Thursday, July 4, 2013

California: Op-ed on the San Bernardino recall

Here's my op-ed on the San Bernardino recall, which I note may be a record for most officials facing a recall at one time (10).

The key point is not that record though, it is the discussion of conflict of interest charges in recalls, something we see all the time (just look at the Arizona post below). Specifically this:

Recall proponents have been very concerned with the fact that City Clerk Gigi Hanna, who is one of the officials facing a recall petition, is also responsible for validating the signatures. She has already made controversial decisions over when signatures can be gathered. While Hanna may be perfectly up to the job -- and she has claimed that she legally cannot recuse herself -- experiences in other jurisdictions throughout the country show that the proponents have very real cause for concern. There have been numerous instances of local officials working to subvert recall efforts against themselves and their colleagues, most prominently by refusing to schedule election dates for recalls. This type of subversion has occurred multiple times in the last two years alone, from Massachusetts to Alaska to Texas to Colorado, in some cases completely stopping the recall from occurring. California state law is better than most: It actually prevents officials from refusing to schedule a recall -- it mandates that a recall be scheduled if local officials refuse to act. 
However, while California law protects the voters, an official's actions can still cause great, sometimes insurmountable, difficulties for voters. In the past, delays in recalls and fights over signature verification decisions resulted in expensive lawsuits, which the petitioners had to finance out of their own pockets while elected officials were able to defend the sometimes questionable decisions using government funds.

No comments:

Post a Comment