Election 2018News

AG candidate Brad Levin has a shot in court to get on the primary ballot

Author: Joey Bunch - April 26, 2018 - Updated: May 10, 2018

Brad LevinBrad Levin (Photo courtesy of the campaign via Facebook)

Denver lawyer Brad Levin won the right to a court hearing next Wednesday on whether the Secretary of State’s Office should reconsider some of the signatures he needs to get on the June primary ballot.

Levin turned in 1,500 petition signatures in each of the state’s seven districts, but came up short in five districts, the Secretary of State’s Office said. Levin argues that signatures that should have been allowed were disqualified.

He needed to collect 10,500 signatures, and turned in 15,996, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The office accepted 8,979 as valid and rejected 7,017 signatures.

Some signatures were rejected because they were unaffiliated voters and others were collected by unaffiliated voters. State law says only members of a party can sign or collect petitions for that party’s  primary.

Levin said that even though unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in primaries, they still are not allowed to circulate or sign petitions to help determine who’s on the ballot.

On April 10 Levin filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court claiming the petition process was unconstitutional in at least two ways: requiring an equal number of petitions from all seven congressional districts, even though there are different numbers of registered Democrats in each district, and disallowing unaffiliated voters to participate on petitions, even though the state constitution now allows them to vote in primaries.

Denver District Court Judge Jay Grant on delayed Colorado ballot certification Wednesday, though the Secretary of State’s Office was due to notify county clerks about the ballots Friday to prepare for the June 26 primary.

Levin has immediate precedent to hope for good judicial outcome. District Court Judge Ross Buchanan on Wednesday blessed 40 disqualified signatures that allowed candidate Doug Robinson to get on the Republican gubernatorial primary ballot.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, also is trying to get on the ballot via the courts. His signatures were disqualified on Monday after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled he used an impermissible solicitor, who doesn’t live in the state, to collect signatures.

He filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday to get on the GOP primary against state Sen. Owen Hill, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former Green Mountain Falls Mayor Tyler Stevens.

If Levin makes the Democratic primary ballot, he would face former University of Colorado law school dean Phil Weiser and state Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton, both of whom got on the ballot by going through the state assembly this month.

This week Amy Padden dropped out of the raise and endorsed Weiser.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.