Sunday, June 30, 2013

Florida: Petition to recall Senator Marco Rubio out there

The petitioners are pushing forward with a recall try against US Senator Marco Rubio for his stance on immigration issues (petitioners are on the right, opposed to the immigration reform provisions). The article notes that the petition is certain to fail, though he doesn't note that even if, somehow they got enough signatures, it would probably be rejected due to the (probable_ lack of a recall option against US Senators and the fact that Florida has a malfeasance standard (which the Rubio claim would almost certainly not meet).

Poland: More on the Warsaw Mayoral Recall

The rules require 60% of those who voted in the last election to vote in order for the recall to count. Could result in a battle like the one in Romania, where the president survived by having his supporters boycott the ballot.

North Carolina: Crazy details on the Ronda Mayoral recall

Lots of detail about the recall battle in Ronda, as Mayor Victor Varela is suing the petitioner Kevin Reece, claiming (among other things) that the Reece is part of an international cockfighting ring. Reece is alleged to have opposed animal control and nuisance ordinances due to his role in the ring.

There's plenty more in here, including allegations that the wife of the mayor was videotaped smoking marijuana by a teenager hired by Reece. The town is also reported to have about 420 people, to make that marijuana connection clear. Reece's late wife ran and lost against the Democrat Varela in his initial victory. Varela won reelection in 2011 with more than 69 percent of the vote.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Virginia: Signatures handed in for Isle of Wright supervisor recall

The recall attempt against Vice-Chairman of Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors Byron "Buzz" Bailey put in 300 signatures. They need 238. 

Colorado: Pro Morse group claims signature forgery in recall

They are only claiming 50 forged signatures, so that would not be enough to make a difference.

Wisconsin: Racine man fined $2,500 for forging signatures in Wanggaard recall

He plead guilty to two counts of Election fraud.

Louisiana: West Feliciana Parish Police Juror calls for recall of entire board over charter repeal vote

The terms are unfamiliar here, but the idea is clear. The West Feliciana Parish Police Jury voted to repeal the town charter 4-3. One of the members of the Police Jury called for a recall of all of the members of the board for overturning the charter.

North Carolina: Morganton mayor facing recall of utilities

Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen (who has been in office for 28 years) is facing a recall threat due to the increase in the deposit on utilities. Petitioner needs 25% of turnout. Can't remember any North Carolina city holding a recall.

The Week op-ed on Prop 8 decision and impact on Direct Democracy

Here. I'll probably write some more about this later. Suffice it to say, the impact on the initiative is very large, and there may well be spill over to the use of the recall.

Georgia: Fort Oglethorpe recall effort morphing into lawsuit

This recall was focused on the firing of the police chief and public works director. Now it looks like the petitioners are trying to use a lawsuit to push the officials out.

Arizona: Pecos North Homeowners Association pushes recall of three board members

Pecos North Homeowners Association is trying to recall three board members,Sharron Peek, June Peele and Joann Pompa. Good discussion of the Arizona law:
The law allows a recall process to begin when the board is presented with a petition signed by 25 percent of the eligible voters in the community, or 100 voters, whichever is less. The law applies to communities with 1,000 members or less. Pecos North has 168 members and, therefore, needed 42 signatures to trigger a recall. The management company now has 30 days, or until July 19 to hold an election.
In 2005, just four days after the law first passed, community members in Pecos North filed signatures to recall three board members. At the time members said there were problems with the property management company, City Property Management Co., and the board members refused to search for a new company. Three members of the board were recalled and the new board got rid of City Property Management.

Canada: Ontario Green Party calls for recall law

The Ontario Green Party voted to call for the adoption of a recall law -- modeled after the one in British Columbia. Note that British Columbia adopted the recall law in 1995, and have launched 22 recall attempts. None have resulted in a recall, though representative Paul Reitsma resigned in 1998 when it looked like the recall would get to the ballot.

Colorado: Hearing held on Morse recall protest

The basic complaint is that the language of the recall petition does not specifically state that the recall is a replacement election. (I'm unclear of what the petition actually says -- I see a stated petition online, but I'm not sure if it is the one that is up for debate). A Colorado Appellate Court decision seem to take a strict compliance view on the subject. As with many legislative recalls, we shouldn't be surprised if this goes up to the State Supreme Court for a final decision

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nebraska: Petitions taken out against three Central City School Board

Three Central City School Board members, including President Dale Palser, are facing recall petitions over the firing of the head football coach. The coach's father is on the recall committee. Petitioner will need 449 signatures to get on the ballot.

Colorado: State Supreme Court takes Center recall case

The battle over the still unresolved Center recall continues, as the Colorado Supreme Court has accepted the case, and will let the current board stay in place until it rules. We could have two big Colorado judicial decisions soon. There's also some unresolved insurance issues at play.

New York: Staten Island Advance editorial opposing recall


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

California: Three San Ysidro school board members facing petitions

Three San Ysidro School District trustees, Board President Jason M-B Wells and board members Jean Romero and Jose Barajas, are now facing petitions after accepting Superintendent Manuel Paul’s resignation instead of firing him. Paul was recently indicted on corruption charges. The difference between firing and resigning was a severance package that might have been worth more than $230,000.
One of the losing candidates in the recent board race is leading the recall efforts. Petitioners need 2,515 signatures by October 22.

California: Petitions ongoing in Yucca Valley recall

Yucca Valley Councilman George Huntington and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Lombardo are facing recall petitions for a slew of reasons, including benefit increases to the town manager, cuts to programs, spending on parks and support of a tax measure. Aparently, all the votes were unanimous. Petitioners have 200 signatures, they need 2,356.

Washington: Pacific Mayor Cy Sun kicked out in recall vote

Pacific Mayor Cy Sun, who came under heavy criticism for multiple actions during his tenure, has been ousted from office, 836-405 (67.4-32.6).

New Mexico: Las Vegas mayor facing recall petitions, possibly over fracking issues

Las Vegas (N.M.) Mayor Alfonso Ortiz Jr. is facing recall threats, though the reasons are unclear. Ortiz, who is in his second term, claims that it is due to his support for fracking (the council banned it, but he has refused to enforce it). The supporters don't specify the cause, claiming a host of issues. Ortiz and the primary recall proponent have tangled before. Petitioners need 937 signatures. They claim they have 1,500.

California: Look at leader of the Salinas Councilman recall effort

Here's a look at the leader of the recall attempt against Salinas City Councilman Jose Castaneda. Doesn't look like there will be a joint attempt to take him out of the school board at the same time. Petitioner needs 1449 signatures.

Colorado: Republicans trying to push Libertarians out of recall race

Republicans have blamed the Libertarian Party for two recent Democratic victories in the state Senate -- including John Morse (he won by 340 votes, the Libertarian candidate got 1320).
Colorado has a two step/one-day process (first an up or down vote on whether Morse stays or goes; followed by a replacement race with all candidates to succeed him). The Republicans have good reason to want to settle on one candidate and make the replacement race a one-on-one competition with a presumably unknown Democrat.  Colorado does not have a primary for recalls (as far as I know, only Wisconsin has such a procedure). At the same time, we've seen in Michigan in 2011 that even a successful recall can backfire -- as a official was kicked out, but replaced by another Republican. We'll see if the Republicans can push out any challengers.

Wisconsin: Op-ed from 1951 explaining the recall and two year/four year gubernatorial terms

Good blast from the past from Capital Times founder William Evjue. This was written on April 5, 1951. He is talking about the constitutional amendment to change the gubernatorial term from two years to four:
“A good argument might be made for the four-year term if we had an effective recall system in Wisconsin,” he wrote. “Without this, the people would be stuck for four years without recourse if a bad governor was elected.”
Although Wisconsin had already written the recall into its constitution 25 years earlier, Evjue presumably saw the large number of signatures required to launch a successful recall as too high of an obstacle for opponents of a sitting governor to realistically overcome. Only one recall election had occurred in the state by 1951 and the target politician, Sen. Otto Mueller, survived the attempt.
In 1967, three years before Evjue's death, Wisconsin voters did finally approve a constitutional amendment that lengthened the gubernatorial term to its current four years. A change in the recall law did not accompany it.

Wisconsin: Former State Senator Van Wanggaard announces for 2014

Wanggaard was the one senate loser in last year's recall races (which flipped the Senate Democratic). Wanggaard lost to John Lehman, who he beat in 2010. Redistricting has turned the district more Republican, so we'll see what Lehman does.

Michigan: Chesterfield Township Supervisor facing recall threats

Chesterfield Township Supervisor Mike Lovelock is facing recall threats over a claim of lack of transparency (in the sale of public work trucks to his daughter's boyfriend) and for hiss support for some layoffs. The Sheriff's Department found no wrongdoing in the truck sale. Petitioners would need 3387 signatures.

Michigan: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Chairman/recall survivor running for vice chairman slot

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Chairman Dexter McNamara, who survived a recall vote as vice chairman, is now running again for the vice chairman slot. The tribe has faced other recalls, as Trial Chairman Ken Harrington was kicked out in 2010.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Arizona: Suit claims Councilman illegally transferred funds from recall committee to reelection race

The suit claims that Councilman Sal DiCiccio raised $176,799.50 to oppose a failed recall effort (never got the signatures), and then transferred the surplus funds to his reelection race.

Colorado: State Senator Giron recall gets its signatures validated -- will the 6% invalidation rate lead to lawsuit?

Very interesting result as the signatures in the recall against State Senator Angela Giron were verified. Unlike the Morse recall, which saw a 37.5% invalidation rate, the Giron recall saw a very high approval rate --- 13,466 were turned in and 818 were invalidated (6%). Petitioners needed 11,285 (got 12,648). 
Six percent is a very low rate historically, especially when you consider other recalls in Colorado. Due to the extreme difference in invalidation rates (which could be explained by several different perfect reasonable answers), a Giron protest would probably be extremely different from a protest by Morse (which seems to be very technical in nature).

Washington: Pacific Mayor recall set for Tuesday

This crazy battle looks like it's coming to a close. This story has some claiming it to be a close race, but the coverage up till now indicates a blow-out removal. We'll see what happens.

Friday, June 21, 2013

California: Big questions in the San Bernardino recall

Jessica Keating lists some of the big questions that have cropped up in the San Bernardino recall.

Colorado:Legal fight over Morse recall language continues

Here's some discussion about the legal battle that will hit on June 27 in the Morse recall. Two Republicans have filed in the race, with more to come.

Colorado: Lawsuits continue in Center recall


Arizona: Criticism of bill that Election Bill that provides strict adherence to recall laws

Tucson Citizen's Mark Evans writes:

The final change is perhaps the pettiest, requiring strict adherence to the laws governing the technical aspects of recall and initiative petitions, and adding a bunch of new requirements governing the order petitions must be sorted, exactly where certain language must appear on petitions and so forth.

California: Salinas City Councilman/school board member facing petitions, unclear for which position

Salinas City Councilman Jose Castaneda, who is under fire for holding on to his position as school board member in contravention of state law, is facing recall petitions. It is unclear if the recall is for his council position or his school board one.

California: More problems in San Bernardino recall

Continual problems with City Clerk Gigi Hanna as she reversed an earlier decision and invalidated signatures against Councilwoman Wendy McCammack.
The disqualification of signatures gathered against McCammack was based on the same interpretation of the city charter that led Hanna to decide on June 12 - in what recall proponents consider a reversal of an earlier promise - that signatures gathered as part of the recall campaigns against Penman and Councilmen Robert Jenkins and Chas Kelley were invalid.
Here's the problem: Petitioners can't start signature-gathering until seven days after publishing a notice that includes the targeted officials' response if the official requests it. McCammack made the request on May 23, but the office mistakenly thought her deadline was the 20th.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Colorado: Cyber issues plague Senate recall fight


California: Lake County Sheriff recall reports 90% of signatures

Petitioners in the recall of Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero report that they have 90% of the signatures needed (they claim 64000, need 7026). They have until Mid-August, but would need to hand in by June 26 to make the November ballot.

Maine: Old Orchard Beach recall stands

One of the six officials kicked out in the Old Orchard Beach recall got a recount after losing by 11 votes. Turns out it is now 19 votes thanks to the recount.

California: Ongoing Salinas recall effort tied into city secession push

The recall attempt against Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter has now led to an attempt to split the city (with the eastern section becoming is own city called Alisal). City Councilman Jose Castaneda's supporters have apparently led the efforts. This may not be that strange, as the Alisal area was only annexed into Salinas in the 60s. Castaneda is the city council member who refused to step fown from his school board seat, despite state law saying he has to.

Canada: Opposing the recall in Toronto

Despite a couple of embarrassing Mayoral scandals in Toronto and Montreal, the recall doesn't seem to be advancing up north.

Colorado: Morse hearing scheduled for June 27

Here -- I'd say the story has my opinions correctly, though I'm not a professor at Wagner (Senior Fellow at the Carey Institute).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Colorado: Denver Post calls recall "abuse of political process"

Here -- needless to say, they fail to note that the law specifically allows recall in for political reasons.

Utah: State legislators not interested in recall law

A meeting of the Government Operations Interim Committee saw no member supporting a recall, and several rejecting the idea. I'll have to look into this point:
Two Utah counties —Grand and Morgan —allow recall elections. However, Utah law changed in 2000 so that other counties can no longer adopt laws allowing recall elections. Perry said it may make sense to change the law again to allow local cities and counties to choose that option, even if legislators do not favor it for statewide officials.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Colorado: Morse recall signatures certified, but with 37.5% rejects, could there be trouble for Giron recall effort

The Colorado Secretary of State certified the signatures for the recall of State Senate President John Morse. Morse now has 15 days to protest. Morse is also protest the language of the petition.

The invalid rate was quite high, as 37.5% of the signatures were struck down (10,137 were verified out of about 16,198 handed in). Petitioners aren't complaining, as they easily surpassed the needed amount to get the recall on the ballot (7,178). However, does this spell trouble for the Giron recall? As I've mentioned before, petitioners handed in about 16.5% more signatures than needed. Normally, 15-20% is the safe range. But Colorado might have a stricter standard in judging these petitions. Perhaps a protest by petitioners would get more of those signatures approved, but nonetheless, a worrying sign for the Giron petitioners.

California: Discussion on whether recalls are worth it


Monday, June 17, 2013

Texas: Second Lubbock Councilman facing petitions

Councilman Floyd Price, who ran unopposed in 2012, is facing petitions, though the reason for the recall is as yet non-specific (does nothing for the community). Petitioners would need 508 signatures, and 10% of them would have to affirm that they voted for Price in the last election.

Poland: Warsaw Mayor may face recall this summer

Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz may face a recall this summer, as petitioners have have handed in 134,000 signatures (10% of voters). The recall would be on the ballot between August and October 6. She has been in office since 2006.

Petitioners include local government activists, political parties and labor union representatives. The prime issue seems to be new trash-collection rules, that include payment for waste disposal. Already, a Deputy Mayor has been dismissed over the issue. There's also issues over public transportation and fight of whether she had to pay more to visit the Wilanów Palace.

Under Polish law, the recall needs 400,000 votes to result in a removal. If the mayor is kicked out, the Prime Minister appoints an interim leader, and then calls a new election. The recall is estimated to cost zł.7 million (which looks to be $2.2 million)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Arizona: Controversial Election Bill tightens recall procedures

A controversial election bill which is awaiting the Governor's signature (or veto), has provisions that tightens recall procedures. From what I saw, the language demands a strict construction of existing law, which would seem to be a reaction to the 2011 Arizona Supreme Court decision allowing the State Senate President Russell Pierce recall to go forward. The Court held that recalls should be judge by a substantial compliance standard.

California: Political clan uses recall to further aims

This is about two recalls in LA County in 2008 (against Council members Robert Fierro-- who survived and Tina Baca Del Rio -- who did not). shows that power of the Calderon clan in local politics.

Alaska: Lindsey Holmes recall discussion brings up key points

State Rep. Lindsey Holmes is facing a recall threat over her party-switch. Since Alaska is a judicial recall state (requiring a showing of malfeasance), the recall is unlikely to get on the ballot. However, this article points out that even if it got there, problems would abound. Alaska does not have a replacement vote -- instead it has the governor appoint a replacement, who must be from the same party. But what party is that: The Democrats (she was elected as one) or a Republican (which she jumped to).

Wisconsin: Losing state Senator in 2012 recalls planning for rematch

Van Wanggaard, the sole loser in the 2012 Wisconsin recalls, is planning on a comeback in 2014. No word if John Lehman, who defeated him will run for reelection in a redrawn (more strongly Republican) district.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Michigan: Two Algonac School Board Members facing petitions due to vote on bus service

Algonac school board members Sharon A. Stiltner and Timothy Idzikowski are facing petitions due to their vote on privatizing bus service. Petitioners need about 1,500 signatures per.

The new Michigan recall law prevents the other four board members from facing a recall at this time, as the law require a one year waiting period for recalls (unless the position is two years or less). Once they hit the time frame, the petitioners pan to go after the rest of the board.

Texas: Lubbock Councilman recall not fading away, set for November 5

The recall of Lubbock Councilman Victor Hernandez is set for November 5.

California: San Bernardino officials claim that recall about water

The 10 officials (or some of them, its not clear) in San Bernardino facing recall petitions have put forth a counterpetition to try and strike names from the original petitions. The counter petitions argue that the recall is being undertaken by developers looking for a good deal on the city's water. The recall proponents deny this , and point to the city;'s bankruptcy as the reason fro the recall.

"I am opposed to the sale of the City's Water System to any private for-profit company," reads the counterpetition, paid for by a committee led by former Mayor Evlyn Wilcox. "I am opposed to the removal of any City official who is committed to keeping the City's Water System under the jurisdiction of and operated by The City of San Bernardino."

Maine: Feature on lone survivor of Old Orchard Beach recall

Bob Quinn is the sole surviving member of the Old Orchard Beach recall. Note that he voted against firing the Town Manager, did virtually no campaigning and was referred to as "Mr. Rogers of Old Orchard Beach."

Arizona: More info on that Phoenix ethical recall law

The Phoenix City Council was looking at adopting an impeachment power to expel officials who commit serious breaches. But instead, they've adopted an interesting modified recall that I've never seen before. The council will be given the power to set a recall in action (presumably bypassing the signature gathering).
The Phoenix New Times doesn't think much of the proposal, noting that:
Besides, state law already allows residents to collect signatures and force a recall election. The only change here appears to be the elimination of the signature-gathering process.
The teeth on this tough policy are starting to look pretty worn.
I think the New Times is underplaying the value of this. The signature gathering process is generally the major hurdle for recalls. This is a significant change that would make a recall much more likely to get on the ballot and and also short-circuit the top complaint when an official is expelled (that it was strictly political retribution). And once a recall's on the ballot...

North Dakota: Petitions out against Five Griggs County Commissioners

Five Griggs County Commissioners, Ron Halvorson, Ronnie Edland, Dennis Halvorson, Keith Monson, and Robert Johnson, are facing recalls over the decision to build a $3.5 million courthouse and emergency center, despite voters rejecting the plan three times.

Texas: Corpus Chrisiti mayor and three council members facing petitions

Four Corpus Christi City Council members, Mayor Nelda Martinez, council members, Mark Scott, David Loeb and Lillian Riojas, are facing recall petitions. One council member is not included in the threat. According to the recall proponent, the effort is because "they represent special interest."

Petitioners need 3,000 for each district candidate and 15,000 for each at-large one. According to the City Secretary, Corpus Christi has not held a recall in at least 30 years.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Maine: Effort underway to recall Auburn School Committee

After having their first attempt rejected due to technicalities, six former town councilors are trying to recall nearly all the members of the Auburn School Committee. The recall is targeting seven members. One member is not being targeted and the ninth school board member is appointed by the mayor, and it is unclear if that member is eligible for the recall. Petitioners need 2,395 signatures per member in 90 days. This would put the recall after the election. Note this:
That would put their deadline sometime in September — after the ballot for November's regular election is set. All seven School Committee seats, as well as all seven council seats and the mayor's seat, are up for election on November's ballot.
But the regular election may be the real target of the recall effort. Farrell said he and other former councilors hope to find willing candidates for school board seats while collecting recall signatures.
The targets are:: Ward 1's William Horton, Ward 2's Bonnie Hayes, Ward 3's Tom Kendall, Ward 5's Larry Pelletier and at-large representatives Francois Bussiere and Laurie Tannenbaum.

Arizona: Judge recuse self in Arpaio recall case

Arizona Politics has the detail

Wisconsin: Walker withdraws nomination to Board of Regents of student who signed recall petition

Some blowback here. Governor Scott Walker took back his appointment of student Joshua Inglett to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents (which he announced on Monday) after Inglett told a TV station that he signed a recall petition. Inglett was scheduled to be one of two student members on the 18 member board.
According to, which broke the story, Walker's office did search before the appointment, but Inglett's name was misspelled on the iverifytherecall site.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

California: San Bernardino Clerk invalidates signatures gathered early, apparently on her advice

A bit of an issue in San Bernardino, where there is an attempt to recall 10 officials (mayor, City Attorney, 7 council members, clerk). Petitioners began gathering signatures before the joint publication in a newspaper of the notice of intent to circulate the petition. According to the rules, petitions can only be circulated seven days after publication. However, according to the petitioners, the clerk first told them they can start collecting signatures before that date. She has since changed her position to match the city manager's.

Arizona: Phoenix City Council passes amendment that might expand ethical violation recalls

Haven't seen the actual bill, but from this story I'm guessing that this would allow the city council to effectively start a recall (sidestepping having the voters collect signatures.

 Another area that divided the council was its process for removing members found to have committed a major ethical violation.
They approved an amendment that would allow the council to refer the decision to voters through a type of recall election.

California: Four Long Beach City College Trustees facing recall threats over budget cuts

Four Long Beach City College trustees, President Trustee Roberto Uranga, Vice President Trustee Jeffrey Kellogg, Douglas Otto and Thomas Clark, are facing recall threats, but the petitioners have made numerous procedural errors, preventing the recall from starting. The board cut 11 arts and trade programs to save $6.4 million by a 4-1 vote. The only trustee to oppose the cuts is not facing recall threats.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Maine: Six Old Orchard Beach Town Councilors kicked out, 1 survives

Six of the seven Old Orchard Beach town councilors were kicked out in a recall. The recall was over the firing of a town manager. The fired manager was the 4th town manager in 10 years.

 Councilors Sharri MacDonald, Laura Bolduc, Linda Mailhot, Dana Furtado, Michael Coleman and Robin Dayton lost, though Coleman will demand a recount (he was down by 11 votes).
The one survivor was Robert Quinn. Here's the breakdown of the replacements:

Roxanne Frenette, a former town councilor, will replace Bolduc. Coleman will be replaced by Kenneth Blow. Dayton will be replaced by Jay Kelley. Furtado, who was elected last November, will be replaced by Joseph Thornton. MacDonald, who also is the state representative for Old Orchard Beach, will be replaced by former longtime Town Councilor Shawn O’Neill. Mailhot will be replaced by Malorie Pastor.

NPR on the Recall as the best way to scare a politician


Virginia: Embattled Isle of Wright School Board Member drops reelection race, but recall efforts continue

Isle of Wight County school board member Herb De Groft, who is underfire for sending racist jokes, has dropped his reelection efforts. However, he is not resigning,so the recall campaign (which may or may not be legal) is continuing.

Louisiana: St. Tammany Coroner stripped of financial authority

The recall against the Coroner, Patrick Galvan, continues.

Wisconsin: Petitions handed in for Racine Alderman recall

Petitioners handed in about 312 signatures in the effort to recall Racine Alderman Jim Kaplan. They need 243 valids. The issue is Kaplan's opposition to granting a liquor license to a proposed club. The petitioners have also highlighted votes on streetlight removal and concealed carry weapons.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Colorado: Difficulties in predicting recall outcome

Have to like how this piece mentions my great public private partnership theory of the Walker recall.

Wisconsin: Election bill drops changes to local recall

Looks like Republicans in the Assembly have mothballed their plans to gut local recalls in the state.

Colorado: A few points on the State Senator Giron recall signature totals and on multi-official recalls

As mentioned earlier, petitions were handed in to recall state Senator Angela Giron. Petitioners need 11,285 signatures and they handed in 13500 signatures. Here's some details on Colorado and the recall and the questions on the resignation possibility.

The signature total may point to a verification fight down the line. Two points to this: The rule of thumb is that petitioners need about 15% more signatures to safely survive a challenge. So, the petitioners here are just over the line. But, it could get a little more complicated when it is a high-profile recall -- perhaps the signatures get a closer look by a high-powered legal team.

The other point is that different states appear to have stricter signature checking method than others. I've noted that Arizona seems to have a very strict standard, one that has resulted in 40% of signatures rejected in some cases. Wisconsin, due to its law, has a very lenient standard.

If the recall does get on the ballot, we may see two state legislative recalls occur at once. On the local level, multi-official recalls in one election are a common occurrence. As you see in this link, multi-official recalls frequently result in a clean sweep, one way or the other (either all sides winning or all sides losing).

On the state level, we've seen multi-official recalls happen numerous times in the past -- North Dakota (1921) Idaho (1971), Michigan (1983) and Wisconsin (2011, 2012). Additionally, California has three recalls in 1995, though all were on different days. In North Dakota, Idaho and Michigan, the officials were all kicked out of office. In Wisconsin, while the explanation is a little more complex, there was a split in both 2011 and 2012.

Colorado: Petitioners hand in 13,500 signatures for State Senator Giron

This is about 20% above the needed total. Generally, 15% is the safety zone, but 20% in such a controversial recall may be close. I'll have more in a bit.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Washington: Some support for Pacific Mayor

Based on previous coverage, this one looks like an easy defeat, but here's a story noted some support for embattled mayor Cy Sun.

Wisconsin: $25 million Justice Center Project that results in 8 recalls on verge on being built.

Here's the story. The backstory is here -- the board chairman and seven supervisors were ousted in 2009 over their support for an earlier project (one supervisor survived the vote).

Colorado: Center recall election voided, new vote to be held

Big ruling in the Center controversy. The judge overturned the March 19 recall of the mayor and two city councilmembers, but ordered a new election in 90 days (which presumably would include a third council member who survived the vote.

However, the judge held that the vote fraud and intimidation charges (among others) were unsubstantiated or couldn't be proven.

Here's an excellent look at the backstory. For simplicity purposes, this is the key point for the plaintiff's original complaint:
“It is impossible to determine who actually won this election, given the massive breakdown in basic procedures. Of approximately 480 ballots cast, 301 absentee ballots were hand delivered with no record of who delivered them, a procedure that invites abuse. The votes on 364 of the ballots were counted in violation of the voters’ right to a secret ballot. This abuse of voter privacy is intolerable anywhere in Colorado, but it’s especially troubling in Center, with its continuing reports of voter intimidation and undue influence,” Marilyn Marks, President of Citizen Center, stated.
The report notes this comment in the ruling (which does not appear on the court's website):

Gonzales commented in his ruling: “While this Court cannot find that any violation of the secrecy of the ballot actually occurred, this Court has a duty under Taylor v. Pile to declare the Election void ab initio, simply because under the circumstances the secrecy of the ballot could have been violated. Taylor v. Pile does not require that a contestor of an election show that anyone actually learned how an elector voted. Quite the contrary, the simple fact that votes were revealed on ballots being counted that still had their identifying stubs attached is sufficient.” 

This is another black-eye for elections in Saguache County. The County Clerk and Recorder was kicked out of office after she refused to turn over election results that might have shown her losing her election.

Colorado: State Senator Angela Giron recall petitions due on Monday

Petitioners need 11,200 to get the recall on the ballot.

California:Moreno Valley married Mayor and Councilwoman facing recall threat over school board member appointment

Mayor Tom Owings and Councilwoman Victoria Baca (who are married to each other) are facing petitions. A recall against a third member, Councilman Marcelo Co, failed to be approved (though should be a simple process to start over).

The recall is over an attempt by Owings, Baca and their supporters to void the over the appointment of a new school board member to replace Mike Rios. Rios was convicted of charges of pimping, pandering and insurance fraud, yet petitioners could not get a recall on the ballot against him.

Interesting comments by one of the people who are trying to overturn the appointment (Christopher Baca, Councilwoman Baca's brother):
Petition proponent Christopher Baca said Thursday, June 6, that the appointment disenfranchised 74,000 voters who couldn’t choose their new school trustee.
He said consolidating the election Nov. 5 will cost much less than the official estimated cost of $180,000 for a special election, perhaps less than $50,000. Any sum is worth the effort, he said. 
“You can’t put a price on democracy,” Baca said.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Colorado: Center Recall controversy continues, with testimony from handwriting expert


Colorado: Some details of the finanical donations on the failed Mike McLachlan recall

The big story is that a pro-McLachlan group received $30K from America Votes Action Fund, a major liberal super pack. There's also some of the usual comments about how shock people are by money being spent on elections.

Louisiana: Port Allen mayor targeted for recall

Petitions have been taking out against Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter with petitioners claiming she racially divided the city, hired her brother-in-law as the nonpaid chief of staff, terminated the CFO, boosted her salary $20,000, and tried to have the city pay for a $2500 trip to DC for the inauguration. Petitioners need 1,270 signatures (a third of registereds) in 180 days.

Wisconsin: Changes to local recall may be dropped

Here -- once again, recall changes are hard to push forward.

Maine: Breakdown of Tuesday Old Orchard Beach recall


California: San Rafael Supervisor recall moving forward with petitions

The recall against San Rafael Supervisor Susan moving forward, with complaints about her support for affordable housing redevelopment plan, and a failure to represent on a flood control plan, a new emergency services building and a host of other accusations. Petitioners need 6,368 signatures by September 17. The recall costs could be $254,712.

Colorado: Will Redistricting play a role in the Morse recall?

A new possible topic of discussion in the Morse recall. I heard from a reporter that there is some debate of whether the Morse recall should be held in the district he was elected in in 2010 or in the new district that exists following the redistricting.

Well, in the nothing new under the sun, this same topic was discussed in Wisconsin. It pays to remember that Wisconsin had also seen a very partisan (Republican-favored) redistricting in the years since the 2010 elections. Therefore, a holding that the recalls should be run in the new districts would have helped the Republicans. As you can see in the link, the GAB (the Wisconsin Election Commission) held that the recalls should be run in the old (no longer existing) districts. There is some discussion of the logic of the decision, but in reality it was decided by the legislature -- the language of the redistricting law said the maps would not take effect until the 2012 elections.

California: San Bernardino recall could cost $250K

If the 10 San Bernardino recalls will cost about $250,000 to put on, according to the registar:

 The cost for the Nov. 5 election, when the office of mayor and three council seats are up for election, is estimated at $245,000, he said. If that election was combined with a recall of  ten elected officials, the cost would rise to $467,000. The cost to verify 100 percent of the signatures collected on the recall petitions is $13,500. Verification of 3 percent of the signatures would cost $1,000.

UK: David Cameron outflanked on recall

See the thoughts of Labour MP John Woodcock here.

California: San Bernardino City Clerk back overseeing recall efforts

More strange doings in San Bernardino, where there is an attempt to recall 10 local officials. The City Council tried to change the charter to appoint the city manager to oversee the recalls, due to the fact that the City Clerk, Gigi Hanna, is also facing a recall drive. Hanna originally recused herself, but now notes that she had no right to step aside, and the council does not have the power to push her either.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Colorado: Money pouring in to the Morse recall

One group supporting Morse has already raised $97,500 (mainly from nonprofits and PACs). The recall proponents have raised $56,000. I'm trying to find out what was the most expensive election in Colorado's legislative history. Good chance it gets beat right here.

Michigan: Language approved for petition against Akron Village President

Carol Dworzecki is facing petitions for attempting to be paid for council meetings. The board had to make a determination of facts under the new Michigan law. 

Virginia: Continued debate in Franklin over whether the city has a recall law

Texas: Alpine Mayor facing recall petitions

Alpine Mayor Dr. Avinash Rangra is facing recall petitions backed by three former council members. Petitioners need 350 signatures. Petitioners claim that Rangra has held city council meetings in coffee shops and failed to handle the city's financial problems.

Wisconsin: Deadline starts for recall re-run of state Senate seat

One year after the big 2012 recalls, it looks like Republicans will not be challenging the sole Democratic victor, State Senator John Lehman. Today is the first day to file. Since the Republicans already control the Senate, they may not see the value of battling for the seat.

Wisconsin: 10 things that happened during the Recall

Here are 10 bizarre incidents that happened during the Walker recall fight.

Michigan: Two Algonac School Board members facing petitions

School board members Sharon Stiltner and Timothy Idziowski are facing petitions due to their vote to privatize bus service. Petitioners need 1500 signatures.

Utah: Attorney General scandal brings up recall bill again


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Arizona: Anti-Recall group pressing forward with lawsuit in Arpaio recall case

Not sure what their complaint will be now that the recall has failed to turn in signatures. This is from the Arizona Politics blog, which highlights a potential conflict of interest for the Judge.

Texas: Lubbock Councilman recall going to the ballot

The recall against Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez is moving forward. Petitioners handed in 586 signatures, they needed 448, and only 10 were disqualified.

South Dakota: Stunning end to Rapid City recall

The recall effort against Alderman Bill Clayton appears to have failed after petitioners hired two out-of-state, which is apparently not allowed under South Dakota law. Those 1700 signatures were tossed out, pushing the petitioners well below the 6200 needed to get on the ballot.

California: San Diego mayor recall effort missing candidate

The recall against Mayor Bob Filner is not going well. This article notes the lack of credible challenger.

Colorado: Morse and Colorado's unique resignation angle

As mentioned earlier, the Colorado state Senate President John Morse recall runs into a unique provision (at least for recall states) that could allow the Democrats to keep the Morse seat without a recall. However, the provision requires some explanation: The trick would only works if Morse resigns before the recall is certified to go to the ballot, and a stray sentence might limit it even further.

Here's how it appears to work. Colorado's Constitution (Article V section 2)  requires that any state legislative vacancy be filled by a "member of the same political party..." Colorado fills its vacant state legislate seats by appointment by the county committee, not by special election. Therefore, if there is a resignation, a Democrat must be selected to fill the seat. But timing the resignation is critical.

The recall provision has a separate provision that allows an official to resign within five days after the recall has been certified (the legal term is: sufficiency of the recall petition shall have been sustained). This is a standard provision in recalls throughout the country. It is designed to allow the candidate to get out of the race. We see resignations happen occasionally, though most recall resignations occur before they get to the submission stage. If the official resigns after five days from the sufficiency finding, the recall goes forward and the vacancy spot-filler is ousted. For Morse, that means he likely has over a month to decide to resign (15 days for certification, 15 days to protest five days after certification).

However, there is also a strange provision (Article XXI , Section 3) that says:  "If such officer shall offer his resignation, it shall be accepted, and the vacancy caused by such resignation, or from any other cause, shall be filled as provided by law; but the person appointed to fill such vacancy shall hold his office only until the person elected at the recall election shall qualify.". I would imagine that it is referring to a post-five-day period resignations, but I'm not sure if that's clear, and it certainly could be the subject of lawsuits. 

What is clear is that a resignation would have to happen soon. All reports suggest that Morse will not resign. The benefit of such a resignation would be very limited. Currently, the Democrats hold a 20-15 advantage in the Senate, so a Morse loss would not deprive them of a majority (even if the Angela Giron recall would get on the ballot and succeed, the Democrats would still have a majority).Politically, the benefit would also be limited in 2014. The party's candidate in the seat (especially if it's the same person who would replace Morse) could face a backlash for gaining the office through what could be presented as an underhanded means. From what reporters have told me, Morse does not look like a cut-and-run guy, especially in a district that he has won twice. Also, as we've discussed before, a recall could actually boost his career.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Colorado: John Morse recall effort turns in 16000 signatures

Big update in the recall campaign of Senate President John Morse.  Petitioners have handed in over 16,000 signatures, which is double the amount needed (7200), so this is extremely likely to get on the ballot. I can think of only one instance were a recall was rejected when anything close to double the needed signatures were handed in. Here's some details on signature failure rates.

I'll have a full post a little later on, but here's some key details in both Colorado's use of the recall and in recalls on the state level.

1) This would be Colorado's first state level recall, it would be the 37th state legislative recall in US History (we're at 18-18). Colorado first adopted the recall in 1912.

2) Morse will be the fifth state legislative leader to face a recall vote. So far, legislative leaders have a great history of survival, 3-1.

3) This recall is almost a carbon-copy of the 1994 recall of California State Senate President Pro Tempore David Roberti. Roberti was also a term-limited Senator who was facing a recall due to his votes on gun control laws. Roberti survived easily, though he lost his race for treasurer.

4) In 2012, Colorado held 8 recall votes. 6 of the officials survived. Two were removed. Two other officials resigned in the face of recall threats. And in two cases, the petitions were rejected by technicality.

5) In 2011, they held 10 recalls, 8 officials survived, two were removed and two others resigned.

6) The gun rights forces have launched four recall attempts this term in Colorado. Two have failed. There is one outstanding against state Senator Angela Giron. The petitions are due June 10.

7) Apparently (according to the linked article), if Morse resigns, the Democrats would get to pick his successor. Here's my thoughts on that angle.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

UK: Bribery scandal pushes forward recall law again

Hard to say if this law is actually going anywhere, but each scandal pushes this potential law forward. The government's plan is for a very limited recall.

Georgia: Lowndes Sheriff facing recall threats over investigation

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine is facing threats of a recall for his investigation of the death of a 17 year-old high student. The student, Kendrick Johnson, was reported to have suffocated after falling headfirst into a rolled-up gym mat. The investigation is being reviewed by the US Attorney.
Georgia would require a cause (violation of office, malfeasance or indictment). Petitioners would furst have to hand in 100 signatures and then collect 30% of registereds (about 18,000) in 45 days.

California: San Bernadino councilwoman defends self against recall accusations