on the list for Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate in a race rife with unexpected twists and turns.

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn’s name will be first because he made the ballot at the state Republican assembly in a stunner: Glenn received so many delegate votes that that no one else competing at the assembly survived. Pueblo West resident Jerry Eller got less than 1 percent of the vote at the assembly but  has filed paperwork to become a write-in candidate.

The other way to get on the Senate ballot is by collecting 1,500 valid Republican voter signatures in each of the state’s seven congressional districts. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office held a drawing for those candidates to determine ballot order. This is how the ballot will look, pending Frazier’s appeal after the office deemed he fell short:

  1. Glenn
  2. Frazier
  3. Colorado Springs businessman Robert Blaha
  4. Former CSU athletic director Jack Graham
  5. Former state Rep. Jon Keyser
  6. Write-in candidate_____________

Read moreRepublican U.S. Senate ballot: Darryl Glenn’s name is first

Medal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.
Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.

For the second time in my life, I’ve shaken the hand of a Medal of Honor recipient.

The first time was in the early 1980s when I worked for The Gallup Independent in Gallup, N.M., and got to know Heroshi Miyamura. The Gallup native, known as “Hershey,” in 1951 in Korea killed more than 50 enemy soldiers, including hand-to-hand fighting with a bayonet, while ordering his men to fall back.

Hershey Miyamura.
Hershey Miyamura.

The next time was at the Healing our Heroes luncheon Friday in Denver when I met former Army Ranger Leroy Petry, who also is a New Mexico native. I didn’t realize until I went to shake his hand that he lost his right one while throwing a live grenade away from his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan in 2008.

Petry served as the keynote speaker for the Healing our Heroes gala, which raised money to help injured veterans receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“I thank God every morning that I’m here,” Petry said. “So many paid the ultimate price or suffered horrific injuries.”

Read moreMedal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Colorado candidates collect signatures to get on the ballot

State Rep. Su Ryden, an Aurora Democrat, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Capitol Friday for Military Appreciation Day. Ryden is collecting signatures to get on the ballot for her state Senate run.
State Rep. Su Ryden, an Aurora Democrat, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Capitol Friday for Military Appreciation Day. Ryden is collecting signatures to get on the ballot for her state Senate run.

Candidates who are planning to collect voter signatures to try to get on the June 28 primary ballot may start circulating their petitions today, although it’s likely the weather will crimp campaigning.

Collecting voter signatures is one way of getting on the ballot. Another is going through an assembly and receiving at least 30 percent of the delegate vote.

For candidates going the signature route, the petition format first must be approved by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. So far, 21 candidates have received the OK to proceed. Other candidates are waiting to have their petition formats approved.

A number of Republicans have lined up to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, the Democratic incumbent. So far, five have had their petition formats approved.

Some candidates are collecting signatures and planning to go to their assemblies. That way if the assembly doesn’t work out, they will have the signatures to fall back on.

Read moreColorado candidates collect signatures to get on the ballot