June 09, 2006

HoltzmanWatch (6/9): Grasping At Straws

**Updated below

Holtzman begs to be on ballot:
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mark Holtzman asked Denver District Court on Thursday to immediately place his name on the primary ballot - even though it's still unclear if he has enough valid signatures.
**Holtzman made it onto the August ballot, even though he may not be a valid candidate:
A Denver District Court Judge Friday ordered the secretary of state to put GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman's name on the August primary ballot.

However, Holtzman might not be a valid candidate.

Judge Michael Mullins says the courts will later have to determine whether Holtzman had enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.

The decision does not re-instate Holtzman's candidacy, but gives him time to argue about the validity of the signatures. Mullins left that up to another judge.
Judge Michael Mullins said the courts can sort out the other issues later and determine whether Holtzman had enough valid ballot signatures to get on the ballot.

Mullins said that Holtzman would suffer irreparable harm if he were kept off the ballot now and it was later determined that those votes should be counted. He said if courts rule that Holtzman did not get enough signatures, votes cast in his favor would not be counted.

"This is a victory for good government, open access, and all the people of Colorado," Holtzman said. "I want to personally thank everyone who has extended words of encouragement and support during this process."

Secretary of State Gigi Dennis disqualified Holtzman last week, saying he did not collect enough signatures to petition his way onto the ballot after his party chose Rep. Bob Beauprez as its only candidate to replace term-limited Gov. Bill Owens.

"What's at risk here is basically if Mr. Holtzman is successful on his challenge to the certification of insufficiency, then he doesn't have a remedy if he is not allowed on the ballot, in effect denying his access to the ballot," Mullins said in issuing his ruling.
Mullins said he would give opponents time to appeal his ruling to the state Supreme Court. Attorneys for the Republican Party at first thought they would seek an injunction so they can appeal the judge's ruling, but have decided not to go that route.

Mullins said that a Supreme Court judge would have to hear legal objections over whether petitions should be disqualified because the petition gatherers did not meet qualifications, and also hear evidence that Holtzman had enough valid signatures. Mullins said that would take too much time and possibly cause the state to fail to meet federal voting requirements for absentee ballots and voters living overseas, which must be sent out in the next few weeks.

Assistant Deputy Attorney General Maurice Knaizer, representing Dennis, said a failure to put Holtzman's name on the ballot could "lead to chaos" if a judge later determines he had enough signatures, possibly even delaying the Aug. 8 primary.

Holtzman filed the lawsuit after Dennis ruled that he did not have enough signatures to petition onto the ballot. The lawsuit, filed in Denver District Court, alleged that Dennis was "about to commit a breach or neglect of duty by using improper legal standards" by saying Holtzman did not have enough valid petition signatures to get on the ballot.


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