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Pro Challenge returns, Libertarians back in court, more


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Editor's note re: "Libertarians sue again": Denver District Judge Michael Martinez rejected the Libertarian Party of Colorado's lawsuit late on the night before the election. He explained that the plaintiffs did not adequately prove that anyone was being denied their right to vote and said that county clerks had done an admirable job of juggling laws to ensure all eligible voters were given a chance to cast ballots.

Pro Challenge back in '14

Colorado Springs and Woodland Park will be on the route of the USA Pro Challenge in 2014, which is billed as America's answer to the Tour de France.

The Springs hosted the race in its inaugural year, 2011, and again in 2012, but was left off the route in 2013. Hosting the race is a big deal not just for prestige, but for economic impact: In 2012, race officials estimated the state saw an extra $100 million due to the event.

One reason the Springs may have been chosen this year is that floods have disrupted potential routes elsewhere. According to an article posted by the Coloradoan, "Fort Collins and Larimer County will not be a part of the route due to road damage sustained from September's flooding." — JAS

Libertarians sue again

The Libertarian Party of Colorado has filed a second lawsuit in Denver District Court challenging parts of Colorado's Voter Access and Modernized Election Act, also known as House Bill 1303.

During the recall election of state Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron earlier this year, Libertarians filed a successful challenge to the law, arguing that it conflicted with the state constitution, and that candidates should be allowed more time to petition onto the ballot. Their win effectively ruled out mail ballots for most voters, causing confusion.

This time around, the Libertarians, along with two Republican co-plaintiffs, are arguing that certain races in the November election should be voted on again if "improper ballots" cast wind up greater than a margin of victory. The reason: They claim that uneven rules about when a voter can qualify to vote in a new precinct have unfairly, partially disenfranchised voters who move close to Election Day.

The main problem is that while the new state law allows same-day registration in a new district, other laws ban voters from casting a ballot on certain issues until they've met residency requirements. For instance, non-property owners must reside in a special district for 30 days before they can vote on that district.

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office was named as a defendant in the suit, along with the Colorado Secretary of State and three other county clerk offices. In a press release, El Paso Clerk Wayne Williams, a longtime critic of 1303, seemed to agree with the lawsuit, stating that about 700 voters in the county could be affected by the varying residency requirements. But he said his office had tried to give voters the maximum opportunity to participate.

"I urge the legislature to address the numerous issues with the law when they reconvene," Williams stated. — JAS

Changes at El Pomar

El Pomar Foundation COO Dave Palenchar retired effective Nov. 1 from his post, the foundation announced in a news release Monday. Palenchar, with the area's preeminent grantmaking organization for 23 years, was paid roughly $213,700 in 2011, according to the foundation's tax filing, third-highest behind CEO Bill Hybl's $497,900 and chief investment officer R. Thayer Tutt Jr.'s $329,600. He will remain as an El Pomar trustee, as chairman of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp., and as president of the Colorado Springs World Arena, Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, and Air Force Academy Foundation, among other organizations.

University of Colorado Regent Kyle Hybl, Bill Hybl's son who joined El Pomar in 2000, will continue general counsel duties while picking up Palenchar's old job. Hybl also serves as chairman for the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs and general counsel for the Broadmoor Hotel. — PZ

Contractors picked for creek

Four projects to improve Douglas Creek ("Fighting the tide,"; News, Sept. 25) will cost taxpayers less than city engineers originally estimated — $3,802,645 instead of the city's estimate of $3,986,353.

The projects will fix damage from flooding in the wake of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire. The channels extend eight miles in dual forks, flowing from the city's northwest side to Monument Creek.

Projects 1 and 2 have been awarded to Aztec General Contractors of Colorado Springs, for $556,194 and $1,875,849, respectively. Aztek was the only bidder, project manager Aaron Egbert says through a spokeswoman.

Notices of award are pending for Projects 3 and 4 to the apparent low bidders: CMS, Inc., of Colorado Springs for $995,546, and DRX Enterprises of Pueblo West, for $375,056, respectively. All projects are expected to be completed next spring. — PZ

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