Colorado Supreme Court to take up Lamborn petition signature case

DENVER – The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from five Republicans who have called into question the validity of petition signatures gathered by the campaign for six-term Congressman Doug Lamborn.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court after a district court judge ruled last week that Lamborn could remain on the primary ballot.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams approved Lamborn’s ballot petition earlier this year. He deemed 1,269 signatures gathered valid; Lamborn needed 1,000 to qualify for this year’s primary ballot.

But the plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued over half of the signatures were invalid because the circulators who gathered the signatures were not legal Colorado residents.

The question at hand was whether seven circulators were indeed legal Colorado residents. The secretary of state’s office testified that all of the circulators were found to have been legally-registered voters with the Republican Party in Colorado – both requirements under state law.

Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney agreed and said Lamborn could stay on the ballot.

Michael Francisco, the attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that the circulators all lived out of state and moved into a house in Thornton for the sole purpose of gathering signatures, and that they thus weren’t state residents.

The plaintiffs are focused in particular on one petition circulator, Ryan Tipple, who has connections to California but expressed a desire to live in Colorado.

“From the beginning we have maintained this case is important for protecting the integrity of Colorado elections, including from cases of circulator fraud,” Francisco said. “The legal questions the Supreme Court will review have far-reaching implications. Residency for petition circulators in Colorado should be governed by objective standards. If Ryan Tipple’s myriad of connections to California do not preclude him from being a bona fide Colorado resident, then anyone can claim Colorado residence.”

The court has asked the parties in the case to file briefs by 5 p.m. Thursday.

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