For a few minutes, Robert Blaha successfully argued his way back onto the U.S. Senate primary ballot, then found out, he may not have made the ballot.
Blaha, a Colorado Springs businessman, and former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier both sued the Secretary of State after he determined that both candidates failed to collect enough valid signatures to petition their way onto the U.S. Senate primary ballot.
The judge's ruling on Wednesday night, allowed some of the previously invalidated signatures to count for both candidates, but not all the signatures were allowed.
Initially, the Secretary of State announced that the ruling gave Blaha enough signatures to qualify, but after about 40 minutes, revised the math and said the signatures were still being recounted.
Frazier did not get all of his signatures validated, but the Secretary of State was still doing the math to determine if the ones that were allowed would give him enough to be on the ballot.
It appeared that the campaign does not believe it has enough signatures because it released this statement:
"We're appealing this afternoon's decision. We've already brought more than 200 Coloradan's signatures back into the fold that the Secretary of State's office originally didn't recognize, and there are more than enough signatures that we believe are in fact substantially compliant that would put us over the threshold to be on the ballot. Frankly, we believe they made administrative interpretations that could be unconstitutional and disenfranchising to the democratic process. We believe that our appeal will rectify these problems and the voices of more than 18K Coloradans will be heard."
Former State Rep. Jon Keyser successfully argued in court last week to get on the ballot after the Secretary of State's determined he did not have enough valid signatures.
Darryl Glenn and Jack Graham are also on the June 28 primary ballot. Glenn made the ballot at the State Republican Convention in April, and Graham was certified with no issues with his petition signatures.
After initially believing he successfully fought his way onto the ballot, Blaha blasted an email that called for the resignation of Secretary of State Wayne Williams.
"Wayne Williams threw three people off the ballot for trivial meaningless reasons disregarding Colorado voters intent. He can’t be entrusted with Colorado elections. If you're incompetent, there should be a price," he wrote. "There should be a full investigation into the validation process, outsourcing of decisions, and those involved. Mr. Williams was wrong on all fronts regarding ballot access."
Williams responded with a punch of his own.
“Mr. Blaha seeks to blame others for his own campaign’s incompetence. He needs to read the entire ruling from the judge, not just the conclusion. She wrote 'the (Secretary of State) appropriately reviewed the petitions submitted by Mr. Blaha, followed the applicable guidelines and then timely notified Mr. Blaha of the number of valid signatures and that the petition appeared insufficient.' She also wrote, 'In contesting the 'Statement of Insufficiency' from the (Secretary of State), Mr. Blaha makes no claim, and indeed there was no evidence presented, that the (Secretary of State) failed to follow the Election Rules in any way.'”
Blaha had signatures invalidated because the addresses for some of the signature collectors did not match the voter registration address on file with the Secretary of State. Other signatures were thrown out because the notary failed to stamp some of the pages.
Frazier had signatures invalidated for the same reasons, along with having multiple signatures that appeared on petitions for other candidates. If a voter signs multiple petitions, the signature only counts for the candidate who turns in their petitions first. Frazier was the last of four candidates to turn in their petitions. He argued in court that the signatures should count regardless of how many petitions that voter signed. The judge determined that the Secretary of State was correct in throwing out duplicate signatures.