Beeson just shy of petition mark
Post Independent Staff
Martin Beeson has fallen a mere 19 valid signatures short of the 1,000 he needs to get on the Dec. 13 district attorney recall ballot.
However, Beeson and recall proponents are optimistic he can get over the 1,000 mark during a five-day protest period that follows Friday’s finding by the Secretary of State’s Office. Beeson said he believes he can get 27 signatures validated simply by rectifying a petition-related problem.
“I’m feeling hopeful. The indication is that there are enough there to fix that we can get us over the thousand,” he said.
The state found 981 of the 1,243 signatures submitted by Beeson to be valid. He plans to protest the state’s finding before its deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“We’ve worked so hard and we’ve come so far and we’re so close, we’re not going to just lay down and say we’re going to accept the 981 count,” he said.
Beeson, a Republican, needs 1,000 signatures from registered Republicans in the 9th Judicial District, composed of Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties, to make the Dec. 13 ballot. Voters will decide whether to recall DA Colleen Truden, and who should replace her if she’s recalled.
Dana Williams, a Secretary of State spokesperson, said signatures can be declared invalid for a number of reasons. They may not be from registered Republicans in the 9th District, may not be registered voters at all, or may have provided the wrong address.
“Lots of times people write so illegibly that we can’t even make out who the name was or what the address was,” she said.
In some cases whole batches of petitions can be considered invalid if the affidavit and notary section at the bottom isn’t filled out correctly, she said.
Beeson said the Secretary of State’s Office indicated to him that 27 invalidated signatures could be “easily rehabilitated.” He said that apparently one or more petition circulators left their hometowns off the bottom of pages, and he only needs to get notarized signatures saying where they live to get the signatures accepted.
He said he plans to look at the remaining invalidated signatures as well.
Williams said Beeson is welcome to come in, review the signatures and check databases to make sure the state didn’t make mistakes.
She added that “981 is so close to a 1,000 that I can understand how he would be wanting to come in and have an extra set of eyes look at it.”
She said the Secretary of State’s Office was thorough in its review, but added, “It’s not to say we may not have made a mistake.”
If Beeson still falls short after the protest, he will be a write-in candidate. Both he and fellow Republican Chip McCrory met a Nov. 1 filing deadline for write-in candidates.
For Beeson, the move was a fallback plan in case he didn’t make the ballot. For McCrory, it was the only option after he wasn’t able to come up with 1,000 signatures to turn in to the state in hopes of getting on the ballot.
Glenwood Springs attorney Sherry Caloia hopes Beeson makes it on the ballot. Caloia and Beeson worked together on the petition drive to force the recall election.
“One of the problems with the DA’s race in 2004 was that there was a lack of candidates. Because it’s a partisan race you had to have either an Independent or Democrat step forward and all we had was a Republican, and so we didn’t have a race,” she said.
Truden only had to win the Republican primary, and ran uncontested in the general election.
Caloia is afraid that if no one is on the recall ballot, voters will assume no one else wants the job and be less inclined to vote to recall Truden.
She’s confident that Beeson will end up on the ballot and become the next DA.
“I think he’s qualified, he’s honest, he has integrity, and I think that we’ll be successful,” she said.
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