DENVER (CBS4) – Two prominent attorneys are calling for a closer review of a controversial ballot initiative after officials uncover possible fraud.
An investigation into forged signatures is already underway and two attorneys for two different former Colorado governors warn that may be the tip of the iceberg.
The chief legal counsel for former Gov. Bill Owens — a Republican — and former Gov. Bill Ritter — a Democrat — fired off a letter to the secretary of state saying voters deserve to know just how pervasive the fraud is.
The letter makes the case that the secretary of state should dig deeper into Amendment 70. The measure would raise the minimum wage to $12 and hour by the year 2020 and made the November ballot, even after election officials uncovered what they believe are forged signatures.
“How can it be that you have clear indicators of fraud when you look at just a small sample size of these signatures — just 5 percent of the signatures were reviewed — there is clearly forgery — how can it be that we put the other 95 percent of these signatures in a vault and just send it off to the ballot? That’s wrong,” attorney Jon Anderson said.
Anderson and attorney Trey Rogers are asking Secretary of State Wayne Williams to review every single signature to determine the scope of the forgery.
“We’ve already looked at every single line,” Williams said.
Williams says that’s how the state found the suspected forgery. They then reviewed a 5 percent random sample of signatures to determine the number of registered voters and project a validity rate from that. In this case, 75,000 signatures were invalidated.
“Even with (that) very high number of invalid signatures, the highest of any of the initiatives turned in, that they still met the threshold,” Williams said.
They met it by 16,000 signatures, and Williams says there has been no other allegations of additional fraud to warrant further review.
“Our nation doesn’t say, ‘Well because you did one bad thing we presume you did other bad things too,'” Williams said.
“What’s important is that you can’t say, ‘You conduct a 5 percent review and you just kind of ship it off and everybody’s hands are tied and we all kind of stay in our lanes,'” Anderson said. “Even if he wasn’t even able to block it from going forward, I feel like it’s critical for that review for the integrity of the election process.”
Williams says while officials could review every address associated with every signature, he says it would cost $100,000, and without any additional evidence of fraud it would be a fishing expedition.
Williams is working with lawmakers on a bill to require 100 percent signature and address verification in the future.