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Eagle County Dems: Avon’s ‘Recall Mania’ is an Attack on voting rights

July 10, 2021, 10:20 am

“Recall Mania,” which seems to be the only way both local and statewide Republicans hope to remain relevant in increasingly blue Colorado — and a last-ditch technique traditionally reserved for actual malfeasance or criminal activity in office (not just policy disagreements) — is continuing to rage in Eagle County, specifically the town of Avon. The Eagle County Democrats sent out this email blast on the topic on Friday:

Voting rights, freedom of speech, and equal protections will be in jeopardy on July 13th if the Avon Town Council votes to reverse their decision to appeal Eagle County District Court’s recent ruling that enough signatures have been collected to trigger a recall election for two elected officials: Avon’s mayor and a town councilor. If Avon’s recall election proceeds without challenge it could have far-reaching effects on voting rights throughout the state.

We encourage everyone in the Avon community and beyond to stand up against this blatant act of voter suppression by taking the following actions:

  • Attend the Avon Town Council meeting on the evening of Tuesday July 13th at 5:00 p.m. and speak against the recall
    • In-person at Avon Town Hall (100 Mikaela Way, Avon); or 
    • Via Zoom – you must register to attend virtually before the meeting start of time using the top banner at avon.org (the banner will not be there until Tuesday afternoon)
  • Email Avon Town Council members at council@avon.org with a statement prior to the meeting.
  • Sign our Petition, which we will deliver to Avon Town Council members

The Colorado Constitution and the Colorado Supreme Court state that a recall election should not be held until at least 25% of the electorate in the last election signs a recall petition. In the 2018 Avon Election, a non-partisan race, 1,984 electors voted. There were four open Avon Town Council seats on the ballot, so each voter could vote for up to four candidates. These 1,984 voters cast 5,276 votes for their preferred candidates and decided not to use a total of 2,660 of their potential votes (“undervotes”).

  • The Town uses the total of all the potential votes that could have been cast by the 1,984 Avon voters, to determine that 496 signatures are needed on the recall petition (5,276+2,660 = 7,936/4 x .25 = 496) OR (25% x 1,984 voters = 496)
  • The Recall Committee and Judge Granger use only the 5,276 votes cast for specific candidates to determine that only 330 signatures are needed on the recall petition (5,276/4 x .25 = 330), which is only 17% of the electorate

Based on the Recall Committee and Judge Granger’s calculations, if those 1,984 voters had each voted for only one candidate, then there would only be 1,984 “votes cast” resulting in only 124 signatures needed on a recall petition (1,984/4 x .25) – which would only be 6% of the 2018 electorate! This violates the Colorado Constitution, Colorado case law, and Colorado statutes. Very importantly, the Recall Committee’s and Judge Granger’s calculation treats people who voted for only one candidate as 1/4th of a person….violating equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution and contrary to our freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment!

On Thursday, June 24th, the Avon Town Council voted 3-2 to appeal Judge Granger’s ruling to a higher court. Councilor Chico Thuon, who voted in favor of appealing the decision, has since had a change in heart and plans to ask for a re-vote so he can change his vote to NO and thus withdraw the Town’s current plan to appeal.

  • The right of recall is a fundamental right of Coloradans, so it must be protected and preserved to serve its intended purpose, not subvert the legitimate outcome of general elections.
  • Through baseless recalls, duly elected public servants are harassed and distracted from the work they were elected to do on behalf of their constituents.
  • Taxpayer dollars are wasted on legal fees and staff time. Important work is sidelined.

Judge Granger’s decision is wrong and fails to treat all Avon voters equally. Allowing Judge Granger’s flawed and incomplete decision to stand would be a costly mistake that will haunt Avon and all other municipalities in Colorado for years to come and align us with voter suppression states like Georgia, Texas, and Arizona. Withdrawing the appeal of the judge’s decision plays into the hands of people who want to disenfranchise Avon voters and overturn elections. 

  • It will make recalls even easier and more frequent;
  • Avon and other communities will waste time and money on recalls and special elections; and
  • Far fewer qualified people will be willing to run and serve their communities at all levels of government in Colorado. 

We hope you will stand up for voters’ rights by attending the Avon Town Council meeting on Tuesday July 13th at 5:00 p.m. and speaking out against the recall and for proceeding with the appeal.

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