June 20, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Election Statutes Contain Procedure for Challenging Unqualified Elected Official

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Carson v. Reiner on Monday, May 23, 2016.

Election Law—School District Director Elections—Candidate Unqualified but Certified to Ballot.

Carson and two other electors of Mesa County Valley School District 51 made application to the Supreme Court, pursuant to C.R.S. § 1-1-113(3), for review of the district court’s order denying their requested relief concerning a school board election. A week before the scheduled election, Carson filed a verified petition, pursuant to C.R.S. § 1-1-113(1), naming as respondents the county clerk and recorder and the school board’s designated election official, and seeking a declaration that one of the candidates for the school board was unqualified and had been wrongfully certified to the ballot. In addition, the petition sought an order forbidding the clerk and recorder from counting votes for that candidate. The district court denied the requested relief on the grounds that C.R.S. § 1-1-113(1) did not authorize it to adjudicate the eligibility of a candidate at that stage of the election process. The Court held that C.R.S. § 1-1-113(1) does not permit a challenge to an election official’s certification of a candidate to the ballot, solely on the basis of the certified candidate’s qualification, once the period permitted by C.R.S. § 1-4-501(3) for challenging the qualification of the candidate directly has expired. Therefore, the ruling of the district court was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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