Thursday, February 2, 2012

Massachusetts: Templeton recall delayed by Selectmen's action

The recall of two Templeton Selectmen (discussed here) may be in danger, as the selectmen failed to sign the election warrant and have the constables post the warrant in four precincts, the town clerk's office, and the Town office building. It is the first time that such an error was made in an election. The town may have to postpone the election or go back and restart the entire process.

What's particularly noteworthy is that this is at least the third time in recent months that a town or city council's actions have been used to delay or defeat a recall against the council's members. We had New Braunfels, Texas and Berwick, Maine -- though the town rules in Berwick ignored the council's behavior. Before that, we had Jasper, Texas also refuse to authorize a recall.

These delaying action (or temper tantrum if you don't want to be charitable), doesn't stop the recall. But it does call into question the wisdom of having elected bodies in charge of schedule recall votes. There's no easy answer here, but like with Wisconsin's experience with campaign finance laws, or Oakland's and Chattanooga's experience with electoral laws, it is obvious that the recall was not even an afterthought in planning for how elected bodies work or what laws will restrain them. Clearly, that is going to be a continual problem in the future.

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