Secretary of State files response to Frazier’s Senate petition legal challenge

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    AURORA | Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams submitted a legal brief late Monday, May 16, to the Colorado Supreme Court, outlining his stance on former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier’s claim that he qualified for the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate election this November.

    In his brief, Williams does not technically champion the acceptance or denial of any of Frazier’s nearly 100 disputed petition signatures. Instead, Williams reiterates points made in previous legal proceedings tied to why various petition signatures were previously rejected. Williams also claims that the court should reject Frazier’s claim that the state’s election laws violate his First Amendment rights, as the court lacks “subject matter jurisdiction,” according to the brief.

     The Secretary of State’s office initially deemed Frazier’s signatures insufficient in the 1st (52 signatures short), 2nd (six signatures), 3rd (306 signatures) and 6th congressional districts (44 signatures). Previous rulings regarding Frazier’s petitions cured the insufficiencies declared in CD1 , CD2 and CD6. Another 233 signatures in CD3 were deemed valid, leaving Frazier short 79 valid signatures in CD3 pending this appeal.

    Senate candidates were required to gather at least 1,500 valid signatures from registered voters affiliated with the candidate’s political party in each of the state’s seven congressional districts.

    In his appeal submitted to state Supreme Court May 9, Frazier claimed that the Secretary should accept exactly 100 additional signatures.

    The brief from Williams’ office Monday did admit that he should have accepted four signatures submitted by Frazier that were previously rejected. Accepting those would still leave Frazier about 75 signatures short of hitting the threshold for candidacy in CD3.

    Williams stood by his rejection of 45 signatures collected by a petition gatherer named James Day, citing the fact that Day was never technically a registered voter due to issues with his mailing address.

    Williams also reaffirmed his rejection of the other 51 signatures Frazier claimed the Secretary should have accepted. Williams stated that he could “tentatively link” the 51 signers to their voter registration in the statewide database, but small bits of missing information made the connections inconclusive, disqualifying those signatures.

    Williams also asserted that the Supreme Court should deny Frazier’s request for compensated attorney’s fees.

    All of this comes after a string of appeals and proceedings that have managed to keep Frazier’s chances of earning the Republican Party’s nomination alive. Frazier filed his original appeal May 9 to the state Supreme Court after a previous appeal to a Denver district court failed to secure his position among the candidates for the June 28 primary election. Williams had ruled that Frazier didn’t submit adequate signatures to appear on the statewide GOP ballot, and the Denver court agreed. But the judge in that case ordered Frazier’s name to appear on the ballot anyway, keeping his candidacy alive until the state’s high court ruled on signature deficiency questions. If Frazier loses this appeal, any votes for him will not count, according to a pact he signed onto.

    Frazier, who is represented in court by former Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Geoffrey Blue and Steven Klenda, must submit his brief on the signature dilemma to the Supreme Court by Thursday, May 19, according to Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels.

    El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn will have the top line of the primary ballot, followed by Frazier, Blaha, former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham, former state Rep. Jon Keyser, and a space for a write-in candidate, according to Bartels.

    — Staff Writer Chris Harrop contributed to this report.