Stories about Colorado

Colorado sheriff recall approved for June ballot

A recall effort seeking to remove Lance FitzGerald from his position as Ouray County Sheriff in Colorado has been approved for the ballot. The recall election is being conducted by mail-in ballot. Voters will receive ballots by June 11, 2020, and must return them by 7 p.m. on June 30, 2020.

FitzGerald was targeted for recall after he was arrested on DUI allegations on November 27, 2019. The Ouray County Republican and Democratic parties created a recall committee together to lead the effort. The recall petition stated that county citizens did not have confidence that the sheriff could “uphold the duties and responsibilities of his elected position.” FitzGerald did not respond to the recall effort.

Recall supporters had 60 days to collect 768 signatures from eligible Ouray County voters. They submitted 1,082 petition signatures in March 2020. The county verified 914 of the signatures in April 2020, allowing the recall to move forward. FitzGerald had 15 days to file a protest against the recall petition. If he had, a hearing over the recall petition would have been held. Because he did not, the recall election was scheduled.

FitzGerald was sworn into office in January 2019. He ran as an unaffiliated candidate and defeated Republican Joel “BB” Burk by 11 votes in the 2018 election.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Colorado stay-at-home order to expire

Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that he would not extend the state’s stay-at-home order, which is set to expire on April 26. He said he still encouraged all residents to practice social distancing and vulnerable populations to exercise caution until the state was able to increase testing capacity and ability to investigate confirmed positive cases. Polis said that retail curbside delivery and elective surgeries could begin April 27 and his goal was to have bars, restaurants, and clubs open by mid-May.

Colorado is the second state to announce it will let a stay-at-home order expire after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) made his announcement on Monday. Georgia and South Carolina also announced plans to reopen their economies in phases on Monday.

Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting America’s political and civic life. Our coverage includes how federal, state, and local governments are responding, and the effects those responses are having on campaigns and elections.

Supreme Court of Georgia holds oral argument via video conferencing

On April 20, 2020, The Supreme Court of Georgia held oral arguments via video conferencing. It is the first time in the court’s 175 year history that arguments were held virtually.

Ballotpedia is tracking how state courts are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Other recent updates include:
  • Colorado – The Colorado Supreme Court extended its suspension of jury trials through June
  • Hawaii – The Hawaii Supreme Court issued an order extending its suspension of jury trials through May 29 or the expiration of the state of emergency. The order also authorizes local chief judges to resume jury trials earlier.