Christy Le Lait says her campaign has examined about 500 of the 10,137 validated signatures to recall Morse. (Secretary of State Scott Gessler already threw out 6,061 signatures found to be invalid).
If the campaign's claims are true, that means 10 percent of examined petition signatures were forged. Le Lait says the forgeries — confirmed by contacting the supposed "signer" — were found in multiple petitions, meaning more than one gatherer may have engaged in the illegal practice.
In addition, Le Lait says around 200 signers have retracted their signatures, saying they weren't aware the petition was for a recall election.
Despite the revelations, Le Lait says her campaign would need to prove that about 3,000 signatures were forged or have been retracted in order to prevent a recall election. Though volunteers are reviewing the remaining petitions, the work is labor-intensive and it will likely be difficult for the campaign to meet that goal by the Wednesday deadline.
The Morse campaign is also challenging the petition because it says the wording does not meet the state Constitution's requirements.
(The Independent has contacted the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, which spearheaded the recall, about the forgery allegations. We'll update this blog if and when a representative responds.)
A Lot of People for John Morse today revealed that the group behind the petition to recall Senate President John Morse, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, has forged numerous signatures on their petitions, calling into question the legitimacy of their operation and the validity of the rest of their signatures.
Statement from Christy LeLait, Campaign Manager, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse
Rick Alberston — doesn’t live in Colorado, has not been here in over a year.
Mary — who is 91 years old, clealy remembers the circulator coming to her yard and then telling him to leave her property — her name has been added.
Mary Beth — the circulator came to her home 3 times. Her husband signed. She and her son did not, but their names are on the petition.
Alan — Didn’t sign, his name is even spelled wrong.
Karen — “I did not sign this petition. I am a gun owner and I support Sen. Morse. I am appalled by my signature being forged.”
But, to me, the saddest one of all, is the gentleman whose door we knocked on last week. He couldn’t understand why we would think that his wife’s signature was on the petition because she passed away 2 years ago.
As of right now, we have identified 50 forgeries but over multiple packets. Hundreds are implicated now and we are inching our way into the thousands.
Again and again the recall effort has come under fire for using illegal and fraudulent practices to obtain signatures. Now, recall circulators have been caught forging the names of Colorado Springs residents on recall petitions.
Several of these circulators, many of whom were paid workers from out-of-state, were found to have criminal backgrounds. Others have been accused of similar fraudulent activities in other states. Their efforts in Colorado Springs were so bad that over 6,000 of their signatures have already been tossed out as invalid.
This is fraud. This is identity theft. The people and groups responsible for bringing this type of fraud and deception into our neighborhoods should be held accountable.
It’s time to put an end to the deceit. Voters of CS deserve a full investigation before anyone demands an election. Imaginary signatures does not a recall make.