DENVER — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser says a recall attempt against Senator Kevin Priola should be allowed to continue based on both “jurisdictional and merits” defenses to the allegations raised by opponents of the recall in a lawsuit.
“The Secretary (of State) provides notice now that she opposes the granting of such ‘extraordinary relief,’” the response filed Tuesday by Weiser says in part. “Plaintiff’s motion identifies no injury that they will suffer if recall petitions are able to circulate while the request for preliminary injunction is briefed and decided.”
On Monday the group formed to oppose the recall of Priola and a private resident of Priola’s current Senate District, which represents most of Adams County, filed a request in Denver District Court asking a judge to grant them a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the recall taking place against Priola in Senate District 13.
According to the 16-page petition, filed Monday morning by attorney Michael Rollin, the basis of the suit is that the signatures to recall Priola should not come from Senate District 13 but instead from Senate District 25, which is the district Priola currently represents.
The temporary restraining order would stop signature collection, and the preliminary injunction would stop the recall election until the case can be fully heard in court.
In his response, Weiser said even if “a constitutional harm exists, neither Plaintiff (one of whom is an issue committee that has no right to vote) will incur any harm as long as their request for injunctive relief is litigated prior to any recall election occurring. And it will be.”
Weiser continues that the statutory timeline for recall itself leaves no doubt the motion for a preliminary injunction against the recall can be completely litigated “well in advance” of any recall election.
Weiser cites the 60 days to gather signatures, 28 days to review signatures, 15 days to protest the signatures, another five-day mandatory waiting period before sufficiency can be declared. After all that, the election would be set between 30 and 60 days later, making the election somewhere between Jan. 25, 2023 and Feb. 24, 2023.
“A preliminary injunction will thus be fully briefed and decided well before any voter is able to cast a vote in a recall election, if one is ever held,” Weiser said. “If anything, entering a temporary restraining order would impede the ‘fundamental right’ of Coloradans to exercise their recall power, which right ‘must be liberally construed in favor of the ability to exercise it.’”
According to the filing any hearing for the injunctive relief would be set for a date after Oct. 10 based on timelines for filing the appropriate briefs in support of or against the request.
Complete Colorado will continue to follow the recall effort.
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