Saturday, December 31, 2011

Michigan: Attempt to recall Bloomfield School Board fails

The attempt to recall the entire Bloomfield School Board failed, as organizers acknowledged they would not get enough signatures.

Wisconsin: Rematch? Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett seriously considering recall rerun

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Scott Walker in 2010, is said to be seriously considering running in the recall. Here's an earlier post on the relative rarity of recall reruns

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wisconsin: Judge rules against recall proponents in signature checking case

The case was filed by Walker backers, and challenges the GAB's rule (discussed here) that puts some of the onus for challenging questionable signatures on Walker (and presumably any future target). The Judge hasn't made any decision in the case, but is simply not allowing the recall proponents from intervening as a party to the suit. barred the recall proponents from intervening. meaning the suit will go. There maybe some criticism, as the Judge is a former Republican state Senator, but the decision doesn't seem odd. More here

Nebraska: Omaha Mayor thriving after barely surviving recall vote in January

Jim Suttle is on the upswing. Some are crediting his surviving the recall with the upswing in his administration.

Nebraska: Dodge School Board set to be scheduled

The Dodge School Board has set the recall for either January 31 or February 7 (depending on the Election Commission). Dodge already kicked out three school board members.

California: NYT looks at Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's troubles

Nothing particularly new, but good overview of the mayor's difficulties in the face of the recall.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Michigan: Replacements for Paul Scott hold debate

Only two of the three candidates (Republican and Green Party), were there. All distanced themselves from Scott, who lost his State House of Representatives seat in November.

DC: Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner recall set for February 28

A recall against Douglas Smith, a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B04, is set for February 28. The proponents appear to be against the development of a Walmart.

DC: Mayor and two council members facing recall

DC Mayor and two council members are facing a recall threat starting next week. The recall requires 10% of total voters in 180 days. The Mayor, Vincent Gray, is being targeted due to his early "stumbles" in office, including personnel problems. The two council members, Chairman Kwame Brown and Harry Thomas, face federal probes.

Last year, the council passed a law (which hasn't been signed yet) removing the part of the recall banning recalls in the first and last (fourth) year of a term) if the official is found to have violated the City's code of conduct.



Texas: Signatures verified for New Braunfels City Council member, will face recall in May

Texas: Campaign started to recall Floresville Mayor and Council

Petitioners are organizing a "Recall Them All" campaign, targeting the town mayor and five council members.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Montana: Discussion on recalling US Senators

Don't think a court is going to okay it, but here's some discussion on recalling US Senators.

Michigan: Tekonsha Village recall on the ballot

A recall against Howard Riggs, a Tekonsha Village Council member is set for Feb. 28. Riggs is himself trying to recall the village president. The village president's girlfriend is the main proponent of the recall against Riggs.

Idaho: Petitioners launching second attempt to recall Education Superintendent

Petitioners in Idaho are launching a second, "better organized" campaign to recall State Department of Education Superintendent Tom Luna. 
The committee needs 160,000 signatures. Earlier this year, they collected 50,000. The article suggests that the state will accept printed out and mailed in petitions, which would seem to be a gigantic help for the petitioners.
The article also notes that the recall election would require more than a majority of votes to win. Luna received 268,852 votes – 60.5 percent of those cast -- and would need to beat that number for the recall to count.

The Year in Recalls -- 151 Recalls in 2011 (edited to add another recall)

Note: Since publication, I've found another recall -- the figures reflect the new recall total.

This year was a great year for recalls, and now we have some numbers to back it up. There were at least 151 recalls in 2011. Here's my Los Angeles Times article discussing the totals, and below are some more key facts from the recalls.

As a whole, the recalls were clearly very successful -- 85 officials bounced, with 76 officials voted out and nine officials resigning from office in the face of recalls. This figure is especially striking compared to the fact that the incumbent reelection rate in the US is at least over 75%. Some other interesting facts:
  • Recalls were held in 17 states, in 73 separate jurisdictions. 
  • The state with most was Michigan, with at least 31 recalls.
  • 30 mayors faced recalls.
  • 17 recalls were school boards.
  • 11 were state legislators (by far the record -- the previous high was 3 in one year)
  • 52 were city councilmembers.
  • One local prosecutor, York, Nebraska County Attorney, faced a recall.
  • 34 jurisdictions held recalls on multiple days.
  • Three jurisdictions adopted the recall
The recall hit cities large and small -- Miami-Dade was the largest municipality to ever hold a recall. Small cities with big names -- Cleveland (Texas), Houston (Alaska), Detroit (Oregon), Decatur (Nebraska) all used the recall this year.

The biggest day was November 8, with 26 recalls.

The reasons for recalls are all over the map. As regular readers of the blog know, I am very dismissive of the idea that the economic downturn is wholly to blame for the recall explosion. In fact, technology is playing a very large role in the expansion of the recall.

As for this Blog -- 700+ posts later, we're still going strong.

In the face of the "Bermuda Triangle" nature of the recall, with this continue? It certainly will, at least for next year. There are well over 100 recall petitioning campaigns out there, including a likely recall against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. And there have already been 22 recalls elections scheduled for 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Las Vegas: City Councilman Steve Ross won't challenge recall

Here

Massachusetts: Another attempted recall against Lawrence Mayor

Here

Wisconsin: Unions pushing against Milwaukee Mayor running in the recall

According to this article, the union is trying to clear the the field for ex-Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

Virgin Island: Petition started to recall Chairman of St. Croix Board of Elections and Virgin Island Joint Board of Elections


Rupert Ross Jr., the Chairman of both the Virgin Island Joint Board of Elections and St. Criox Board of Elections is facing a recall petition,  because the meeting agendas "do not allow for public comment," fails to present all communications addressed to him in his role as chair, fails to follow due process procedures when addressing unethical conduct and "misrepresented the Election Board's rules and regulations on radio airwaves, when addressing the issue of provisional ballots in the St. Croix District."
Petitioners have 60 days to gather 50% of the turnout for the last election. A bit strange is that there because there were five candidates for three sports, each voter was allowed to cast three votes. So, the board doesn't seem to have a number of signatures yet.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Arizona: Lawsuit in rejection of signatures for Fountain Hills Vice Mayor recall

An evidentiary hearing is being held to look into Maricopa County Recorder rejection of the  signatures on a petition to recall Fountain Hills Vice Mayor Ginny Dickey. The petition fell short by 12 votes.
The Vice Mayor was one of two people targeted for a recall -- Town Councilman Henry Leger's recall was certified, and will take place on March 13.
The issue on the signatures is the standard used -- strict construction or significant compliance. The recorder used a strict construction standard. The article runs through the rejected signatures. Sounds like this case has a chance.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Louisana: Petition filed to recall Monroe School Board member

They have 180 days to collect the signatures of 1/3 of the registered voters in the district.

Wisconsin: A La Follette considers running

Secretary of State Doug La Follette (according to Wikipedia, his great-grandfather and the original Robert La Follette were brothers)  is considering running in the recall

Tennessee: Chattanooga Mayor sues to stop the recall

A lot more on the Chattanooga recall. The Mayor is suing to stop the recall, which is also throwing up a host of questions (with my comments in the story). The council is considering changing the law.  Also, the timing is discouraging some from running in the recall.

Wisconsin: Articles on the Gubernatorial recall

National Journal looks at some positive signs for Scott Walker and here's an article oin the different stands taken by Milwaukee's mayor and county executive.

Nebraska: More details on the York County Attorney recall vote

Here

California: Shasta Lake Councilwoman recall headed to the ballot

Recall against Councilwoman Dolores Lucero is going to the ballot. They needed 1222 got 1658, 1500 verified.

Nevada: Las Vegas Councilman recall claims enough signatures to get on the ballot

A bit of reversal from earlier this year -- the effort to recall Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross has now qualified for the ballot. Petitioners submitted 1,189 signatures, the recall needed 1,084 signatures to qualify.

The recall is led by Joe Scala, a car dealer who was denied a waiver to continue operating a dealership in Ross’ ward.

Maine: Selectmen vote not to verify Berwick petitions

Somewhat strange rules in the Berwick Selectmen recall. The three selectmen can delay their recall for a little but can't stop it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kansas: Basehor sets Feb 28 recall vote for Mayor and two council members

Basehor is set to vote on the recalls of Mayor Terry Hill, City Council President Dennis Mertz and city council member Iris Dysart. Interesting to note that the recalls of Mertz and Dysart are sponsored by the a different three-person committee than the recall of Hill to recall Hill.
 Accusations against the council members include violating state open-meetings laws in deciding to fire former city administrator. The mayor faces charges of misusing of public funds to purchases a scanner and coffee pot, as well as health benefits and a severance payment given to the fired city administrator.

Nebraska: York County Attorney removed in recall vote

York County Attorney Bill Sutter lost the recall in a major blowout -- 1,592 to 263. The county Board of Commissioners will appoint a replacement. Sutter is the only prosecutor to lose (or even face) a recall this year. Here's a look at the usual nature of prosecutorial recalls.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan investigation on hold until after the recall

Here

Oregon: Oregon City recall petitioners didn't violate law

They knocked out the councilman a couple of weeks ago, and now hear some good news on their case -- they did not violate Oregon law by tying the recall with bringing back a store.

Michigan: Second attempt to recall Gov. Snyder to start in May

According to the article, the first attempt got 500,000 signatures. It needs 800,000.

Arizona: Legislature proposes recall law change in wake of Pearce loss

Here is the discussion. Haven't seen the bill online, but he mentions raising the signature requirement to 50%. Not clear if that's registered voters or turnout from the election.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Australia: NSW hold hearing on adopting the recall

The NSW government has heard from its panel of experts recommending a recall. The state would require signatures of 35 per cent of eligible voters, including at least 5 per cent from half the state's electorates (NSW has mandatory voting, apparently), :

UK: Proposed MP recall law

A draft plan by the UK Government is pushing for the adoption of the recall for MPs. This recall would be much more in line with the "judicial recall" requiring some misfeasance by officeholders. The law would require a censure vote by Commons, and only then could signature gathering, needing,  the signature of 10% of the voters, begin. The recall would also occur automatically if the MP is convicted of a criminal offense, and got less than a year in jail.

Kansas: Democrats call for Shawnee County Treasurer to resign

This story has a lot on the details of the recall (and includes quotes from me). The County Treasurer would require over 30,000 signatures, making some sense that there is pressure from the party to resign. -- I'll have a lot more to say on the year in the recall after an op-ed runs later this week or next.

California: Two Nevada County Superior Court judges face possible recall campaigns

Two Nevada County Superior Court judges, Julie McManus and Candace Heidelberger, are facing possible recall petitions. McManus is due to alleged continued absence from the bench. Heidelberger has been widely criticized over what many perceived as too-lenient sentencing of a child molester last week.

Illinois: Country Club Hills Mayor's plan to cut in half city council leads to recall threats

Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch, who won a new term in April but lost control over the city council, has threatened to cut the council in half -- from 10 to five (the city has five wards served by two alderman each). In response, Aldermen are considering pushing a recall vote.

Tennesse: Littlefield files new suit to throw out recall

Here

Maine: Berwick petitions verified

Recalls date for three councillors to be set at next meeting.

Wisconsin: Recalls against four Republican state Senators on pace

The Democrats only need one (and, of course, to hold serve) to get control of the chamber.

Oakland: Feedback on school board recalls

Here

Colorado: Recall Election set for Prowers Hospital District Directors

A February 7th recall has been set for two Prowers County Hospital District Directors. The recall proponents claim that one of the directors "tried to coerce a meeting between the City of Lamar and Prowers Medicial Center without the presence of the hospital attorney." Perhaps more relevant, they accuse the director of intimidating the staff, and accessing confidential information.

The second director is accused of inappropriate behavior at a board meeting and trying to protect a local monopoly.

Wisconsin: Walker raises $5.1 million since July

With the recall signatures passing the 500,000 mark, Gov. Walker is having success on the future counterattack front, raising $5.1 million since July

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wisconsin recall group claim over 500,000 in 28 days

Here

Wisconsin: Sheboygan mayor launches recall defense

Here

Colorado: Saguache County Clerk recall scheduled for January 24

Here

Massachusetts: Attempt to start Fall River Mayor recall stumbles

Here

California: Five Oakland School Board members threatened with recall

Efforts are now underway to recall five of the seven school board members for voting to close five elementary schools. They need 20% in each district. The wide-variance in voters means that the signature ranges from 4,900 signature for district 2 to 8,000 for district 1.

Wisconsin: Walker sues

Here

Mickey Mouse Signatures and the Recall

The recent revelation that the GAB will not automatically strike fraudulent and duplicate signatures has led to the expected lawsuits and cries of unfairness and partisan bias. Some of these stories are simply good old fashion "working the ref."  Others are trying to throw a negative light on the entire recall, and claim that the whole enterprise is fixed and corrupt (very popular line of counterattack -- no criticism for the tactic, as it is sometimes accurate). Some are valid, thought provoking criticisms, but despite the complaints, this will most likely not have any real effect on the Walker recall, except in the need for campaigning spending.

The argument that Walker will only have 10 days to review the signatures (if that limit remains) is mitigated by the fact that Walker and his family are not checking signatures with some hardy band of volunteers. Every single signature examined by the GAB will be closely watched by at least two sets of well-trained, and possibly well paid, eyes from both sides of the aisle. This recall, like the earlier Senate ones, involves two heavily financed sides, both willing to spend whatever it takes to win. Let's not let that fact escape our mind.

But this does point out that signature gathering remains the most difficult and most important part of the recall process. Let's look at this in further detail.

The initial arguments against the current signature rules are resting on 14th amendment due process grounds. While I took a great Advanced Political Process course in law school, I'll defer to others on this one. So let me point to a few informative blog posts from law professors Rick Hasen and Ann Althouse (also here).

Striking a recall due to signature failure

Earlier this year, we saw an Phoenix City Council recall where the petitioners handed in over 4000 signatures. The needed 2329. Yet the petition was rejected. Now, it could be that Phoenix has a high standard, or it could be that there were many fraudulent signatures. What it does show is that even when the opposition has a seemingly insurmountable number of signatures, it is possible to get it tossed out.


Burden of Proof Shifting

Th big question is whether the burden of proof for the validity of the signature should be on the signature gatherers or the targeted official (it has to be on one or the other Whatever the ruling from the electoral commission, it's going to benefit one side). The Walker proponents are saying that it should not be on the targeted official. However, what would be the impact of Walker's interpretation on a more traditional recall? In a typical school board/city council/mayor recall, petitioners are frequently the ones without the deep pockets. The elected officials could be able to bleed the petitioners white in legal actions, and prevent the recall from getting to the ballot. This may be a better result, but the impact has to be acknowledged.

The impact could also be felt on general elections. Will a tighter signature rule damage the hopes of insurgent candidates?

Signatures as the scapegoat
In 1914, California recalled state Senator E.E. Grant. The recall was interesting for a number of reasons, but one was the problem with signatures. After Grant lost, the Progressives decided to tinker with the mechanisms of the recall law. However, they couldn't come up with a good answer They settled for increasing the penalty on fraudulently singing a petition.

The complicated future of signature gathering:
Before being forced  to back down, the GAB proposed allowing voters to print out the petition, sign it and mail it in. The UK, which is considering a recall law, would allow people to sign up at the Post office.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wisconsin: GAB looking for more time to review recall petitions

Here

Wisconsin: Walker recall could cost Shawano County $47,000

Here

Wisconsin: Signature questions in recall petitions

Yes, they will count Mickey Mouse if he has a valid address, andnNo, this is not a real issue in Wisconsin (though it could be in a local race). Plenty of signatures will be challenged.

Op-ed in Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times and question on the ranked choice recall

Here's my op-ed on the Quan recall. I think one of the big questions that is cropping up in regards to a Quan recall is whether, if Quan is removed, the city would be allowed to use its ranked choice/instant runoff voting (explanation here) or would instead have to use the regular First Past the Post system.

First a little background:
In Quan's victory, the first election to use ranked choice in Oakland, she finished second in the first round (with less than 25% of the vote), over nine points behind the leader, Don Perata. She only took the lead on the last distribution of votes, and won the race by less than 51-49%.

Oakland's recall law is very simple --- "exercised in the manner prescribed by general law of the State." When Oakland adopted the ranked choice system, they did not change their recall law. Of course, the state does not have ranked choice voting. So it could very well be that ranked choice will not be used in a recall.

There's another basic point here that might seriously work against Quan. If Quan ran in Arizona or other states that have all candidate that have the recall operate as a new election, she could triumph in the same manner as before. But California's recall law first has a vote on whether or not to remove the official, and then has (at the same time) a replacement vote (where the recalled official is not allowed to be a candidate). Quan would have to get an absolute majority of voters to support her to win the recall vote. Since she got less than 25% of first time voters last time, she might be facing a serious hill.

Oregon: Two Rainier city council members removed in recall vote

Looks like 70%+ voted to remove the two council members

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

India: More debate on the recall

Here

California: recall impacts appointment of mayor and vice mayor in Hercules

Here

Oregon: Petitions circulating against Mayor and three commissioners in Lakeside

This would be Lakeside's third recall election in six years. Petitioners need 127 signatures by March 4, to kick out Mayor Ed Gowan and Councilors Sue Allen, Naomi Parker and Ed Langley.
The fight is between two factions of the council, with Allen one onside and the other three councilors opposing her. The precipitating issue is Allen blocking the appointment of a candidate for a vacant council seat.

Oklahoma: Nowata officials delay recall by refusing to declare them sufficient

Weird result here -- four commissioners are facing a recall. The commissioners appear to need to declare the petitions sufficient. The four commissioners have all refused to vote on the sufficient declaration, which has stymied the recall.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Michigan: Tekonsha Village Trustee facing recall backed by Village President tries to turn the tables on opponent

They still seem to be in the verification stage, but the Village Trustee may face a recall in February. He is launching a recall against the Village President, who was a backer of the recall against the Trustee.

Michigan: Recount in Genesee Township shows no change in vote

Here. Recount cost $300 to $400. The four officials were sustained by two-to-one margins.

Colorado: Sedgwick County voting next week on recalling Sheriff

Sedgwick County is voting next week on the recall of a Sheriff due to what critics are calling a wild-West law enforcement style.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Arizona: Pearce finds that Money can't buy love

Details on the Pearce recall: Russell Pearce raised $261,844 and spent $259,310. His successful opponent, Jerry Lewis, raised $84,979 and spent every penny of it.
Other big facts: The majority of Lewis' donors came from inside Mesa. Fewer than a quarter of Pearce's donors came from within the city.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Michigan: State Rep recall fails

Deadline passed with no petitions.

Oregon: Oregon City Commissioner loses recall vote

Oregon City Commissioner Jim Nicita has lost his recall vote yesterday, 57%-43%. The recall proponents cited Nicita's opposition to a 650,000 square foot shopping mall.

The recall election cost $9,000 to $10,000.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

California: Lassen County Supervisor recall fails

Petitioners claim that they were not handing in petitions.

DC: Call for recalling mayor and counsel

Campaign will begin in January. More here

South Carolina: Conservatives attempting to start gubernatorial recall

This would be against Governor Nikki Haley, and according to the article, there have been several attempts to start a recall. This one would be from conservative proponents.
The article notes that the recall faces a "steep climb." Since South Carolina doesn't have a recall, that may be a nice understatement.

Texas: New Braunfels Mayor recall petitions fail

Petitioners needed 735 signatures, got over 1100, but only 668 verified. The mayor has been in office a little bit over 6 months.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan recall scheduled for Jan 17

There are six candidates. If no candidate gets 50%, the two top vote-getters face off in a Feb. 14 runoff. The city is looking to push off the runoff to Feb. 21, so it will coincide with the primary election, and save $40k.er.

Washington: Petitions taken out against Spokane County Prosecutor

Washington has the judicial recall standard of malfeasance, so this probably goes to the courts. Shannon Sullivan, the woman who is leading the recall against County Prosecutor Steve Tucker, is credited with spearheading the recall of Spokane Mayor Jim West in 2005.  The complain claims that Ticker has been too lenient with cases of police misconduct. If approved, the recall would need 42K signatures in 180 days.

Here's earlier coverage on the recall of prosecutors.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wisconsin: Journal Sentinel's FAQ on the recall process

Good overview of some of the laws for the Gubernatorial recall from Steven Waters, the senior producer of Wisconsin Eye here

California: Shasta Lake Councilwoman unreachable after petitions handed in

The local paper has been unable to reach the councilwoman or supporters ever since the recall petitions were handed in.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wisconsin: State Senator Tim Cullen considering recall bid

Here

NPR on the growth of the recall

Here

Alaska: Petitions certified against Wasilla Councilman

Looks like the Steve Menard recall will be going to the ballot.

Wisconsin: Republicans drop one case calling for using new districts in recall

There is a second lawsuit going on, so questionable how important this decision will prove to be. The article notes that Justice David Prosser wouldn't be able to participate, so perhaps there was a strategic thought to this move.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan recall was 360 signatures than needed -- recall should be held Jan 17

The Sheboygan City Clerk's Office announced that the Mayoral recall had  4,481 valid signatures, 360 signatures more than required.
According to the report:
The council must order the recall election Monday, and the election is to be held on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. It is believed to be the first recall of a mayor in Sheboygan history.

California: Shasta Lake City Council petitions handed in

A petition to recall Shasta Lake City Councilwoman Dolores Lucero was handed in. They gave in 1,657 signatures, need 1,222.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Colorado: Occupy Denver looks to launch mayoral recall

They would need 30K signatures in 90 days, or 25% of the turnout of the last election (it's a political recall, so no need to prove malfesance). The article notes that there: "that no successful attempts at a recall election at this level in Denver haven taken place during the recent past."

Michigan: Candidates selected for replacement election in Michigan

Both parties have chosen their candidates for the February 28 replacement election. The date of the vote, the same day as the Republican presidential primary, should benefit the Republican candidate. It does show how much of a difference the process makes in a recall. The "offending" official is no longer on the ballot, and it stops being a direct race against an unpopular elected official. It's more of a straight election. Much different than in Arizona, California or Wisconsin.

Michigan: Legislators look to rework the recall in wake of Paul Scott loss

Once again, state lawmakers are proposing laws to change the recall from a political recall to a judicial one (definition here). Seems like these changes are proposed after every significant recall, to little effect.

Wisconsin: "You can't hide your lying eyes" edition? Walker "looks forward" to the recall

Politico reports here. Despite my snarky headline, there actually could be a big career benefit to the recall for Walker. Dianne Feinstein's career was certainly helped by her victory over the recall. People even lose and benefit -- North Dakota Governor Lynn Frazier, the first Governor in the nation to face a recall, was kicked out in 1921. 18 months later he was elected to the first of three terms in the US Senate.

Michigan: Petitioners fail to get signatures in for Mt. Morris February recall

Apparently, they still have time to get a recall on the ballot, just not for February. They are going after a mayor and two councilmen. Petitioners need 170 signatures. The issue is the approval of a city manager contract.

Maine: Berwick adopts recall

I'm late on this one -- and only know because Berwick is trying to recall three selectmen -- but Berwick, Maine adopted a recall on Election Day (November 8), 913-518.

California: Oakland Mayor recall gathers backing from business owners

Here

Wisconsin: Sheboygan Mayoral recall qualifies for the ballot

The recall against Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan, started over instances of public drunkenness, has qualified for the ballot. They needed 4,121 signatures, no word yet on how many they got/