BY FREDA MIKLIN
Democratic hopeful for state attorney general is an accomplished lawyer.
Last week, Villager publisher Bob Sweeney shared his opinion that, “this petition process needs to be examined and either eliminated or cleaned up.” At least one candidate for statewide office seems to agree.
Brad Levin would like to be Colorado’s next attorney general, replacing Cynthia Coffman, who is not running for re-election. Levin has been listed in, “The Best Lawyers in America,” in the areas of appellate law, insurance law, litigation-insurance and personal injury litigation. He received the lifetime achievement award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association in 2015. He serves on two committees of the state Supreme Court and chaired the state commission on judicial performance between 2012 and 2015. Now a Denver resident, he and his wife Patti Robinson raised their three children in Cherry Hills Village. His mother Renae, a retired English teacher, lives in Greenwood Village.
Levin is seeking a spot on the Democratic primary ballot, which already has two confirmed contenders. Phil Weiser, former dean of the CU law school, and state Rep. Joe Salazar successfully went through the state assembly April 14. The Republican candidate for attorney general is George Brauchler, district attorney for the 18th judicial district, who was unopposed for the nomination.
On April 24, Secretary of State Wayne Williams issued a “Statement of Insufficiency” to Levin, having concluded that Levin did not submit the required 1,500 valid signatures on petitions supporting his candidacy from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, thus barring him from the June 26 Democratic primary.
Before the day was out, Levin and his attorneys filed three separate claims against Williams’ office in Denver District Court.
He asserted that unaffiliated voters, newly permitted to vote in party primaries, should not be excluded from circulating or signing primary petitions on behalf of candidates for whom they are entitled to vote.
Levin challenged the constitutionality of the requirement that statewide candidates obtain 1,500 signatures from members of their party only, in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, as is required under state statutes, on the basis that the significant disparity in the number of voters registered with each party in different congressional districts results in dilution of votes.
He also claimed that the secretary of state rejected valid signatures on his petitions. Levin provided examples of signatures that were rejected, which he claims are demonstrably valid or easy to verify as being valid.
Secretary of state records of party registration by congressional district prove Levin’s contention of disparity in numbers. Democratic registration in congressional district one is more than double that of Republican. In congressional district five, the numbers are essentially the opposite, with nearly twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats. Whether the courts will determine that those statistics render the statute unconstitutional is an open question.
Lastly, Levin asserted that it is urgent that the court address these issues in time to allow his name to be placed on the June 26 primary ballot if the court finds that his arguments have merit.
Levin explained his position on his website, saying, “This lawsuit is consistent with the job of Attorney General, which is to ensure that all Coloradans’ rights are protected and that no person’s fundamental right to vote is diluted or denied,” Levin added. “It goes to the heart of the one-person-one-vote principle that is at the core of our constitutional values.”
Having ruled on all petitions he had received, Williams had slated April 27 as the date he would give county clerks ballot information for the June primary. On April 25, the Denver District Court instructed Williams to defer that action until after Levin’s claims are taken up May 2.
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