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High turnout on first day of early voting in Morse recall

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — More than 3,200 people cast votes Thursday in the historic recall election of Senate President John Morse.

Morse, a Democrat elected to a second term in 2010, is back on the ballot because a number of constituents were angered by his support of stricter the gun control laws that passed earlier this year.

“I think it’s very important that we as patriots stand up for the rights that we have, that our forefathers gave to us, and that’s what today is all about,” said Robert Marvin, who voted ‘yes’ on the recall Thursday at one of the county’s four early voting centers.

When the polls opened at 8 a.m., more than a hundred people were already standing in a line that snaked out of the building and around the corner.

Most of them, whichever way they’re voting, are there to send a message that will reverberate far beyond the boundaries of Senate District 11.

“When they signed these bills into law, I saw all those people standing behind the lawmakers from out of state,” said Don Bates, wearing an NRA baseball cap to the polls.

“Who the hell are they to come into Colorado and tell us how to run our elections?”

Several of the voters showing up at the polls Thursday take issue with the recall proponents’ claim that Morse “didn’t listen” to his constituents.

“I’m a constituent and he listened to me,” said Eileen Harper, who believes that recalls shouldn’t be used to threaten lawmakers based on controversial votes.

“It’s something that should be considered in the next election, not in a recall,” she said.

Proponents of gun control measures seemed to understand that the potential success of the recall will make it even harder for lawmakers in Washington, DC and other states to find the political courage to push ahead on the issue.

“Sen. Morse is a nice guy,” said Katherine Ross. “I like all his votes, the gun control votes. I hope it goes through nationally.”

However they voted, most of Morse’s constituents Thursday agreed that the voting process was easier than they’d expected, especially considering that the county clerk’s office only set the final ballot on Wednesday.

“Our staff has worked extremely hard to try to make this a good experience for the voters,” said Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. “And, thus far, it’s been a very good turnout.

“We’re actually planning for an election where there are more votes cast in this election, the recall election, than there were in the original election in 2010.”

Voters have until 7 p.m. Tuesday night to cast a ballot.