Wednesday, April 25, 2012

West Virginia: Keyser City uses "loser pays" recall law

It is not really a "loser pays" law -- it is much, much worse than that! The official doesn't have to pay if he loses. But everyone who signs the petition is liable for the cost of the election if the official is not removed. A special election is estimated to cost $10,000 in Keyser (including, amazingly, the cost of a paid holiday for all city workers). Quite a disincentive to the recall, and once again it looks like an incumbent protection maneuver.

Some other details of the law -- petitions have to be signed by at least 20% of turnout in the last election (we're not talking that many voters, the last mayoral race had 499 votes).

The city is also empowered to place liens on signers' property. No word if the city can try to collect all the money from one or a few petitioners if some of the signers can't pay, or if instead it is limited to collecting the $100 from each.

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