Polls open Sept. 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 for voting on Senator Morse recall

       A recall election on State Senator John Morse is scheduled at the ballot box only, with polls open Sept. 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10.
       A second-term Democrat, Morse represents Senate District 11, which includes Old Colorado City and much of the Westside. Other parts of the district take in Manitou Springs to the west and to the east the Colorado Springs downtown and areas as far east as Powers Boulevard.
       Voters will get to decide on the recall question and on City Councilmember Bernie Herpin, a Republican, as the replacement senator. Votes are allowed on either or both of those.
       The election had been planned for mail-in ballots, but the Libertarian Party won a legal complaint that it had not gotten a fair chance to make the ballot. That led to a delay in ballot-printing to give the Libertarians time to gather signatures. Because that meant the ballot-printing had to wait, there was not enough time to do so and mail them to registered voters, according to the El Paso County Clerk's Office.
       As it turned out, the Libertarian candidate, Jan Brooks, failed to make the ballot, although she has qualified as a write-in candidate.
       This week, the County Clerk's Office sent Express Line Voting Cards to the roughly 68,000 registered voters in Senate District 11, allowing them to vote on any of the designated days before the actual election day of Sept. 10.
       Dates/times are:
  • Sept. 5, 6, 7, 9 - from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 10 - from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
           The nearest locations for Westsiders are the Citizens Service Center, 1675 Garden of the Gods Road, Suite 2202; and Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave.
           Voters wanting to know if they're in SD-11 can find out at the website: GoVoteColorado.com. For more information on the election, call the county clerk at 520-6202 or go to car.elpasoco.com.
           The challenge against Morse has been primarily led by people who believe the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights grants people the freedom to arm themselves for personal protection. They believe that Morse, serving as Senate president, acted unconstitutionally during the last legislative session in supporting several laws limiting that freedom. On the other hand, he believes he was protecting the state from gun violence; he had even attempted to pass laws that were more stringent.
           The recall election has attracted national attention, including participation from the National Rifle Association and billionaire Democrat Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York and a gun-control advocate.
           Although a gun-rights supporter, Herpin said this week that the main reason he put his name on the ballot was his impression that Morse only has time for people who agree with him. Herpin asserted that if he takes office he won't act that way. “In my five years on City Council, I prided myself on answering every call and responding to every e-mail,” said the military veteran and current defense contractor. “But in the last session Morse listened to East Coast liberals rather than his own constituents.”
           During one of the gun-bill hearings, Herpin alleged that a supporter from Arizona was allowed to talk for 45 minutes while Colorado's county sheriffs - most of whom had concerns about the bill, “got a total of five minutes.”
           Morse responded, “The rules that govern testimony were not altered during the hearings for the gun bills. This is a patently false claim. As with any high-profile bill, the committee chair tries to accommodate the hundreds of people who want to speak. Both sides of this debate were provided with ample time to make their arguments. But it is the committee chair who runs the committee meeting. It was not my call.”
           The incumbent defended his record in office, saying he initially ran for state senator “because I wanted to make a positive impact on my community and my state. In the seven years since, I have seen both make great strides in areas of public health, education, law enforcement and equal rights. It has been a great honor to be present, and to play my small part.”
           His law enforcement claim has not convinced the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association, which has taken a pro-recall position, stating that Morse has not been tough enough on crime.
           Formerly the Fountain police chief and executive director of Silver Key, Morse is in his second term after first being elected in 2006. He was re-elected in 2010, defeating Republican Owen Hill by a tally of 13,451 to 13,199, with 1,258 votes for Libertarian candidate Douglas Randall.
           Herpin was appointed to council for one year in 2006, lost an election bid in 2007, was elected to a four-year term in 2009, then lost a re-election bid last spring.
           The Morse recall election date was set after backers were able to gain a total of 10,137 validated signatures from SD-11 residents in June.

    Westside Pioneer article