DENVER - Organizers of the effort to recall Colorado State Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) turned in more than double the number of signatures required to force a special election Monday.
The recall effort began in response to Morse's leadership role when Colorado Democrats pushed for new gun-control laws earlier in 2013.
Supporters say they gathered more than 16,000 signatures, which must now be verified by the secretary of state's office. If at least 7,200 of them are valid signatures from registered voters in Morse's district, a recall election may take place later in 2013.
"With that much of a cushion, having half of them get tossed out, I've never seen that many be invalid," political strategist Laura Carno said. "We feel very comfortable."
Morse has several options available to challenge the signatures, including court action. Deadlines for the various challenges are spelled out in state law.
"Thousands of those signatures were obtained inappropriately," Morse said. "Now, will we be able to prove that? We'll have 15 days to figure that out. That's going to be tricky."
In the end, if there are enough valid signatures there will be two options for Morse: recall election or resignation.
If Morse were to resign, Democrats would simply appoint a member of their party to fill the vacancy. That Senator would then fill out Morse's term, which would mean sitting for 2014's legislative session.
If a recall election takes place, the governor will call a special election in the district.
Voters will first be asked whether to recall Morse, and in a separate question, who should replace him if he is recalled.
Candidates wishing to appear on the ballot must obtain signatures to appear.
Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call says the party will help locate a candidate and support their effort to obtain enough signatures.
Morse recently told 9NEWS he has no plans to resign, but he stopped short of ruling it out.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)