Truden, Beeson locked in signature tug of war
November 9, 2005
District Attorney Colleen Truden and Martin Beeson are battling over petition signatures Beeson needs to get on the ballot.Beeson has protested a state finding disqualifying 58 signatures on petitions he circulated in an attempt to be listed as a candidate in the Dec. 13 district attorney recall election. He also is seeking to correct petition omissions that led to the secretary of state’s office disqualifying 27 more signatures last week, meaning he is 19 signatures short of the number required to get his name on the ballot.Meanwhile, Truden said Wednesday she has challenged some 30 signatures that the state had deemed valid on Beeson’s petitions. A hearing on the protest of the signatures is planned for Tuesday.”I think that anybody who wants my job should qualify for it,” Truden said, “and this is just part of the process.”Truden’s interest in challenging the petitions came as news to Dana Williams, spokeswoman for the secretary of state. Williams said the state hadn’t previously been aware Truden might do so.
“We’re doing our due diligence,” Truden said. “We have some questions about some of the signatures.”Truden is district attorney for the 9th Judicial District, which covers Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties. Beeson, a former employee of Truden’s, helped lead a successful petition drive to force the recall election.Now he needs 1,000 valid signatures from registered Republicans in the 9th District to be a candidate on the ballot. How the state eventually decides on a few signatures here or there could make all the difference since he is just 19 signatures short.Beeson had submitted 1,243 signatures, and the state deemed 981 of them valid. Signatures can be disqualified for reasons such as having incorrect addresses or not being signed by registered voters. Because Beeson wants to run as a Republican, those signing also must be registered Republicans in the 9th Judicial District.Beeson and Truden had until Wednesday to challenge the state’s initial findings.
The state had informed Beeson last week that 27 signatures could be easily “rehabilitated.” The circulators who had collected those signatures, Christine and Jason Young of Glenwood Springs, had failed to indicate their address on the petitions. The state allows such omissions to be fixed by obtaining notarized affidavits from the circulators indicating where they live.Williams said the state could have made a final decision quickly on the 27 signatures, but the protest of other signatures forced the matter to go to a hearing.Deputy secretary of state William Hobbs will conduct the hearing and must issue a decision within 72 hours. Truden said she may participate in the hearing.As for Truden’s action, Williams said any member of the public can protest petitions. “But it’s only likely that an interested party would file,” she said.Sherry Caloia, a leader of the recall effort, has said she thinks voters will be more likely to recall Truden if someone else’s name is also on the ballot. Voters will be asked to decide whether to recall Truden, and if so, who should replace her.
Beeson also has filed to be a write-in candidate if his petition effort falls short. Fellow Republican Chip McCrory, who wasn’t able to collect 1,000 signatures by a Nov. 1 deadline, also is a write-in candidate.To help prepare for Truden’s protest, her husband, Fred, visited Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf’s office Tuesday and was granted access to a computer to look at voter registration lists. Alsdorf said such access is available to any member of the public.Truden said she had someone filing her protest Wednesday afternoon in Denver, so she hadn’t seen its particulars. But she said she believed it claims that some who signed petitions weren’t registered voters, weren’t registered as Republicans or provided illegible information.Truden said she believes her protest raises doubts about more than 30 signatures and doesn’t involve the 27 Beeson is seeking to “rehabilitate.”Caloia said she wasn’t surprised by Truden’s protest.
“She doesn’t want this to go to a contested election and so she’s doing what she can to make sure she basically runs without anyone else being on the ballot,” Caloia said.She said that runs contrary to past comments by Truden that she wants to let the voters decide.Caloia said Truden hadn’t challenged the recall petitions because organizers gathered far more signatures than were needed. In the case of the Beeson petitions, “She has a much better chance of prevailing,” Caloia said.Caloia said she thinks the secretary of state’s office did a fairly thorough job with Beeson’s petitions.”Hopefully it will be difficult for her to get him below the thousand that he needs,” Caloia said.