Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Texas: El Paso recall set for April 14th

Still waiting on the lawsuit, and it sounds like the date depends on the state primary election day. The proposed costs vary depending on the date, from $300K to $1.37 million.

Massachusetts: Fall River Mayor recall attempt not dead

They've tried their best, but so far they could not. Numerous errors and problems have plagued the petitioners, but they are still trying to recall the Fall River mayor.

Wisconsin: The benefits of the recall -- ballot-makers making bank

Good piece on Roto-Graphic Printing, one of the few ballot printers in the state.

Wisconsin: Editorial claiming that Dem Senate candidate will flip the chamber

Apparently, the Capital Times (a progressive publication) feels Assemblywoman Donna Seidel is money in the bank in her race for a Senate seat.

Philippines: Recall as "impeachment by ballot"

Here

National: Taking donations with mobile phones

Just wondering about the spread of this technology

Wisconsin: Gubernatorial recall spending could top $100 million

Is anyone shocked by this number? Didn't think so.

Monday, January 30, 2012

DC: Mayor responds to recall attempt

Here

Oregon: Signatures verified in recall of three members of Winston-Dillard Fire Board

Signatures have been verified in the potential recall of three members of the Winston-Dillard Fire Board. They petitioners needed 385 signatures, and got over 500. The recall is scheduled to take place in 40 days.
The three commissioners are Stan Keeler, Lyle Jeffries and Dale Stutzman.

Wisconsin: Possible second candidate in Galloway recall

Assemblywoman Donna Seidel (D-Wausau) is seriously considering a run against state Senator Pam Galloway in her potential recall race. This could set up a primary as former Marathon County Democratic party chair Jeff Johnson announced as well.

Maine: Public hearing on three board of selectmen recall

The town has a requirement for a public hearing before the recall occurs. Facing a recall on February 14 are Chairman Jim Ramsey, Vice Chair Joe Chambers and Selectman Marcia Elton. According to the recall petitions,t he reasons for recalling these three Selectmen stem from their involvement and acceptance of the sale of the property on 9 Rochester St. for $20,000 to Laurie Chambers, the wife of Joe Chambers, in June 2011. Chalking one up to the not planning for a recall:

In anticipation of the possible recall of up to three selectmen, department heads have been told to prepare for the worse. In an email provided to Foster's, Town Manager Keith Trefethen told town department heads that Maine State Law does not provide guidance or provisions for disbursements warrants to be approved or signed. A disbursement warrant is a payment by the town to outside vendors for various services or payments.

Therefore, the email said, the town should prepare for the worse in case they are faced with the outcome of the recall of three selectmen. Trefethen asked department heads to contact their vendors and them to "carry the town for this short period of time in the event some service need to be provided."

April 3 would be the earliest replacements could be elected in a shorten election process, leaving a possible seven and a half weeks without the ability for the town to approve disbursements.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wisconsin: WSJ -- The most important non-presidential election of the decade

Well, it's a young decade, but Stephen Moore, WSJ editorial writer and former president of the Club for Growth, isn't shy in his claim about the importance of the Walker recall.

Colorado: More on the Saguache County Clerk recall -- Democrats deserted the incumbent

According to this article, more than 50% of the votes were cast by Democrats. Since Myers lost by sch a wide margin, it's sound like the party voters deserted her.

California: Three contenders in the Shasta Lake City Council recall

Since this is California, there would be an up-or-down recall vote on City Councilwoman Dolores Lucero.

Arizona: Pearce wins state GOP position

Russell Pearce, the recalled ex-Senate Majority Leader, won a top GOP state post.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan voters choose between the two run-off candidates

Here

Minnesota: State's malfeasance/"judicial recall" standard has resulted in no recalls

Though, of course, they've only had the recall since 1996. I can't tell from the piece, but I'm wondering if the state voters ever rejected a recall.

Michigan: Tekonsha Village Trustee facing recall vote on February 28

Tekonsha Village Trustee Howard Rigg is facing a recall vote on February 28, which could be followed by a recall vote against the perceived prime backer of his recall, Village President Corey Wood. This is a bit of a crazy story, as the fight is over the filling of a vacancy. Wood apparently wanted to fill a Trustee position opened up by the resignation of his ex-wife with his current girlfriend. Hi-jinks ensued.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Michigan: Wording approved on Akron Township Supervisor recall

The Tuscola Election Commission has approved the language for the recall of Akron Township Supervisor Donald Schmuck, based on his opposition to a water project. Petitioners have 180 days from Jan. 25 to gather signatures, but all the signatures must be collected within a 90-day window. They need 136 signatures.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wisconsin: Another candidate in the recall race

State Senator Kathleen Vinehout is "all but certain" to run.

Wisconsin: Editorial criticizing unlimited donations law

Here

Wisconsin: Possible recall rematch in Senatorial campaign

Former State Senator John Lehman is considering a run against one of the four Wisconsin Senators facing a recall, Senator Van Wanggaard. Wanggaard bested Lehman in 2010, winning with 53% of the vote in a historic swing district.

Arizona: Criticism of Republican bill to change the recall

This article is somewhat confusing. It complains about a bill in Arizona to change the recall (the bill is actually HCR2020, not HB 2020). The changes proposed seem to be trying to rejigger signature requirements to have petitions signed only by people who voted in the last election, and limit the officers of a recall committee to people who live in the district. However, the article claims that the bill will increase the signature requirement for petitions (it erroneously claims that Arizona has a 10% turnout signature requirement), which does not appear to be the case. 

California: Second Quan petition approved

This one was posted in the comments section. The petitioners have until July 2 to get the necessary signatures.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kansas: Judge rejects request to hold off on Basehor mayoral recall until appeal decided

The judge said that due to the possible length of the appeal delay may be the equivalent to cancelling the recall. Mayor Hill will be asking for an injunction from the appellate court, so let's not count that February 28 date as set in stone. There still is two city council recalls. Here's some earlier coverage.

Arizona: San Luis recall petitioner banned from running for City Council based on English-language issues

Long story on a candidate for San Luis City Council with issues speaking English (she has been prevented from running). Worth noting at the end that the candidate, Alejandrina Cabrera, has twice tried to recall the Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla (who filed the suit to block her from running).

Wisconsin: Interview with Tim Cullen, Democratic candidate for Gov.

Here

California: Petitions against five Lindsay City Council members (including Mayor) due on February 6

An attempt to recall five members of the Lindsay City Council is still ongoing. Councilmembers are highlighting the cost, between $11,000-$14,000, double or triple the costs of a regular election. If a recall is on the June primary ballot, it would cost $6,000 to $7,000.

The recall was launched because of alleged financial mismanagement.

Of the five threatened members, Mayor Ed Murray, Mayor Pro-Tem Esteban Velasquez and City Councilmember Pam Kimball are all up for re-election in November while Councilmembers Danny Salinas and Ramona Padilla would serve until 2014, barring a recall.

Recall petitioners have until  Feb. 6 to hand in 549 signatures for each candidate.

Wisconsin: Walker fundraising already a record

There's a big advantage to having no laws. Walker has already set a record for fundraising for Wisconsin's Governor -- $12.1 million. Roughly half of the $4.5 million raised in the last five weeks have come from 33 individuals.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tennessee: Chattanooga City Council votes to join court case

The City Council voted 6-3 to get involved in the mayoral recall lawsuit. The council does not have a position on the matter.

Texas: El Paso recall lawsuit focuses on spending by petitioners

The mayor is claiming that the recall petitioners illegally used funds raised for passing a city ordinance for the recall effort.

Philippines: Petitioners against Cagayan De Oro City Mayor claim 25,000 signatures since January 13

Petitioners need 45,000. The recall against Mayor Vincent Emano stems from the 700+ deaths in a December 17 flash flood (due to Topical Storm Sendong). According to the paper:  Cagayan de Oro officials were allegedly remiss in taking measures to mitigate the effects of the storm, such as issuing warnings to affected population and ordering evacuation of threatened places.

The Mayor's defenders are calling for the entire council to face a recall instead.

Nevada: Las Vegas City Council recall challenger fails to file financial disclosure forms

Here

Wisconsin: Poll shows Walker ahead

The disadvantage, from the recall proponent's perspective, of the Wisconsin (and Arizona and others, etc.) one day recall is that you have someone to punch. Unsurprisingly, Walker does a better job when he has an actual opponent.

Colorado: Saguache County Clerk ousted in recall

The bungled Saguache County Clerk election from last year, that prompted reviews by the secretary of state and a grand jury investigation, had its final result in yesterday. The County Clerk and Recorder Melinda Myers (D) was recalled by 68% of the vote (941-453). The winner of the replacement vote was the loser of the last, very disputed election, Republican Carla Gomez, who defeated independent Patricia Jenkins 762-319.

Turnout for the recall election was low (33%) -- the 2010 election saw 1,300 votes.

According to the Denver Post article:

"An error by an election worker led to the polling place results for two precincts being loaded twice into a vote-counting software program, while the mail-in ballots for the precincts were not included. Two days later, with the blessing of state election officials, Myers and her staff ran the ballots again, overturning the election-night results. The second count erased victories for Republican commissioner candidate Steven Carlson and Gomez.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

North Dakota: Split decision in Valley City recalls -- Mayor survives, but City Council ousted

A split decision in the Valley City recalls. Mayor Bob Werkhoven survived his recall, defeating former Police Chief Dean Ross 1,128 to 860 (57% to 43%).
However, in a race I had not seen mentioned in the earlier coverage, commissioner Ken Evenson was bounced out by challenger Duane Magnuson, 1,023 to 950 (52% to 48%).

The 2,000 ballots amounted to about one-third of the city's population. Note the large number of absentee ballots --658 (North Dakota's a mite cold this time a year).





Texas: Oral Arguments to be heard in El Paso recall case

Here

Wisconsin: Find out who signed recall petitions

The signatures against Senators are already up

Michigan: Petitions handed in for three Ishpeming City Council recalls

New one on the blog here -- three Ishpeming City Council members are facing a possible recall for failing to vote to transfer retirement credits for the police chief. Petitioners handed in 560 signatures for each council member, they need 487.

The three council members are Claudia Demarest, Elaine Racine and Michael Tall.

UK: My article in Politics.co.uk and another look at their recall

I have an article in Politics.co.uk on the proposed UK recall law.

Here's another article discussing the UK law. This article does have a few facts a bit off (the Swiss had the recall before the US -- though they rarely used it) and of course, the US starting playing with the recall well before the 1900s.

Note this comment:
Some 22 countries now allow powers of recall for various politicians, with Canada one of the most active. Since 1997, voters in the state of British Columbia have filed some 24 recall petitions.
Here's the ending -- worth checking out if you are interested in the UK angle:

In essence, Goldsmith's Bill means that if you don't like your MP you can try to get rid of them. The power is in the hands of the people rather than a committee. Indeed, this is much more about voting for your MP as an individual, rather than representative of a party. But to prevent political parties simply trying to unseat an opponent, Goldsmith would put the recall threshold at 20 per cent of voters.
Of course, direct democracy – like voting for Big Brother or the X-Factor – has its attractions. However, I am not necessarily convinced it strengthens policy-making or Parliament. Just look at California, the state is in a mess thanks to political grid-lock and partisan electioneering. However, we do need to keep thinking about reviving our flagging democracy and getting people involved in politics. Maybe some form of right to recall for wrong-doing is a part of that, but not, surely, for MPs just expressing controversial or unpopular views. In reality, I don't think any MP would want disagreements to get that far – especially if there is an Arnie waiting in the wings.

Wisconsin: Walker raises $4.5 million in five weeks, $12 million in a year

Here

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Missouri: Kansas City Councilman facing recall threat

Kansas City Missouri City Councilman Jermaine Reed is the target of a recall campaign by Michael Fletcher, an opponent who was removed from the ballot after a court ruled that Fletcher was a California resident. They need 1,663 signatures to qualify. Note that one of the Reed supports states that the city has the judicial recall -- a misdeeds-focused recall law that can't be done for plain political reasons.

Ohio: Newton Falls Mayor who lost in 2010 recall charged with ethics violations

Mayor Pat Layshock, who was recalled and removed in November 2010, was charged with two misdemeanor ethics violations.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

UK: Conservative backbenchers slam new recall proposal

Two backbenchers are claiming that the recall law is "deeply flawed." Hopefully, I'll be able to place an article on the subject soon. Their logic is sound -- the recall requires approval by parliment before a signature gathering effort can start.

Wisconsin: Four Republican Senators have $734K on hand

A good start, but since the last round cost so much, who knows how much they'll need in the end.

Wisconsin: Questions about why one county's recall estimates are much higher than others

Greenfield County has reported a higher cost for the recall than other counties.

California: Fullerton recall petitioners claim they have enough signatures

The attempt to recall three Fullerton City Council members after a well-publicized beating death at the hands of local police looks to be advancing. The petitioners needed 10,552 signatures. They claim to have over 17,500 for each council member. Petitions were turned in a month early.

Oregon: Recall of Elgin Mayor qualifies for the ballot

According to an email I received from the head of the recall effort, the County Clerk has verified signatures for the recall of Mayor John Stover. Petitioners needed 95 signatures, handed in 133. The election would be held on February 28.

The issue appears to be a police shooting to death of a resident in the midst of a domestic disturbance call.

California: Recall petitions still not complete in the Feather River Recreation and Park District Directors

The recall against five directors of the Feather River Recreation and Park District, which failed in the first try, has not managed to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot yet.  Proponents have until Feb. 14 to get the signatures in. Here's some additional details on the recall.

Non-recall article on negative campaigning

For CNN

Washington: Ninth Circuit uphold injunction against Washington's strict recall contribution law

Rick Hasen has both the key points and a copy of the decision. Here's some news coverage. I won't get a chance to read it till later, but Professor Hasen highlights a key footnote, claiming that Washington State's system of recalls -- in this case, a vote on whether to recall the official followed by an appointment of a successor -- to be part of the cause of the decision. Essentially, if Washington State had California's or Wisconsin's or Arizona's, the results may have been different.

Here's some earlier coverage on the failed recall attempt against that led to the suit, and an article by George Will blasting the Washington State law. Here's what I wrote about the suit:


  Will's piece is an attack on Washington state's campaign finance structure for recalls -- the state bans any contribution above $800, including pro bono legal service. Since the Assessor-Treasurer requires over 65,000 signatures, the $800 is a real barrier.  A Federal Court Judge has issued a temporary injunction against the law in the case.


The story leaves out a whole lot of information. Perhaps most important is the origins of the $800 limit. Will blames it on Washington lawmakers protecting themselves. However, it was actually passed by voters in 1992 (with 73% of the vote) under Initiative 134. Undoubtedly, politicians deserve some credit or blame for pushing and crafting initiatives, but the fact that it was an initiative heavily mitigates Will's complaint. I don't know the full history of Initiative 134, but these three articles suggests it was an attempt to clamp down on union spending on campaigns. To say this law was designed to actually protect incumbents seems a great stretch.

The law itself seems extremely restrictive. However, this point from the Institute for Justice, which brought the suit, is worth thinking about:
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that government restrictions on political speech and spending are unconstitutional unless they are closely related to stopping a politician from trading his vote for cash.  But there is no threat of corruption from contributions to a recall campaign because there is no candidate to corrupt.  Indeed, a recall campaign is the opposite of corruption—there’s no danger that a politician will do favors for someone who donates to his recall campaign; indeed, quite the opposite.  Even the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—one of the courts most favorable to laws restricting political speech—has recognized that recall contributions are not corrupting.  Yet Washington persists in enforcing unconstitutional laws.
This may be the law, but it seems to be at odds with reality, and demands an overly restrictive, rose-colored view of the recall. From the earliest days of ther recall (see theE.E. Grant recall), we've seen that candidates try to use the recall to get themselves into office. Legally, we might have to close our eyes to this reality (though I haven't thought about it enough to come to a conclusion), but we can't honestly believe it.  Washam himself is a good example, as he tried to launch recalls against his predecessors. Do you think he wasn't taking names of his contributors to the recall effort?

But none of this shows a conspiracy theory in favor of elected officials. Instead it continues to show that politicians and bill drafters were not considering the recall when they made most modern campaign laws. Wisconsin and Arizona have extremely different campaign finance systems covering recalls, and both are different from their regular law --Wisconsin's is unlimitedArizona's extremely restrictive. On the same front, there is controversy regarding laws banning political signs from being posted a certain number of days before elections -- the sign laws are probably unconstitutional. When they thought of these laws, nobody was thinking of the recall. And we can't be surprised by that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wisconsin: More in-depth look at the Senate recalls

It's hard to imagine that petitions for four senate recalls would be ignored -- before last year, there was never a year with that many legislative recalls in the whole country. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a longer look at the four senators facing the ax, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Wisconsin: Democratic challengers lining up

We are off to the races. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is one big name announcing today. Falk has previously lost runs for Attorney General (won the primary) and Governor (lost in the primary). You may recall earlier stories that the unions were trying to clear the field for Falk (by pushing out Tom Barrett).

In other news, Barrett actually is leading in the polls, 46-27 over Falk.

California: Shasta Lake Councilwoman promises lawyers, and hints of more lawyers

Not exactly a shocker, but the Shasta Lake City Councilwoman facing a recall is promising a lawsuit to stop the recall. Many other shenanigans can be read about here.

Wisconsin: Walker spending $700K a week on TV ads

WSJ reports here

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Idaho: Second recall attempt against Education Chief heats up

They failed the first time, and need to collect more than 200,000 signatures to get the recall against Tom Luna on the ballot.

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article with key numbers on the recall

Here's some additional coverage of the recall from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Note that they have hard numbers on the four senate recalls:


For the Senate recalls, the numbers of valid signatures needed vary between 14,958 and 16,742 for each district. For Fitzgerald, a group filed 20,600 signatures. State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate said volunteers had gathered even more signatures for other senators - over 21,000 for Pam Galloway of Wausau, over 21,000 for Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and over 24,000 for Van Wanggaard of Racine.

Texas: El Paso mayor in debt, recall committee with little in the bank

Facing a recall fight, El Paso Mayor John Cook campaign coffers are in the red, with a debt of $16,212. The group looking to recall him is not doing that well either, with $2,150 left.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan Mayor take first in recall's first round, race goes to a run-off

Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan, accused of public drunkness and other misdeeds, lives for another day at least. Ryan took 33% of the vote, garnering first place. Unfortunately for him, he needed 50% to avoid a runoff. Ryan will face his erstwhile 2009 opponent Terry Van Akkeren in a February 21st runoff.

Wisconsin: Over 1 million signatures handed-in for the Walker recall

See the AP story here. The signatures equal 23% of registered voters in the state. Interesting to note that the Lieutenant Governor recall saw a lot less signatures (though almost certainly more than enough to get on the ballot -- about 850,000).
Signatures were also handed in against four state senators, including the Majority Leader.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wisconsin: Redistricting causes confusion in Sheboygan mayoral recall

Having a recall in a redistricting year seems to cause no end of trouble. Here's a much smaller variation of the problem in Sheboygan.

Signature Failure Rates -- Past statistics of invalid signatures in recall campaigns

With the Walker recall petitions due tomorrow, the petitioners will need 540,208 valid signatures to get on the ballot. According to reports, they will be handing in hundreds of thousands of signatures above that limit, which leads to a basic question -- how much of a cushion do the recall proponents need to qualify for the ballot? Let's examine some other examples to see what we know about signature failure rates.

Let's first start with the basic numbers.The 540,208 is derived from the 25% of the total votes cast in the 2010 gubernatorial election, which was 2,160,832. Wisconsin has 5.68 million people. As a point of comparison, Gray Davis' recall needed 897,158 signatures in a state of close to 36 million people. In California, the recall proponents turned in almost double the amount needed --1,660,245 signatures, of which 1,363411 were deemed valid. Doing some quick math on that one, the failure rate was a shade under 18%.

The other best point of comparison is the Wisconsin Senate recalls this past summer, but unfortunately, the data appears to be incomplete. Since there are nine, we won't discuss them all. Here's the GAB page and the  Ballotpedia link that lists the numbers handed in (which is an estimate -- they all didn't end up on a nice round number), and the number validated. The numbers don't fully add up -- not only the fact that some candidates have more than every single signature approved, but contemporary reports site divergent amounts of signatures handed in. For example the Dan Kapanke recall cites a huge error rate (30,000 handed in, only 21,776 valid -- a 27.5% failure rate). However, contemporary reports cite much different numbers (22,000 handed in) as well as for the other efforts. Did the GAB not check the remaining signatures once they approved the recall (in what may have been a two stage signature hand-in process?) I don't know, and it is strange that there is such a discrepancy. However, just to list it, there are two petitions with an alleged 25-27.5% failure rate, there are two (both Democrats) with a 17-18% failure rate, there are three with a 6-8%, and two with effectively zero.

These numbers should prove some comfort for the Democrats. Even if we take the likely incorrect figure of a 27.5 error rate for the Kapanke recall, the Walker petitioners would need a little less than 689,000 signatures to qualify. Since they had 500,000 half way through (though those signatures were the low hanging fruit), it could be that, as commentators and the Governor himself suggest, this will fly through without a problem.

Of course, there are other states to look at. This article lists a 10-15% signature error rate in a Michigan recall. And there are also examples of recalls with many more signatures being invalidated. In this Phoenix city council recall, over 4,000 signatures were handed in. The recall only needed 2,329. It didn't make it. The error rate was close to, if not over, 50%. 

Another recent matter is this on-going Las Vegas recall against City Councilman Steven Ross. The only contender on the ballot got on by two signatures (it was originally thought he didn't make it). They actually don't seem to analyze each signature, but take a sample and extrapolate (which would seem to be the basis of a lawsuit, but Ross has eschewed this option). California also uses a random sampling rule, though if the number falls between 95 and 110%, it gets the through search.


I'd love to give a rate on the recall that brought Walker into the Milwaukee County Executive's office, against Tom Ament in 2002, but hard numbers don't appear to be online. They may never have been checked by the Election Commission as Ament resigned before the recall took place and Walker in a special election to fill the seat.

There's also the possibility of a "blocking" campaign or deliberately false signatures.  This site, run by the people who claim to have gotten the Davis recall on the ballot, note that the Davis blocking campaign was extensive. Still, the blocking campaign failed. I don't think deliberately false signatures will have much of an effect -- the parties are keeping a running tally of whether the signatures look good. They will be able to weed out the obviously fake ones, especially after the Mickey Mouse controversy.

There's one other point that is worth considering. There may be more of an effort to examine these signatures than in other recalls. There also may be different numbers for Walker and for his LG (which is a separate recall petition). There's a lot of money in the coffers of both sides, and a lot of attention is being paid to this recall. This is not to say that other recall signature fights have been ignored. I'm sure they've been tough. But this could be more serious than any in the past. The Gray Davis recall may not have had the same level of scrutiny, simply because the signature amount was so overwhelming as to limit the value of a real fight by Davis. It could be the same thing happens here, but if the amount of signatures handed in is close (I would say sub-800,000) we could see a real fight on our hands.

Arizona: Recalled Senate Leader Russell Pearce running for state party leadership post

The Arizona Republican Party isn't deserting Russell Pearce after his recall loss in November. Pearce's seems to be a shoo in for the state party's second-in-command position.

Alabama: Editorial on proposed recall law

The Birmingham News looks at the irony that Senator Roger Bedford, sponsor of a constitutional amendment proposing a new state-level recall law, was the former leader of the legislature who never proposed it when the Democrats were in power, but has now put it forward once the Republicans took over.
Couple of points in there -- it would only be for state-level officials, and would not include local officials. Amendment would require 25% of turnout and no recall in the first year.

The editorial asks for more details (according to the amendment, that would be left up to the legislature).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wisconsin: Claims that there are enough signature to recall Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

Here

Wisconsin: Two days left to recall due date

Many articles on this one. Here's one local group claiming that it got more signatures than people voted in the last election note that the big signature times were at the beginning and the end of the process, but many more signatures at the beginning (2072 total, 1012 first week, 462 between the last Tuesday and Friday)

Massachusetts: More strange doings in the Lawrence mayor recall attempt

Recall organizers walked into the City Clerk's office with (allegedly) thousands of signatures, but only handed in 17. The petitioners claim that the petition would fail because of a technaility (the petition failed to translate the reasons for the recall). Just keeps getting stranger -- the petition organizer's police report and booking slip were leaked onto an anti-recall website.

California: Labor rally opposes Quan recall

This is from PR Newswire, so it's a press release not a news story. But worth checking out how the forces are aligning on this recall.

Non-recall op-ed: Iowa and New Hampshire

This ran over a week ago in the Daily.

Nevada: Contender qualifies in Las Vegas Council recall by two signatures

It was "touch and go." Interestingly, it doesn't sound like they actually check all the signatures -- they check a percentage of them and extrapolate from there. Since he qualified by two signatures, it would sound like the city councilman would have an argument in calling for a full count, but has declined that option.

Florida: Appeal of court decision striking down Haines City recall attempt

The recall petitioners are appealing a court decision knocking down the attempt to initiate a recall against two Haines City commissioners. Earlier coverage here and here.

California: Shasta Lake recall to cost town $40K

Recall is set for April 10. City Councilwoman Dolores Lucero vows to stop the recall against her, though doesn't say how.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nevada: Las Vegas City Council taking place, may not have a challenger

They are checking out the petitions now. They are saying the challenger might have missed the cut off by six signatures.

Wisconsin: Contender in state Senate recall race

The Marathon County Democratic Party Chairman is looking to run against Republican state Senator Pam Galloway if the recall gets on the ballot.

Colorado: Trindad Councilman subject of recall threats

Councilman Alfredo Pando is facing a recall drive. Petitioners are citing Pando's walking out of council meetings in progress and a last-minute budgetary maneuver to fill a dormant government job with funds slated for a federally-mandated lighting project. The walk out was related to an LED lighting project.


The leader of the recall effort is the husband of another council member. The petitioners need 10% of the previous election's turnout -- about 600 names according to the petitioners.

Georgia: Judge tosses out recall effort against Mackintosh Chairwoman

A judge threw out the attempt to recall McIntosh County Commission Chairwoman Kelly Spratt -- Georgia is a judicial recall state, so there needs to be a showing of cause. The judge noted that there is no illegality alleged. The decision was based on the implementation of curbside garbage pickup, which resulted in a $128.40 annual user fee onto their property tax bills to pay for the service.
The recall proponents got 100 signatures to apply for the petition, and would have needed 2,426 signatures.
The county may try to sue for court costs. 

Wisconsin: Signature review will take more than 60 days

GAB has already purchased a $100,000 system to help review the signatures.

Kansas: Judge greenlights Basehor mayoral recall

The decision is being appealed. Kansas requires a cause for the recall, so worth noting that the Judge threw out two of the four grounds for the recall (failing to preside at all meetings and misuse of public funds --Mayor Terry Hill bought a scanner and coffee makers, and some food in another city. The mayor sent the purchases to his house to save on shipping costs).
The other two grounds -- that the mayor modified the contract of the former city administrator  Mark Loughry to provide additional health benefits for his family and authorized a $50,000 severance check for Loughry, without city council approval for either action -- are the basis for the recall.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Virgin Islands: St. Croix Board of Elections recall petitions submitted

Petitions to recall almost all of the members of the St. Croix Board of Elections have been submitted, and then have to be withdrawn and resubmitted. Oy.
The article notes" The formula for determining the number of signatures required to initiate a recall election leaves it nearly impossible to achieve, organizers said.
Under the Revised Organic Act of 1954, the petitioners have 60 days to gather "a list of signatures equal in number to at least 50 percent of the whole number of votes cast for that office in the last general election."

Tennessee: Election Panel Members claim attorney should not have filed countersuit to mayor's claim

The two members, both Democrats, claim that filing a countersuit to the mayor's claim infringes upon the panel's neutrality.

Nevada: Only one challenger in the Las Vegas City Council recall

City planning commissioner Bryon Goynes (a Democrat) is the only candidate qualified to run in the Las Vegas City Council recall challenging Democrat Steve Ross. Candidates needed 1,084 signatures to be placed on the ballot. The one Republican did not get the signatures necessary to get on the ballot.

Kansas: Judge to rule on Basehor mayor recall

A Judge is set to decide on whether to allow the recall of Basehor Mayor Terry Hill to move forward (mayor is arguing that petition was too vague and the grounds were insufficient for a recall). The Judge is looking to put the recall on the ballot on Feb. 28, the same day as the recall of  Basehor City Council members Dennis Mertz and Iris Dysart. If the decision is delayed, the City Council recalls will go forward. Interesting point here -- if the two are removed, the mayor appoints their replacements (subject to approval by the remaining council members).

The mayor is accused of misusing public funds connected to purchases of a scanner and coffee pot with city funds, as well as health benefits and a severance payment to the city administrator. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

California: Recall effort launched against Atwater Councilmen

A recall effort has been launched against Councilman Jeff Rivero, based on his recent decision to support the possibility of ridding the city of its Cal Fire contract and reverting back to a city-run fire department.

Georgia: Argument that moving from at large to district based system will harm recall ability of Fayette Board of Education

This article argues that a switch from at large to district voting for the Fayette County Board of Education would negatively impact the recall. Not a strong argument -- voters can currently vote against anyone, but now will only be able to go after their own district representative.

Idaho: Another attempt to recall Education Superintendent underway

Here. Earlier coverage here

Monday, January 9, 2012

Colorado: El Paso County Commissioner running for reelection and facing recall threat

Here

South Carolina: Still trying to recall the Governor, though state doesn't have a recall law

Conservative activists are once again laying the ground work for a recall of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (here's the website). As mentioned before, they recall effort facing a few challenges, most notably that they state does not have a recall law. There is a bill in the state legislature to establish a recall, requiring a two third's majority in both houses plus a state-wide referendum. There is some debate over whether the bill should include all officials (which the Governor claims to support) or if it just should include the Governor.



Wisconsin: Recall proponents tactics in not revealing Gov. Walker recall numbers

A National Journal Hotline entry notes the tactics behind holding on to the numbers.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Massachusetts: New pro bono attorney for Lawrence Mayor recall effort

They are on their fourth attempt to get a recall on the ballot, and now on a second attorney.

Colorado: Details on two Prowers County Hospital District Directors recalls

Some more details on the upcoming recall election of twohttp://www.lamarledger.com/news/ci_19690269 Prowers County Hospital District Directors. The election will be a one day/two vote process. First is a yes or no recall vote. Then voters choose replacement vote. They will have three candidates to choose from -- though the article is unclear if each of the replacement candidates are running in both elections (the two director recalls are separate).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wisconsin: GAB estimates $9 million cost to gubernatorial recall

Here. Others articles note that the $9 million cost only refers to a non-primary recall. Senator Robin Vos claims that the recall might double in price to $18 million with a recall.

Washington: Judge set to rule on Spokane Prosecutor recall

The judge is going to decide if the recall can go forward. Washington has a malfesance, etc. standard, so the judge can throw this recall out if he likes. Interesting to note that this was the same judge who greenlit the Spokane Mayor Jim West recall in 2005.

Tennessee: Challenge to state law in Chattanooga mayor recall

Still no clarity down south, as the Chattanooga Election Panel is suing to challenge the state law on the recall. Weird problems with that law. At the same time, the recall leader was one of the first to put in papers to run for mayor

Wisconsin: Judge orders GAB to be more aggressive in vetting process

Following up on the earlier Mickey Mouse signature issue, a circuit court judge ruled that the GAB has to be more aggressive in vetting the signatures. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the ruling does not include an injunction and is based on state law, not the equal protection arguments made by the plaintiffs. The ruling appears to throw it into the GAB's court. Here's some detail on what it could cost:


In court, Kennedy testified that entering signatures into a database and looking for duplicates could take eight extra weeks for his staff. He also said hiring an outside vendor to search for duplicates could cost $94,000 - and even then there was no guarantee the vendor's software would work on handwritten signatures. Davis pointed out that the board could ask the Legislature for more money for staff and get the job done faster.

DC: Council member facing recall petitions resigns after indictment

Council member Henry Thomas, facing threats of recall, has resigned after he was indicted. There are still two more recall petitions out there in DC, one against the Mayor, the other against another council member.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

California: Strange lawsuit seeks to stop Shasta Lake recall

Here

Non-Recall Op-ed: Do Better or Get Out -- Presidents improve in reelections totals or lose

Here's my op-ed in The Daily discussing the little-noticed fact that presidents seeking reelection either almost uniformly improve on their original election totals or lose the race (hence, "do better or get out).

A couple of additional thoughts, some recall related:

This rule seems to occur on both the Electoral College and popular vote levels. Only Woodrow Wilson bucked the trend, and if not for the bizarre interaction between California Governor and recall hero Hiram Johnson and 1916 Republican Presidential candidate Charles Evans Hughes we may not even have that one (plus an asterisk for James Madison -- the added some states). Also, Teddy Roosevelt's backing of the recall in 1912 was a factor in the Republican Party split (I'll have to write about that another day -- I think the third term arguments about that race are overrated by historians).

I was surprised that Andrew Jackson actually did worse in the popular vote in 1832 than he did in 1828 -- I always thought of his reelection against the the Great Compromiser (now, that awesome nickname would be seen as an insult) Henry Clay as crushing, but apparently not as big as his original crushing election. Of course FDR did worse in terms 3 and 4, but that's a horse of a different color.

Since other Executives (in both other countries and the US) regularly beat the "do better or get out" phenomena, there's no reason to think that Obama couldn't buck the trend, but there's a reason the trend exists.

Texas: Calling all Lawyers! New Braunfels City Attorney backs up Council's refusal to schedule a recall

More on the New Braunfels City Council recall. A bit of background -- petition had enough signatures, but the City Council refused to schedule the recall. Now the City Attorney is backing up the council's interpretation, and saying that the Council doesn't have an obligation to ccall for the election. On to the Lawyers! As we saw in Jasper, Texas, there is no way this holds up in court. Can't say it's a good way of stopping a recall, but it is a great method of enraging the recall proponents.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Montana: First Recall Casualties of the year -- two Beartooth Electric Trustees resign

We have our first recall result of 2012 -- two Beartooth Electric Cooperative Trustees, John Prinkki and Joe Kern, have resigned from the board of directors in the face of a recall set for January 28. Some details about this recall here. The two claimed the hiring attorneys and consultants to fight the recall would cost $15,000 and the vote would be another added expense.

They said they could not afford to hire attorneys and consultants to fight the allegations against them. They estimated that expense at $15,000.  They said they also did not want to cause members the additional expense of a recall vote. The big issue was increasing the debt limit on a generating station. Three other BEC trustees who supported the Highwood plant were ousted at BEC's annual meeting last September.

Arizona: Tombstone recall set for March 13

I'll update once I know more -- I can't find out who or why just yet. Waiting for approval from the Tombstone News.

Arizona: Palominas Fire District set for March 13

Palominas Fire District Board Chair Debbie Stoner will face a recall vote on March 13. A petition to recall the Board Clerk failed, while another recall Board Member Craig Duncan had enough signatures to get on the ballot, but he resigned on Dec. 1.

California: Shasta Lake City Council recall set for April 10

Sounds like it was a fun meeting

Nevada: Las Vegas City Council recall set for January 31

Here

Michigan: Pontiac Mayor recall language approved

The Oakland County (Michigan) approved recall language by a 2-1 vote against Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski, elected in 2009. Petitioners are claiming that the mayor has a conflict of interest because he is both the city's mayor and a paid consultant to the city's emergency manager, Louis Schimmel. Supporters have 180 days to collect 3,237 signatures.


Some interesting details here:
Jukowski was elected in 2009 and has always worked under an emergency manager, with no authority over the city's operations and zero pay since mid-2010. Schimmel hired him as a consultant in September and bumped his pay in December to $50,000 a year, plus benefits. The last mayor in Pontiac who didn't operate under an emergency manager made $120,000 a year, plus benefits.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Idaho: Long look at the state's plan to revamp technology and teaching

The state education commissioner Tom Luna is facing a recall threat. Here's a bit of background on why he is controversial.

Kansas: Shawnee County Treasurer recall moving to courthouse steps

Petitioners are on the steps of the courthouse looking for signatures.

Texas: New Braunfels mayor calls for Charter Reform

The New Braunfels City Council's decision to refuse to schedule a recall (which will likely have no practical effect), has led for calls for a Charter Revision Commission to fix the problems with the recall.

Wisconsin: No Roger, No Rerun, No Recall? Barrett and the unusual nature of the recall Rematch/Rerun

As we heard earlier this week, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the losing Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2010, is considering running in the recall against Governor Scott Walker. Right now, the Republicans are discussing whether Barrett can run in both for reelection and in the recall at the same time (I imagine this might not be a crystal clear answer), and the unions are trying to push him out of the race. However, Barrett's move allows us to revisit a perhaps surprising point about recalls -- they are rarely a rematch.


 In the Wisconsin Senate recall fight, only one race (Randy Hopper versus Jessica King) was a rerun of 2008. King just barely lost the 2008 battle, but was triumphant in the recall rerun. There were others discussed but none materialized.


Of the other 31 state legislative recalls, I only know of one, the 1914 recall of Edwin E. Grant of California (see the link for more details on that bizarre race -- this post is very similar to the the earlier post) was a rerun. I don't know the details on some the other races, and the Michigan replacement votes take place months later, so huge asterisks on those.


I haven't done a full search on the 151 recalls from last year, but I think there were only a handful (I see this one) There have been a few noteworthy ones including these two. But it is still unusual. The more prominent recalls were not reruns.


That’s not to say that losing candidates don’t think of it all the time. After the bitter 1994 Senate election battle, Michael Huffington allegedly wanted to try and recall Dianne Feinstein. As you can see in this story, it was quite temporary. It could be argued that Richard Riordan’s desire to get into the 2003 recall (which was short-circuited by Schwarzenegger) was also a “second bite of the apple” (Riordan lost the Republican primary in an upset in 2002), but Riordan didn't win the primary and didn't end up running in any case.


Why doesn’t the rerun happen more often? It is not that losing candidates are chastised. Many losers go back to the well repeatedly. On the national level, in the days before primaries, we use to see the parties regularly renominate losing candidates, like Henry Clay,William Jennings Bryan or Adlai Stevenson  (who almost invariably lost the race again -- Grover Cleveland actually won a majority of the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College in 1888). The Republicans are known to choose their runner-up in the last election for their candidate (something that Mitt Romney is counting on). 


It is also not because voters don’t want to legitimatize a “naked power grab.” Voters have clearly been willing to endorse a strictly political recall that is run simply to benefit one party. 


Let’s hypothesize (and your guess is as good as mine). One reason: the candidate may appear to be a sore loser who is trying to reverse, at the public’s expense, a legitimate election vote against him/her. It can easily be seen as, or more likely turned into by the incumbent’s judicious campaigning, a personal vendetta. On a practical front, the opposition research has already been done by the sitting elected officials, and the incumbent already knows the dirt to use.


Another powerful disincentive is that voters may see it as hijacking the voter anger (and the volunteer efforts, if any) of the recall for personal gain. Witness Congressman Darrell Issa, who ponied up the dough that got the Gray Davis recall on the ballot, but abruptly dropped out as more popular candidates came in. 


Issa also points out the third possible negative repercussion of having a rematch. It gives the incumbent something to hit. The recall suddenly becomes a straightforward political race – it is no longer just about voter anger or a diffuse electorate. The elected official can present ads against the alternative. That Issa was the face of the recall did not help him. He had started to come under fire before he left the race.


None of these reasons are enough to prevent a good candidate from coming forward in a race -- and let's not forget that Barrett came close to winning in a terrible for his party. Clich├ęs abound in politics and one that is especially true is that you have to be in itto win it. But the paltry history of recall rematches suggests that there are good reasons for losers to shy away from getting involved in a recall. We’ll see what happens with Barrett.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Texas: Jasper Mayor facing recall in May, replacement for two ousted City Council members

Speaking of Jasper, the city is scheduled to hold a recall vote for Mayor Mike Lout in May. At the same time, the city will vote to replace the two council members who lost their seats in the November recall vote. Both of the council members are allowed to run in the replacement election, so they could conceivably replace themselves.

Texas: New Braunfels City Council refuses recall petitions for Council member

The New Braunfels City Council rejected the recall petition against Councilman Bryan Miranda, calling the petition "baseless" and "frivolousness." Last week, the petition was handed in with enough valid signatures to get on the ballot for a May recall vote. It is unclear -- and very doubtful -- that the council's actions will stop the recall from occurring.

We are seeing City Councils attempting (and failing) to throw up roadblocks to recalls after the signatures have been handed in. In Maine, the Berwick Selectment Board failed to schedule a recall for three members. The rules there just force the Town Clerk to schedule the recall.

We also saw the same attempt to stop a recall in Jasper, Texas. The case resulted in state and federal lawsuits, and an inevitable recall vote (2 of 3 members were removed).

Obviously, there may be a political value to delaying the recall, but hard to believe that the council's actions will stopped the recall from occurring.


Dist. 1 Councilman Richard Zapata abstained from voting, as did Dist. 5 Councilman Bryan Miranda (who was the subject of the recall). The decision to reject the results of the petition is coming under some scrutiny though. Councilman Zapata’s decision to abstain was out of concern that the decision violates the city’s charter. In fact, the charter says that after a valid recall petition is submitted (with the proper number of verified signatures) that Council has a “duty” to call for a special recall election, unless the council person in question resigns.
To be clear, the charter doesn’t stop City Council from rejecting the petition, but it also doesn’t provide any guidance as to the reasons that Council can reject what is often referred to as a “right” of citizens to recall their representatives as part of the democratic process.
So although Council may have rejected the petition, at least for now, they may still be forced to call for a special recall election in order to stay in compliance with local law. And there’s still plenty of time to sort all of that out. If there were to be a recall election, it wouldn’t happen until May, which is the next regular city election.
For much more on Council’s decision to reject the petition, be sure to tune in today at 12:30 for the Monday’s with the Mayor Show with Mayor Gale Pospisil. That’s today at 12:30 here on AM 1420 or streaming live online at kgnb.am.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Michigan: One more from 2011 -- putting total at 151

Missed this recall from February in my count -- Armada Township Treasurer Shannon Sheldon was recalled in February. I will update the major post on this to reflect 151 recalls in 2011 (and one more on the removal front).

Wisconsin: Bill proposed to outlaw paying for signatures on recall petitions

This is not a law that bans paying some one for petition gathering, but actually paying someone to sign the petition. Definitely sounds like a weird loophole.

Maine:Three Berwick Selectmen recall set for Feb 13

The three Berwick Selectmen recall continues to be face a slight delay. The selectmen had to vote to schedule the recall, but the Board could never vote to set a date (in each three instances, the selectmen facing the recall abstained, and the other two facing recalls voted against setting a time, thereby deadlocking the board 2-2). In practicality, this won't matter. The Town Clerk has to set them, and the recall will be held on February 13.

California: Two Council members facing recall in Greenfield, one more recall petition out there

Lots of doings in Greenfield. The city council voted to approve a merger of the Soledad and Greenfield police departments, leading to a referendum to block the merger. It also led to an attempt to recall to council members, for allegedly paying for a $22,000 audit of the wisdom of the police merger. This recall was led by an individual who already tried to recall both of those council members in the past.
The organizers needed 978 signatures to recall the council members, got 1.050. The recall must be set  by Feb. 7 or the Elections Department will schedule the vote. Cost is a factor -- the recall will cost $20,000 if held on the June primary day, $80,000 if held as a special election. Both of the council members are facing reelection in November.

At the same time, there is an ongoing attempt to recall Mayor John Huerta Jr. Proponents have until the end of January to turn in the signatures.

California: Shasta Lake City Council recall to be set for early April or mid-May

Here

Montana: Two Beartooth Electric Co-op board members facing January recall

Two members of the Beartooth Electric Co-op Board are facing a recall set for January 28. The recall proponents, Fix BCE, claim that the two members, including the former board president, refused to conduct an independent, expert and through study on phase two of the Highwood Generation Station. The members are considering resigning to save costs.