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Colorado Senator Calls Recall Election "Nightmare for Democracy"

PHOTO: Colorado State Senate President John Morse (D-Colo. Springs) faces a Sept. 10 recall election. Courtesy
PHOTO: Colorado State Senate President John Morse (D-Colo. Springs) faces a Sept. 10 recall election. Courtesy
August 7, 2013

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The recall election scheduled for Pueblo and El Paso counties will cost taxpayers $230,000, but critics of the recall worry it could cost the state more in the long run.

Colorado's gun lobby ran a successful petition campaign to recall state Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and state Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo. The pair voted to mandate background checks on firearm sales and place ammunition limits on gun magazines.

To Chris Watson, staff lobbyist for the League of Women Voters Colorado, this isn't what the state's recall process is for.

"It should be used sparingly, and for things that won't wait until the next election," she said, "We have regular elections in order to have a referendum on what our elected officials have done."

Supporters of the recall say Morse and Giron ignored their constituents by voting against their party.

Since the recall process began, Morse says he finds himself in what he describes as a surreal situation.

"I'm not in a dream," he said. "This is more a nightmare for democracy."

Morse said he's concerned that the recall could encourage other political groups to use similar tactics in Colorado and beyond.

"In even-numbered years we'll have general elections, and in odd-numbered years we'll have recalls," he said, "and there will certainly be a lot of elected officials that will just be paralyzed with fear and will do nothing."

Voters should expect to receive ballots around Aug. 19 or can vote in person starting Aug. 26. Ballots must be mailed in by Sept. 10, and voters must answer the recall question on the ballot to have their vote counted.

When voters receive the recall ballots, they will be asked to vote "yes" to approve the recall or "no" to keep the incumbents in office. Also on the ballot will be a list of candidates to choose for those who vote in favor of the recall.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO