Order to remove student newspaper copies reversed

AP News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2014 7:55 PM

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado county clerk has reversed her order that a university remove copies of its student newspaper from boxes outside its student union Tuesday because the front page had coverage of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall's visit to campus.

Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers, a Republican, said the front-page photo and story about Udall's Monday visit to Colorado State University was improper electioneering and should not be allowed near a polling place. The student center contains a drop-off box for ballots.

Myers later announced that the statute on which she based her decision is unclear and that she will allow newspapers traditionally available within 100 feet of polling places to continue to be distributed for the remainder of the campaign.

Myers said she was consulting with the secretary of state's office about the statute's intent. The statute bans candidate photos and other electioneering material near polling places.

"This was done with the best of intentions. I don't care what side of the issues you are on or your political persuasion," Myers said of her removal order. "I would love some clarity on this statute, quite honestly."

An attorney for The Rocky Mountain Collegian earlier Tuesday sent Myers a cease-and-desist letter, arguing news coverage is not electioneering.

"It doesn't make sense to me. It's a newspaper doing its job, not a pamphlet saying, 'Go vote for someone,'" said Kate Winkle, the Collegian's executive editor.

Winkle said Colorado State employees helped move newspapers to other boxes farther from the student center and no papers were lost.

Udall is in a tight battle against Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Republicans need to net six seats to take over the chamber.