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Lawsuit: Boebert challenger doesn't have the signatures to make the ballot

The lawsuit claims the secretary of state's office counted signatures that should have been disqualified.

DENVER — Four voters in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District are suing to keep GOP State Senator Don Coram, the only Republican currently facing Congresswoman Lauren Boebert in the upcoming primary, off the ballot.

Coram made the ballot through signature gathering. A lawsuit filed Monday claims Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) accepted petition signatures she should not have, allowing Coram to qualify for the primary challenge.

According to the lawsuit, petitioners David Laird, Dale Ruggles, Mandy Roberts and Byron Roberts reviewed the signatures submitted by the Coram campaign to the secretary of state's office. They assert Griswold accepted 390 invalid signatures, alleging some of them came from people who did not register as Republicans before the deadline, and hundreds of others did not include a proper address.

The lawsuit also said multiple entries appeared to have the same handwriting, leading petitioners to infer someone filled out the the information on behalf of others without a required statement of assistance.

Coram needed 1,500 valid signatures to make the primary ballot. He submitted a total of 1,568 signatures.

The lawsuit could bump Coram from the ballot if the judge agrees that petition circulators wrote their incorrect address where they are supposed to write their premanent residence address. If the judge disqualifies the petition circulator, then the signatures they collected would be removed from the total.

"He needed 1,500 signatures to get on the ballot. The Secretary of State said that he got 1,568, so if the challengers can prove that 69 of the signatures are invalid for some reason, then he'd be thrown off the ballot," said constitutional law attorney Christopher Jackson.

Jackson reviewed the lawsuit and explained how it is different than a similar lawsuit in 2018.

Colorado's 5th Congressional District Rep. Doug Lamborn was nearly kept off the primary ballot in 2018.

Five voters in his district challenged that some of his signatures were collected by a circulator who was not from Colorado, which was required at the time.

A Denver District judge tossed some signatures, but not enough to knock Lamborn off the ballot. The decision was appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, which determined that the signatures collected by circulators from outside of Colorado should not have counted.

Lamborn appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and a federal judge deemed it unconstitutional to require a circulator to be from Colorado.

He was put back on the ballot and won his primary.

"In the Lamborn case, the federal court said that petition circulators, they don't have to be residents of Colorado, and they don't have to be registered as Republicans or Democrats in Colorado," said Jackson. "No federal court has addressed if a circulator just gives the wrong address, are those petitions invalid?"

After the Lamborn case, state lawmakers changed state law to allow circulators to be from anywhere in the U.S.

In the case challenging Coram's signatures, former Colorado Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Taheri and former District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District, George Brauchler, are listed as attorneys representing the petitioners.

Taheri works for Maven Law Group. Separate from this lawsuit, Federal Election Commission records show that "Lauren Boebert for Congress" paid Maven Law Group more than $73,000 for legal fees between February and December 2021.

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