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Recall could be pushed to 2006

Chad Abraham

Voters who planned to get their say in November about whether District Attorney Colleen Truden stays or goes may have to wait until 2006.If Truden opponents gather enough valid signatures to bring a recall to a vote, it will have to be for a special election that could not happen until just before this Christmas.A decision on whether enough signatures exist is not expected until Sept. 30. The district attorney would then have 15 days to challenge the validity of any names. After that, if the election is still on, the secretary of state’s office must schedule a vote to take place within 45 to 75 days.That means the earliest possible election would be just before Christmas. It could be as late as the first week in February.A large chunk of time is necessary because officials need time to prepare for an election, said Dana Williams of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.”The clerks have to go through quite a bit of work to make sure the ballots are printed, that there are no problems with the ballots or their election equipment,” she said. “It takes quite a bit of time for them to make sure everything is up to snuff.”The ballot would comprise two questions: Should Colleen Truden be removed from office, and if so, which candidate should take her place? If there is an election, Martin Beeson, a former deputy district attorney in the 9th Judicial District, and Chip McCrory, a longtime lawyer in the Roaring Fork Valley and a former prosecutor, will be on the ballot.Recall proponents likely would have preferred to be on the November general ballot, but it wasn’t possible. Under state law, Truden foes had to wait until she had been in office six months before starting the 60-day petition process. Organizers used all that time to get as many signatures as possible. In doing so, the deadline to get issues onto the Nov. 1 election expired.General elections always have a higher voter turnout, Williams said, because people don’t like going to the polls for another, separate election.”However, in this particular situation with the district attorney, we do anticipate there to be a pretty high turnout, just because of [the] publicity that’s been going on,” she said.Recall organizer Sherry Caloia said she wasn’t worried about a low turnout. The potential election will draw mainly those with strong feelings for Truden, either positive or negative.”The people who vote in a special election are people who are interested in the issue that they’re voting on,” she said. “With the numbers [of] petitions we’re seeing, there are a lot of opponents out there.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com


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