Group says recall of Gov. Polis will be “daunting”

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The group “Dismiss Polis” will have to collect 631,266 signatures by September 6 in order for their recall effort to get on the November ballot.

As their name suggests, the group wants to initiate a recall vote of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. With a 60-day window, that means about 10,500 signatures each day.

“It is a daunting task, but there have been many daunting tasks over the years, and yet people have proven that it’s possible to do,” said Karen Kataline, the spokesperson for Dismiss Polis.

In their statement of grounds for recall, the group cites four bills as the basis to kick the governor out of office:

  • SB19-042 — pledging Colorado’s electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote in a presidential election.
  • HB19-1032 — expanding comprehensive sex education in schools to include consent.
  • SB19-181 — requiring state regulators to prioritize health and safety when approving oil and gas operations.
  • HB19-1177 — creating extreme risk protection orders where family or someone living with a person can ask a judge to take that person’s guns away if they deem them a threat to themselves or others.

For SB19-042 and HB19-1032, proponents of the recall say Polis did not campaign on those issues, and therefore voters didn’t know he would make those changes.

On oil and gas regulations, they argue that Coloradans voted down Proposition 112, which would have greatly expanded the distance oil and gas operations must be from waterways, schools and other buildings, in the 2018 election. So, they say, Polis went against the will of the people.

Polis did campaign on additional gun regulations, but Dismiss Polis said HB19-1032 violates people’s Second Amendment rights to bear arms.

“The Governor is focused on governing for all of Colorado and ensuring that every Coloradan — no matter their zip code or political affiliation — has the opportunity to succeed,” Conor Cahill, the spokesperson for Polis, said in a statement. “During his first six months in office, the Governor has created bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of health care, ensure every kid can go to free full-day kindergarten this fall, and cut taxes for small businesses.”

The Colorado Sun reports 96% of the bills passed in the last session had bipartisan support. However, the four Dismiss Polis mentions were largely voted down party lines.

Monday marked the governor’s sixth month in office, thus legally allowing groups to collect recall signatures.

As required by state statute, the amount of signatures is 25% of all votes cast in the 2018 election. It is more than five times more than the 124,632 needed for ballot initiatives.

Kataline said even though Democrats held majorities in both the state House and state Senate, because the governor signs the bills, he should be held accountable.

“There are a lot of people that are tremendously up in arms about what happened in this last legislative session,” Kataline said. “This affords them a perfectly legal opportunity to make their voices heard and make Governor Polis answer for some of these votes.”

If the recall goes through, a candidate will need to be selected to stand in an election against the governor.

“The Governor will continue to reach across the aisle and hopes that by tackling key issues for Coloradans, we will continue to bring people together and focus on what unites us,” Cahill said.

The recall effort will require an unprecedented collection of signatures, as a recall of a statewide office has not been attempted in recent years.

The group said they hope to collect 900,000 signatures.

Walker Stapleton, the Republican challenger in 2018, gained 1,080,801 votes to Polis’ 1,348,888.

What’s more is the group says they are relying entirely on volunteers. They have the money to print off the petitions that can fit 1,000,000 signatures, but not to pay canvassers to go door-to-door or wait outside of grocery stores in order to collect them.

“Many, many people are volunteering that have come out of the woodwork and, frankly, have been chomping at the bit to get signatures of their family and friends,” Kataline said.

The group has organized kickoff events for their gathering efforts. On Saturday, they will be canvassing near Specialty Sports at 4285 E. Fountain in Colorado Springs from 12 to 9 p.m.

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