Sunday, December 30, 2012

Non-recall op-ed on Ousting the Speaker

Here's an op-ed I wrote for The Week on the Republicans long history of removing their House leader.

Alabama: New legislation proposed on adopting recall

I've written on this specific proposal before. The recall law is proposed by a Democrat, and doesn't appear to have much chance of passage. It would require 25% of turnout, petitioners would have 90 days to get the signatures, and it would be a judicial recall or malfeasance standard.

AP story on the year in recalls

Here, with my comments.

North Dakota: Williston School Board member discuss recall

Williston School Board member Katie Peterson, discussing the issues of the recall

Colorado: 400 signatures gathered to recall three Evergreen Fire Protection District board members

Petitioners are claiming 400 signatures to recall three Evergreen Fire Protection District Board members, vice president Charlie Simons, secretary Jeff deDisse and treasurer David Christensen. Petitioners need 300 per board member.

The issue is a vote to build a fire training building, which residents say is inappropriate in aresidential and commercial neighborhood

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Year in Recalls -- 168 recalls in 2012; 509 petitions taken out

As it is this blog's second year, we are now looking at our second recap, and the number are pretty impressive. In 2012, there were at least 168 recalls in 93 different jurisdictions. Here's my article in The Week examining the phenomena.

This is an increase from last year, when there were 151 recalls. This year, I also compiled a list of how many times recall petitions were reported to have been taken out -- 509 times. There were also numerous reported recall threats, but I never saw a follow-through, so I didn't include those.

I should point out that I am fairly certain that there are almost certainly recalls that I missed, so the 168/509 numbers should be seen as a floor, rather than a ceiling.

Despite the fact that the single most noteworthy recall -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker -- failed to remove the official, as a whole, the recalls were extremely successful. 108 officials were bounced, with 82 being kicked out, and 26 resigning before the recall took place. As I pointed out last year, this fact is especially striking compared to the fact that the incumbent reelection rate in the US is at least over 75%.

To answer the biggest question I receive, I do not breakdown the recalls by party. This is simply because most of the recalls are on the local level, where the position is elected on a nonpartisan basis, and it is not readily apparent which party the official belongs to. Additionally, when there is a partisan position, the party label is frequently a misleading way of judging the recall, as many are not based on D v. R partisan motivations.

If you would look at the history, especially at the state legislative level where party is most obvious, you would see both parties are not shy about using recalls (for example of the 14 state legislative recalls from 1981-2008, most were launched against Democrats, and ethics played very little role in those recalls).

That being said, I would say that the majority of recalls that had a partisan basis (and it is a very small minority of the 168 and the 509) to them in 2012 were launched by Democrats or Democratic-supporting groups. The reason for that is simple -- recalls are generally used by the group that is not in office. The Democrats did very poorly in the 2010 elections. 

Some other interesting facts:
  • Recalls were held (or an official resigned in the face of a recall) in 20 states and the District of Columbia;
  • Since 2011, 25 states and DC have held recalls
  • The state with the most recalls was once again Michigan. Since the state changed its recall laws, we'll see if that holds up.
  • The only state level recalls bin 2012 were in Wisconsin -- the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and four state Senators.
  • 29 mayors faced recalls -- many of these mayors were elected as part of the city council, so the votes were not city-wide
  • 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.
Recalls continue to face barriers from administrative or judicial officials:
  • 22 times an agency or election commission prevented the recall from getting on the ballot (for reasons that did not include a failure to gain enough signatures.
  • 22 other times, the judiciary rejected the recall (most prominently in El Paso, Texas).
  • In one instance, in Holy Cross Alaska, the city council simply refused to schedule the recall. 
Despite the criticism of the recall, it continues to expand.
  • Five localities adopted the recall in 2012.
  • One locality, College Station, Texas, became the first jurisdiction that I know of, to change their recall from a political recall to a judicial recall or a malfeasance standard.
  • Michigan's legislature adopted a new law that may significantly curtail the use of the recall in the state. This came at the same time as their adoption of a Right to Work law. It should be noted that the recall changes were not approved by voters -- it would have been interesting to see how voters would have felt about the changes. As I note in The Week:
Following the Walker recall campaign, there was talk of recalls facing a backlash. Pundits were quick to cite a Wisconsin exit poll that showed 60 percent of voters wanted to limit the use of the recall to malfeasance or incompetence. Another 10 percent of voters wanted to eliminate the recall altogether. However, all the talk around that poll had one major flaw: 70 percent of voters might have touted opposition to the use of the recall, but that didn't stop 47 percent of voters from casting ballots to kick Scott Walker out of office.
The reasons for the recalls this year span the spectrum. The Wisconsin recalls were the most prominent, but there were plenty of others that received notice. Firing of city managers and police chiefs were very popular issues. The Fullerton, California recalls were very well followed. Others included the Mayor of Troy, Michigan, a big tea party supporter who was targeted for, among other things, some anti-gay comments.

Some of the more noteworthy ones including extramartial affairs by city council members, opposing another member's appointment of his girlfriend to the village counciltrashing a hotel room, one launched by the wife of a losing candidate and using Meth.  And for movie buffs, the Mayor of Truth and Consequences, New Mexico survived a recall. Even the ghost of Belle Starr couldn't help as there is now a new huckleberry in town: the mayor of Tombstone, Arizona was bounced and replaced by the owner of Johnny Ringo's bar.

Of course some times, the recalls failed to get on the ballot. Noteworthy among these was a Moreno School Board member who has been indicted on 11 counts, including rape, pimping, pandering and attempted murder. Petitioners simply didn't get the signatures.

In the face of the "Bermuda Triangle" nature of the recall, with this continue? No reason to think it won't. There have already been plenty of recalls scheduled for 2013, including three Council members in Poland, Maine who are facing a recall vote on January 3.

Monday, December 24, 2012

North Dakota: Two Williston School Board members targeted in recall



Two Williston school board members, Monica Chamley and Katie Peterson, are facing recall petitions due to complaints about the superintendent. No word on how many signatures are needed to get it on the ballot.

Arizona: Three Bouse School Board Members voted out in November recall


A couple of stragglers in this year's recall total: Three Bouse School Board members, Virginia Beulke, Melissa Williams and Joyce Tucker, were all kicked out of office on November 6. The issue appears to be a vote to merger Bouse school district with Quartzsite.


Beulke lost 43.30-56.70%. Tucker lost 47.37-51.75%, and Williams lost 37.99-62.01%.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wisconsin: La Crosse Council President recall now on the ballot

Another surprising turn in La Crosse council president Audrey Kader recall. After tossing out a large number of signatures, petitioners were able to correct the errors (by adding in proper addresses) . They now have 169 valid signatures (they needed 158).

Arkansas: Fort Smith City Director-elect facing recall threat before taking office

Fort Smith City Director-elect Keith Lau, who hasn't even started in office yet, is facing a recall threat over an animal control ordinance. The former Chair of the Animal Services Advisory Board has threatened the recall. The Chair resigned on July 18 after sending a "lengthy and sarcastic e-mail" to a separate director

Petitioners can't try for the recall until Lau has served six months. Petitioner also claims that they woul need 237 signatures (35% of turnout from the primary), though it sounds like the actual number is 2,048 (due to the fact that the last general election for the seat was in 1996).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Utah: State Rep propose recall law, Salt Lake City Tribune cautiously backs idea

Utah doesn't have a recall law, but the Salt Lake Tribune is calling for one. This is due to the Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife recall discussion (he had an affair with a woman he was counseling).  State Rep. Lee Perry is set to propose a recall law.

Michigan: Opinion piece praising the recall changes

Here

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Michigan: Jackson Mayor facing recall petitions


Jackson Mayor Martin Griffin is facing a recall petition (language still to be approved). The issues appear to be his support of the city’s stormwater ordinance fee and his support for a payment upon the resignation of the former city Manager.

Michigan: Recall law signed into law by Governor


Michigan's Governor has signed into law the bill limiting recalls. The most prominent provisions are making the recall a one-step process, the moving the signature gathering timeframe from 90 to 60 days and limiting recalls to only Election Days in May and November. It would also prevent recalls in the first and last year of a Senators term (and six month each for Reps), and mandate "factual" charges, a very unclear term.

For some analysis of the provisions (I'll look at the law in further depth when I have some time), see here and here

Virginia: Loudoun County Supervisor facing threats of a recall trial


Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio is facing removal threats. The Arlington Commonwealth’s attorney office are investigating Delgaudio for allegations he misused county resources for political fundraising and campaigning.

Chairman of the LCDC Evan Macbeth said:

“Virginia does not have recall elections, but recall trials. As such, we’ve evaluated options, including a recall petition, in light of the law and the fact that there is a legal process and investigation underway now.”
I don't know the last time a recall trial was used in the state, so it would be interesting to see one.

New Mexico: Truth of Consequences Mayor survives recall vote


Truth or Consequences Mayor John Mulcahy survived a recall vote (perhaps the last of the year), despite losing 332-273 (54.8% in favor of removal). In order to ward off the possibly unfair advantage of a special election, New Mexico law requires that the votes in favor of a recall equal or exceed the number the official received in the election.

Petitioners needed 374 votes.
Mulcahy, 52, receives $550 per month as mayor.

One candidate for mayor claim that the recall was about Mulcahy's not supporting a city-sponsored site for a spaceport visitor center, for his ties to several influential developers, and for City Hall’s push to build a waste transfer station.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wisconsin: Schools Superintendent, who signed Walker recall petitions, facing election


Wisconsin schools superintendent Tony Evers, who signed a petition to recall Scott Walker is now facing a reelection race. Walker is officially undecided in the non-partisan race.

Oregon: Baker School Board members consider suit against recall petitioner for cost of election


Following the Baker School Board members recall in which the board chair Lynne Burroughs and member Mark Henderson both survived the vote, the school board is now considering a lawsuit to sue the petitioner to collect $10,000 for the cost of the recall. This suit sounds like a guaranteed loser.

The board claims that the petitioner claimed false reasons in her recall statement on the ballot.

The state statute deals with a candidate or political committee publishing falsities “with knowledge or with reckless disregard” according to the first subsection of the statute.
“Any candidate or political committee aggrieved by a violation of this section shall have a right of action against the person alleged to have committed the violation,” the law states in subsection 5.
The district has 30 days after the election to take action, the statute stipulates.

Maine: Three Poland Selectmen facing January 3 recall vote


Three Poland selectmen, Jim Fernald, Larry Moreau and Wendy Sanborn, are facing the first recall vote of the new year on January 3.

The issue was their decision to fire former Town Manager Rosemary Kulow.
     

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Michigan: Backer of Right to Work Law pledges help in recall drives

Dick DeVos, who helped kill the collective bargaining ballot measure, has pledged to financial support Republicans in recall fights.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wisconsin: La Crosse Common Council President Recall petitions tossed out


The attempted recall of La Crosse Common Council president Audrey Kader appears to be over, as the city clerk tossed out 148 of the 252 signatures. Petitioners needed 158 and got 104.

More than 60 percent of the signatures listed's Viterbo University's student union as their residence. These were tossed out (though if they also listed a dorm room, they were counted). Apparently, the clerk also cross checked with voter registration, and was able to certify 36 of the addresses.

Friday, December 14, 2012

California: Judge admonished over comments to rape victim

So far, there has been no discussion of a recall of Judge Derek Johnson, who called a victim's rape "technical" and handed down a sentence to the rapist of 6 years, when the prosecutors were asking for 16. However, this is exactly the type of judicial case that can lead to a recall. The two most recent judicial recalls (and they took place in the 1970s in Wisconsin) have a similar fact pattern. The one difference is that unlike for those judges, there won't be too many defenders.

Rhode Island: Block Island Health Service Board voting on adopting a recall law


Here

Bermuda: Official calls for recall law

Here

India: Mangrol Nagar Palika Chairman survives recall


Here. Seems like he won overwhelmingly, with 7,243-3745.

The officer added that the voting was held about 11 months after 17 of the 20 members of the Mangrol Nagar Palika moved a no-confidence motion against the elected chairman Ashok Jain.
"The no-confidence motion was passed Jan 4. The proposal to recall Ashok Jain was forwarded to the district election officer and then the state government. When it passed each of these stages, the election to recall the chairman was held Wednesday. However, as only around 34 per cent people voted in favour of the recall, the chairman will retain his position," said the officer

California: Three Coastside Fire District Recalls set for April 9

Here

Michigan: Senate passes new recall law


The vote was 22-16. The significant changes include cutting down the recall limit from 90 to 60 days, and state Senators are exempt in the first and last year of a term. You can see my full analysis here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Maryland: Rising Sun Town Commissioners adopt recall law


The Rising Sun Board of Town Commissioners passed a charter amendment giving the town the recall.

The precipitating event was a censure of Mayor Robert Fisher for failing to obey a gag order on the town’s water and sewer struggles.

This recall is limited as it first requires an official censured by the board, as well as a petition with 20% of registered voters.

Maine: Three Kittery Councilors facing recall threats


Three Kittery councilors, George Dow, Leo Guy and Jeff Brake, are facing recall threats over their dispute with other city officials which led to the resignations of both the Town Manager and the Police Chief.

The town manager claimed that the three councilors were micromanage him. The petitioner claims that the severance packages and the search for replacements were unneeded expenses (though it does not sounds like a lot -- severance was $18K for the both of them).

Petitioners need 15% of registered voters, which appears to be about 500 signatures. A fourth councilor is not eligible for a recall because he hasn't served six months.

Utah: Brigham mayor affair leading to drafting of a recall bill


An affair by Brigham Mayor Dennis Fife is leading to calls for his resignation, and is leading one state legislator to draft a recall law for the state. The affair was with a woman he was counseling as a bishop.

California: Some postscripts to the San Fernando recall

Some fallout from the San Fernando recall. Battery and vandalism charges against former councilwoman Maribel De La Torre were dropped because former San Fernando Mayor Mario Hernandez, failed to appear despite a bench warrant issued for his arrest.

India: Voting takes place in first Rajasthan recall


The recall was against Chairman Ashok Jain. No word yet in the results, though 65.71% voted (11,129 votes).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Michigan: My oped in The Week on the difficulties of a Gubernatorial recall

This expands on my prior post on the difficulties unions would face if they try to recall the Governor and legislators.

Michigan: Judge rules Troy must hold replacement vote in May


A judge ruled that Troy does not need to hold a replacement vote in February (as ordered by the Secretary of State) but can't wait till November (as the city was hoping).Instead the replacement vote will have to be held in May. The state is debating whether to appeal. Here's the key provision:

"The court agrees with the Secretary of State" that state law requires that a special election be held “on the next regular election date,” the judge said from the bench. “However, the court finds it would be virtually impossible for the election to be held in February because of the holidays,” which would not allow enough time for candidates to obtain petition signatures and file to be on the ballot, she said.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tennessee: Court throws out defamation suit by recalled Nashville former City Councilwoman


Nashville former Councilwoman Pam Murray, who is the only person to lose a recall in Nashville history, lost a defamation suit filed against a number of opponents, including her successor Jamie Hollin, who beat her in the 2009 recall. h

The Tennesse court of appeals upheld a lower court ruling, which threw out the charges. The petitioners claimed that Murray actually lived in Detroit working for a methadone clinic. After Hollin didn't run for reelection in 2011, Murray ran and lost.

Oregon: Two Baker School Board members survive recall vote


Two Baker School board members, Chair Lynne Burroughs and Mark Henderson, survived recalls on Tuesday. Burroughs won  2,180 votes to 1,815, and Henderson survived 2,313 votes to 1,753.

Michigan's Right to Work Law and potential recalls

Michigan's passage of the Right to Work Law seems to make the state a fertile for future recall attempts, from the Governor on down. Right to Work is a huge threat to unions, arguably more so than the laws passed in Wisconsin last year. Not only has there been recall threats chanted in protests in Lansing, but the legislature apparently recognizes the danger and is trying to make significant changes to the recall law.

Furthermore, by all rights, Michigan should be the most fertile ground for a gubernatorial recall this year. The state is almost the ground zero of the recent recall boom -- last year it was home to almost 20 percent of the recalls around the country that made a ballot. This year saw a drop off, but it was still home to 24 recalls. Michigan has also been the home of numerous recalls of state legislators. Four state legislators have faced recalls (two in 1983, one in 2008 and one in 2011). Three of those legislators were removed.

And yet, there are some serious hurdles that might make a Michigan Gubernatorial recall (not to mention a Senate and House recall) less likely to occur.

1) The basic fact that unions might shy away from the recall after Wisconsin. There is no question that the unions came away the losers in the Wisconsin recall fight. They spent a whole lot of money, and they failed to oust Walker, only succeeded in capturing the Senate for a brief time, and failed to reverse any of the changes  in the law. Without some deep pockets backing a recall threat, it may be next to impossible to get a recall on the ballot.

2) The signature total would be much greater. Michigan simply has a lot more voters. Wisconsin needed 540,000 valid signatures. In Michigan, the number to get Snyder on the ballot would be 806,522. The time period is a little longer (90 days for Michigan, as opposed to 60 days for Wisconsin), but not enough to make a difference. In fact, there have been attempts to recall Snyder, and they have failed by a large margin -- one got 500,000 signatures.

3) Wisconsin's signature verification laws are much easier, therefore you would need a bigger cushion of signatures to get that recall through. Wisconsin only required that the signers be eligible voters; Michigan requires registered voters. This greatly increases the likelihood of failure, and boosts up the amount of signatures needed. The rule of thumb has been 15% invalids.

But these reasons pale to the last one:
4) Michigan's recall laws are much different than in Wisconsin or California. In both of those states, the replacement vote happens immediately. Therefore ousting Scott Walker or Gray Davis would result in a quick change of control. Not so Michigan.

As it stand now, Michigan has a two-step recall process. First comes the vote on removing the officials. Months later is the replacement is chosen in a second vote. In the mean time, who replacing the Governor? The Lieutenant Governor. If the Lieutenant Governor is recalled as well, what happens? Who knows. One, there would probably be a lawsuit to decide if the LG gets to take the job even though they lost the recall. Two, the next two in line if the LG is removed are the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. Both of those individuals are also Republicans.

The other problem is that even a successful recall doesn't end the battle. The second vote could very well go in favor of the Republicans. This just happened in 2011. The unions backed the recall of Republican House Representative Paul Scott. But the Republicans got the last laugh. A new Republican easily won the February replacement vote. The same thing can happen here.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign breaks down campaign spending; 69% of independent expenditures were for negative ads


New detailed report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign -- $68.8 million of spending in the 2011 and 2012 recalls were paid to out-of-state vendors. This is from the $101 million spent by candidates and interest groups. It does not include the estimated $31.3 million spent by "phony issue ad" groups, which could keep their fundraising and spending secret.

One big caveat on the $68.8 million figure -- a lot of that money came back into the state, because it was spent on TV and radio ads:

More than half of the total candidate and group spending – about $56.1 million – was used for television and radio ads so a substantial portion of the money paid to out-of-state outfits to produce and place those ads came back to the Wisconsin media outlets that aired them.
The report has a nice, detailed breakdown of the spending, including a look at the "accentuate the negative" angle of the campaign:

...69 percent, or $30.6 million, of the total spent by independent expenditure groups was for negative broadcast ads, mailings and other electioneering activities and $13.9 million or 31 percent was spent to support a candidate.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Michigan: Petition language approved for Charlevoix City Council recall

Here. Three members are facing recall petitions over a community stove.

California: Friends of Dana Point Library hold election


The recall was stopped by a judge.

Washington: Two Democratic State Senator align with Republicans


Two Washington Democratic state Senators have aligned with the Republicans. I haven't seen anything about the use of the recall, but it should be note that in 1981, there was a recall of a state Senator in Washington for flipping parties. It was decided (I never found a case on it) that despite Washington having a malfeasance standard, the recall could go forward.

Michigan: Detroit News editorial about Mayoral recall and propose Michigan changes


Here

Michigan: Third Charlevoix City Council members


A third Charlevoix City Council member, Dennis Kusina, is now facing recall threats over the construction of a community fireplace. The other three members and the mayor cannot face a recall just yet, as they were just reelected in November. The linked story has a picture of the proposed fireplace.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Michigan: Possible recall targets from right-to-work law


The proposed Right-to-Work laws are leading to recall threats (and proposed changes to the recall law) in Michigan, though labor officials are saying that it is
 Sen. Pat Colbeck, R-Canton, a first-term senator with strong tea party backing; Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, whose district has strong labor ties, and Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake Township, who has expressed congressional ambitions.
Richardville face recall threats last year as well.

Louisiana: Second recall petition appears to get Heflin mayor recall on the ballot


Quite a turn of events in the recall of Heflin Mayor Judy Tillman. And original petition was certified with 69 signatures (they need 66), and a December 8 recall was set. A judge than invalidated the recall in August, finding that four signers did not live in Heflin.

But, a second recall petition was filed in September, containing 81 signatures (78 certified). Here, it seems that there was a drop in voters, and they needed 62 valids. So the recall is now set for April 6.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wisconsin: GAB looking for new administrator; signers of recall petition need not apply

Interesting aside here:

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) is looking for a new administrator of its elections division. Included in the job description is a notice that anyone who signed a recall petition for a state officeholder in 2011 or in 2012 will not be hired.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Michigan: Analysis of proposed changes to recall law

I've mentioned that Michigan is the nation's leader in recalls (a position backed up here). Now, members of the legislature are suggesting major changes to the law, and it has already passed one committee. One of these changes is straight out common sense. Others are both a form of incumbent protection and begging for an increase in litigation.  Let's look through them:

1) Change the recall vote to a one day election. Currently, Michigan uses a two-day process. The recall is an up or down vote on the elected official. If the official is ousted, there is a replacement vote is held at a later date. Many states with recalls use this two-day process, but most of the states that are the big users of recalls (California, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado) use the one day election. There's a good reason to promote the one day recall -- a two-day process jacks up the cost (the Miami-Dade recall -- which also had a run-off, was estimated to cost $15 million).

From the legislation, it looks like Michigan is looking for a Wisconsin-style recall, where the recall operates as a straight new election. California's recall is different, as it has an up or down vote on the official, and, on the same ballot, has a replacement vote.

I believe this change would help incumbents. It gives them an opponent to hit. However, the undeniable cost savings makes this idea a no-brainer.

2) Another piece of legislation would require a "factual" determination of the charges. The Board of Elections to determine whether the charges in the recall petition are accurate. Currently, Michigan law has a board decide whether the petition language is clear (which itself takes time), but does not have a check on factual accuracy. How they determine the facts is of course a matter of great debate. We can only say for sure one thing -- Having them decide accuracy is basically begging for lawsuits on every recall. This helps scare off challengers, and increases the cost of trying to get a recall on the ballot -- which already may be the single biggest factor in recall races.

3) Recalls would only take place in May and November. This is probably argued as a money saving measure, but this may be a big incumbent protection move. I have to delve into this year's numbers, but I believe that recalls held as a special election are much more likely to succeed. (As an aside, the law is very unclear how this would operate -- it also says that the recall should be held on the regular election before the 95th day after the petitions are submitted).

4)  There is also a proposal that the no recalls can be held in first and last six months of a term. I'm puzzled by this change, as I (and all the sources I've seen) thought this was the current law. It is certainly true that this would help incumbents.

Note this statement by one of the supporters. I assume he is talking about recall petitions, not actually recall races:
“In a one and a half-year time frame, we knew of 165 township officials facing recall,” said Tom Fraser of the Michigan Townships Association. “And school districts suffer the same type of situations.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

California: Oceanside recall "nearly likely"


Wisconsin: Senate Majority Leader proposes changing leadership of the GAB to political appointees


Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who survived a recall in June, has proposed changing the Government Accountability Board, replacing the six retired judges who serve with political appointees. There doesn't seem to be any full proposal on the table, but we probably can be sure of one thing -- it will be a total disaster for voters -- either it will be seen as favoring the party in power, or (if it is like NY where the two parties share control) it will be unfair to insurgents, independents and third parties.
Unsurprisingly, the 2011 and 2012 recalls are the basis for the complaints:.
Republicans thought the board did not do enough to identify problem signatures on recall petitions, while Democrats argued the board took too long to review petitions and order recalls.
The board uses a "byzantine" process to select members, which sounds like the best way to do it:
For each opening on the board, a panel of four appeals court judges - selected at random - reviews applicants and makes recommendations. For an opening, they forward at least two names to the governor, who must then select one of them to sit on the accountability board.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

India: First recall in Nagar Palika targets the Chairman

India had discussed adopting a recall before, and it seems that the state of Nagar Pailka (or Mangrol Nagar Palika) will be having an election. NP Chairman Ashok Jaim is facing a vote in his district on December 12.

They call this a public referendum to ratify a no-confidence motion. The law is the Rajasthan Municipal Act 2009. According to the article:

"this is the first occasion in the state when such an exercise is being undertaken for which the state election commission has issued a public notification."
Also:

Sources said that the councillors blamed Jain, who was elected as an independent candidate in November 2009, for under performing.
When contacted, Jain said that the allegations levelled against him were totally "politically motivated" and he was targeted because of his works in the favour of public.

Michigan: Philip Mastin, First Michigan state legislator to face recall, dies


Obituary about Philip O. Mastin Jr., who lost a recall in 1983. Mastin and another state senator were both kicked out (though the other Senator resigned).

Wisconsin: Petitioners claim that La Crosse Common Council President challenge to petitions is frivolous


Looks like the dispute over the recall of La Crosse Common Council president Audrey Kader isn't ending soon. Kader has challenged the petitions, noting that 60 percent listed a local college's student union and student mailing address as their residential address. Petitioners (a group called Restore La Crosse and apparently is led by the tea party) claim that the challenge is frivolous and that a postal address should be fine. 71 percent of the petitions were signed by students living on Viterbo.

Note that Kader, council president since 2009, won her third straight four-year term in 2011 with no opponent.

Idaho: Glenns Ferry mayor facing March 12 recall vote


Glenns Ferry Mayor JoAnn Lanham is facing a recall election slate for March 12, 2013. The recall threats apparently stated three years ago. Petitioners claim that Lanham, who is in her seventh year, lacks management and budgeting skills, and is irresponsible with taxpayer money. They also claim that she doesn't enforce city ordinances like requiring landowners to fix the sidewalks on their property.