- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

DENVER (AP) - Former state Sen. Jon Keyser’s name should be removed from Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate primary ballot because the secretary of state wrongfully certified that Keyser petitioned his way there, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

The suit filed on behalf of three voters claims Keyser’s campaign didn’t get enough valid voter signatures in the Denver-area 1st Congressional District to qualify.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office insisted it followed the law.

It’s the latest legal challenge involving Keyser and other candidates’ petition-driven efforts to get 1,500 signatures in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts to make the June 28 primary.

The challenges often have overshadowed each candidate’s efforts to show why he should take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November.

The Denver District Court lawsuit asserts Williams wrongly certified Keyser’s place on the ballot. Williams, at first, didn’t, ruling that Keyser didn’t get enough signatures. He reversed that finding after Keyser obtained a court order saying he’d “substantially” met qualification rules.

The suit says the campaign submitted unacceptable petitions because of forgeries and other failures to comply with the law, invalidating dozens of signatures that put Keyser above the threshold in the 1st District.

“We feel we have complied with the letter and the spirit of the law,” said Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert. The court’s ruling mandated that elections officials accept signatures for Keyser under a “substantial compliance” standard, Staiert said.

Even if lawsuit’s disputed signatures were to be rejected, Kaiser still could contest the dismissal of hundreds more signatures his campaign originally submitted, Staiert said.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys Mark Grueskin, Richard Kornfeld and Heather Hanneman couldn’t be reached by telephone Friday for comment.

Businessmen Robert Blaha of Colorado Springs and Ryan Frazier of Aurora made the ballot after similar legal challenges. Businessman Jack Graham of Fort Collins petitioned onto the ballot, and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn won a spot at the state GOP convention.

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