UPDATE: Here is correspondence from the Assistant Solicitor General offering a less thorny path to cure 39 signatures (as compared to the possibility of suing to get 33 duplicates from Stapleton’s signatures). Also, remember, at this point, on April 23, Stapleton had already gone through the Assembly on April 14 and made the ballot. There’s no “there” there.

This is just pathetic. A liberal blog in Colorado is claiming “breaking news” that Secretary of State Wayne Williams colluded with State Treasurer Walker Stapleton to help Stapleton stay on the ballot once it was discovered that the signatures a vendor gathered to get him on the ballot may have been fraudulently collected. There’s just one problem with this whole conspiracy theory – it’s not true. None of it.

Here is the real story, straight from the Secretary of State’s office.

In a recent radio interview, Doug Robinson claimed that Williams’ office told him that if he didn’t sue, he could go to court and cure his invalidated signatures. The liberal blog portrayed it as a quid pro quo situation. It was not.

The Robinson campaign wanted the SOS office to invalidate all of Stapleton’s signatures after Stapleton pulled his signatures due to potential shenanigans by the signature gatherers, but Stapleton’s signatures already had been certified. See, if the SOS office invalidated Stapleton’s signatures, then those that the SOS invalidated on Robinson’s list due to duplication could be counted and Robinson would no longer be short signatures.

The SOS communicated to the Robinson campaign that they could not invalidate the Stapleton signatures because they had already been certified.

The Robinson campaigned considered suing to have Stapleton’s signatures invalidated, but the SOS office offered an easier option – just cure the signatures with deficiencies.

According to Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office:

“We worked with his campaign to point out those signatures, such as ones with Post Office boxes that we could not legally accept but that we knew were legitimate voters and the judge could accept. It’s how we work with campaigns. And that’s why it only took 10 minutes in the courtroom.

“The idea that Williams made a deal with Robinson or that the secretary was involved in a ‘very big scandal’ is ridiculous.”

Remember, the Secretary of State’s office is not here to disenfranchise people who legitimately thought they were signing to help get a candidate on the ballot. Their job is to ensure the process is fair. Working with candidates to find the shortest route to the ballot seems about as fair as it gets.

We’re calling this Fake News. We’re sure that Jason Salzman, a frequent contributor to this liberal blog, will admonish the blog for this egregious stretching and twisting of the truth.