Thursday, January 30, 2020

Washington, DC: City Councilman who resigned after indictment running in special election

Following his resignation in the face of recall, Councilman Jack Evans has announced that he will run for election in the special election to replace him on June primary and special election. Evans is facing heavy criticism for trying to run.

Evans the recall push and a potential expulsion vote after he went under investigation over ethic violations after the revelation of 11 cases where he took action on behalf of paying client. Evans claims that he broke no rules.

Petitioners handed in 5588 signatures in the recall effort and needed 4949. Evans claimed that more than 2000 signatures were improper or forged and it seems like the Board knocked much of those off -- the article notes that it fell short by a 1000.

Michigan: Signatures verified against Jackson Councilwoman facing recall effort over traffic circle

Signatures have been verified against the recall of  Jackson Councilwoman Kelsey Heck. They handed in 320 signatures  and needed226. The recall is over a vote to approve a traffic circle. The recall will take place on the general election day of May 5.

Heck was appointed to the seat after the resignation of her predecessor. A former council candidate, Susan Murdie, is leading the recall effort.

Colorado: Petitions have been approved against Ouray County Sheriff, who is facing recall efforts over DUI

Petitions have been approved to seek the recall of Ouray County Sheriff Lance FitzGerald.

Fitzgerald is facing recall threats started by the County Republicans party and joined by the Democrats, after he was accused of a DUI. His girlfriend was accused of domestic violence last year and was in jail for five days. He won office by 11 votes as an unaffiliated candidate, though he beat a Republican.

Utah: State Representative proposes allowing recall of US Senators

State Representative Tim Quinn (R) has filed a bill calling for the recall of US Senators, which comes after US Senator Mitt Romney (R) has expressed interest in seeing the evidence and hearing witness testimony in the impeachment of Trump.

The bill would require signatures from 25% of "active voters" (this would be a more lenient standard than registered voter, but more stringent than voter turnout. Active voters under Utah law appears to be people who voted in one of the last two regular general elections or responded to a notice sent by the county clerk). There would be a one year grace period from the start of the term.

As with past attempts to recall federal officials, there is very good reason to believe that such a recall law would be considered unconstitutional.

Utah does not have a recall law either on the state or local levels. There have been past attempts to create a recall law for the state, but they have gone nowhere.

West Virginia: Fairmont Councilman facing petitions for racist comments

Councilman David Kennedy is facing a petition following repeated comments alleged to be racist and derogatory against LGBTQ+ people, some in Facebook posts. Kennedy has been censured by the council (6-3 vote) and has faced calls for his resignation.

Petitioners are waiting for approval and say they need between 1500 and 2000 signatures (Update: the number is 2461) The article claims that the petition is to remove Kennedy's name from the November 2020 ballot, though I'm uncertain how that works.

Alaska: Superior Court Judge issues new stay stopping signature collecting against Governor until the Supreme Court decides

Interesting continued legal developments in the recall of Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R). Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth, has now once again issued a stay on his ruling holding that petitioners have adequate grounds to seek the recall of the Governor. The decision overturned the Division of Elections and Attorney General's positions that the recall did not hit the malfeasance standard requirement in Alaska.

The stay means that the recall petitioners cannot begin the signature collection process until after the Supreme Court weighs in. Aarseth previously issues a lifted his decision that halted the collection of signatures until the Alaska Supreme Court ruled on the case, then lifted the stay and said that the stay was handed down inadvertently.

The recall is over major spending cuts, delays in appointing judges misusing state funds and mistakenly vetoing funds. Alaska is a malfeasance standard/judicial recall state, so a showing of cause is needed (though the state courts has taken a lenient view of the the cause requirement in past instances).

Petitioners needed to first get 28,501 signatures. If the decision is upheld, they would need 71,252 signatures to get to the ballot. Note that of the 49,006 signatures that they've already received, a third were by Democrats.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Texas: Lawsuit filed to force Leon Valley City Council to schedule recall election

A lawsuit is trying to force the Leon Valley City Council to schedule a recall against Councilmembers Monica Alcocer and Donna Charles.

The recall is suppose to take place on May 2 and is over the vote to kick out Councilman Benny Martinez over sexual harassment complaint. Petitioners include two former council members and the Mayor Chris Riley.

We have seen officials refuse to schedule a recall before in Texas and other states, so there is plenty of past evidence that this type of delay can work.

North Dakota: A look back at the only Attorney General to lose a recall

Here's a good look back at North Dakota Attorney General William Lemke, who along with Governor Lynn Frazier and Agriculture Commissioner John Hagan, were the first state level officials to lose a recall back in 1921. The three were members of the Nonpartisan League Party and this write-up provides a good understanding of what happened. There is set to be a part two that deals with Lemke's career after the recall -- where he was elected to Congress and ran as a third party candidate for the Presidency.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Arizona: Signatures verified against Graham County Clerk of the Superior Court

Looks like the recall of Graham County Clerk of the Superior Court Cindy Woodman (R) will go forward. She is being recalled over complaints about her tenure, including high turnover, lack of knowledge and a court ruling that she was "derelict in her duties" due to evidence mishandling. Petitioners need 2697 signatures by January  and reports say they have over 2800 signatures.

Alaska: Superior Court Judge lifts stay and now allows signature collecting against Governor

Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth has now lifted his decision that halted the collection of signatures until the Alaska Supreme Court rules on the case. Aarseth said that the stay was handed down inadvertently.

Aarseth previously authored a major ruling on the recall of the Governor, holding that petitioners have adequate grounds to seek the recall of Governor Mike Dunleavy (R). The decision overturned the Division of Elections and Attorney General's positions that the recall did not hit the malfeasance standard requirement in Alaska.

The recall is over major spending cuts, delays in appointing judges misusing state funds and mistakenly vetoing funds. Alaska is a malfeasance standard/judicial recall state, so a showing of cause is needed (though the state courts has taken a lenient view of the the cause requirement in past instances).

Petitioners needed to first get 28,501 signatures. If the decision is upheld, they would need 71,252 signatures to get to the ballot. Note that of the 49,006 signatures that they've already received, a third were by Democrats.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Alaska: Superior Court Judge Temporarily Stays ruling allowing signature collecting against Governor to move forward; waiting for a Supreme Court decision

Following his major ruling on the recall of the Governor, Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth has halted the collection of signatures until the Alaska Supreme Court rules on the case.

Aarseth held that petitioners have adequate grounds to seek the recall of Governor Mike Dunleavy (R). The decision overturned the Division of Elections and Attorney General's positions that the recall did not hit the malfeasance standard requirement in Alaska.

The recall is over major spending cuts, delays in appointing judges misusing state funds and mistakenly vetoing funds. Alaska is a malfeasance standard/judicial recall state, so a showing of cause is needed (though the state courts has taken a lenient view of the the cause requirement in past instances).

Petitioners needed to first get 28,501 signatures. If the decision is upheld, they would need 71,252 signatures to get to the ballot. Note that of the 49,006 signatures that they've already received, a third were by Democrats.

Texas: McKinney City Councilman files suit to stop recall vote, expected in May

Councilman La'Shadion Shemwell, who is scheduled to face a recall election on May 2, has filed suit to toss at the attempt..

Shemwell has been a controversial member of the council with complaints of violating ethics codes and making inflammatory statements and getting arrested repeatedly (one seemed to be for domestic violence), which he claimed occurred after he was racially profiled after refusing to sign two citations after he was pulled over for speeding last year. Shemwell has previously declared a "black state of emergency" in Texas.

McKinney approved an amendment to make recalls easier to get on the ballot earlier this year.

California: El Rancho School Board President resigns following signature verification

 El Rancho School Board President Jose Lara has resigned following the verification of signatures against him. Fellow Board member Leeanne Ibarra is still on the ballot.

Petitioners handed in about 9700 signatures for each. They got 7659 for Lara and 7623 for Ibarra. They needed 6509 signatures to get on the ballot.

The El Rancho Federation of Teachers supported the recall effort. The issues include questions over suspected bond mismanagement, rehiring of a construction company and principal firing and reassignment. The recall effort allegedly cost only $7000 to mount.

Update: The replacement will not be appointed until after the election.

Texas: Leon City Council hasn't yet scheduled recall election, which is suppose to take place on May 2

The City Council has not yet scheduled the recall against Leon Valley Councilmembers Monica Alcocer and Donna Charles, which is suppose to take place on May 2. The recall is over the vote to kick out Councilman Benny Martinez over sexual harassment complaint. Petitioners include two former council members and the Mayor Chris Riley.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Colorado: Ouray County Sheriff facing recall efforts over DUI

Ouray County Sheriff Lance FitzGerald is facing recall threats started by the County Republicans party, after he was accused of a DUI. His girlfriend was accused of domestic violence last year and was in jail for five days. He won office by 11 votes as an unaffiliated candidate, though he beat a Republican.

Update: The Democrats have joined the effort as well

California: Four Del Norte School Board members facing recall efforts

Del Norte County Unified School District Board Members Frank Magarino, Don McArthur, Angela Greenough and Jamie Forkner are facing recall threats from the former Teachers Association representative over faculty contract negotiations. The fifth board seat is currently vacant. Petitioners would need about 3000 signatures for each recall.

Taiwan: Signatures verified in first stage of Kaohsiung Mayor recall

The recall effort against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yuto (who recently lost the presidential race), has moved to the second stage. Petitioners needed to get signatures of 1% of the city, and have gotten that. They had 28,560 verified and the needed 22,814.

Now, petitioners need 10% of eligible voters to sign (about 230,000).

Han was the Kuomintang Presidential candidate, and was being threatened with a recall following flooding in the town (though presumably this may be part of the presidential political wrangling). There is an absentee voter provision -- 25% of eligible voters must cast ballots for the recall to count.

Colorado: Evergreen Fire Protection District Board President facing recall threats

Evergreen Fire Protection District Board President John Anderson is facing recall threats following the dismissal of a volunteer fire captain. No word on how many signatures would be needed.

Guam: Yona Mayor recall effort dropped after Senators adopt different replacement plan

The recall effort against Yona Mayor Jesse Blas seems to have been dropped, with Senators passing a law allowing the acting mayor to lead the city instead. Blas was facing a recall petition after being arrested on bribery and extortion charges related to an alleged scheme to import crystal meth. Petitioners need 981 signatures to get a recall on the ballot (though a 2/3rds vote of the legislature can put a recall on the ballot as well).

Canada: Delay in Alberta Legislature may kill recall bill

The plan to expand the recall to Alberta may die if the Legislative Assembly is not reconvened until late February (as is the current plan). UCP MLA Mark Smith introduced a private members' recall bill for the Alberta Legislature.

Smith had previously introduced the bill in 2016 as a Wildrose MLA. The recall proposal would oust the MLA if petitioners get 40% of eligible voters signatures in a 60 day period. There is a long grace period -- 18 months after a general election and 6 months before.

This article notes that Alberta had a recall law in the 1930s, passed by the Social Credit government in 1936 (needing 66.6% of voter signatures), though the law was repealed in 1937 when a campaign was expected to work against Premier William Aberhart's Okotos-High River. There have been 8 attempts to add a recall law since 1993.

Texas: Leon Valley City Council member, whose removal led to upcoming recall against other councilmembers, running in next election

Leon Valley Councilman Benny Martinez, who was kicked out of office over sexual harassment complaints last year, is trying to run for the office against. The vote to remove Martinez has led to the upcoming May 2 recall against Leon Valley Councilmembers Monica Alcocer and Donna Charles.

Yerington Paiute Tribe recall Chairwoman

Yerington Pauite Tribe Chairwoman Laurie Thom was ousted, 66-39. The issue was claims of failing to maintain proper financial reporters, supervise staffs and stalled repairs. Petitioners needed 43 of 122 voting members to cast their ballot against for the recall to count.

Thom has claimed that Tribal Council Vice-chair Ginny Hatch was behind the removal vote and that Hatch's family member and former Tribal Chair Linda Howard will move into the council seat. There is no word on how the replacement will be handled.

Oregon: Signature gathering started in Powers Mayor and City Councilor recall efforts

Powers Mayor Robert Kohn and City Councilor James Clauson petitions has begun. The reason seems to be the firing of the former police chief. Petitioners would need 52 signatures (the town has 678 people).

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Nebraska: Broken Bow Mayoral ousted in Recall Election

Broken Bow Mayor Jonathan Berghost appears to have lost his recall vote, 619-400. The recall was over claims of a hostile work environment, operating with out council approval and allegedly threatening police officers. Petitioners handed in 476 signatures, they need 410 valid signatures. Turnout was about 50%.

Update: The total is official.

Idaho: Sugar City Mayor and Councilman who survived March recall lost seats in November election

An interesting denouncement to the Sugar City recall from last March. Back thenMayor David Ogden (290-177) and Councilman Brent Barrus (294-167) survived their recall votes in a battle over the legal costs for rezoning of property that may result in new apartments and is the cause of a significant battle in town. Following that, three council members resigned.

In November, Steve Adams beat Ogden in his reelection race and Barrus lost his city council seat.

Texas: Two Midland Council members facing petitions over hotel development deal

Midland Council members Scott Dufford and Spencer Robnett are facing recall efforts over a deal with a hotel developer. There hasn't been a recall in at least 20 years. It seems like petitioners would need about 13,616 signatures (20% of registereds).

The effort is led by former city council candidate Kimberly Crisp, who lost in November.

Oregon: Powers Mayor and City Councilor facing recall efforts

Powers Mayor Robert Kohn and City Councilor James Clauson are facing a recall effort, though the reasons seem to be vague ("not governing for the best interest of the majority of the citizens of Powers..."). Petitioners would need 52 signatures (the town has 678 people).

Michigan: Judge throws out petitions against two Traverse School Board members over grace period question

The recall effort against Traverse City School Board Treasurer Matt Anderson and Secretary Pamela G. Forton has been thrown out by a Circuit Court Judge, who ruled that the petitions were taken out too earlier to count. Michigan has a one year grace period stopping recalls in the first and last year of office. Anderson and Forton were elected in 2018 and the petitions were taken out on November 8 (one year from their election). The judge ruled that the one year mark starts on December 31, 2019 and the petitions should not have been allowed.

The recall effort against President M. Sue Kelly is still ongoing, though there is an appeal ongoing there.

The recall is over the resignation by mutual agreement of the superintendent for reasons that are unclear.

Petitioners would need about 11,700 signatures to get on the ballot.

There is a claim that the group would have to pay for the recall -- $80,000. I've seen this provision once (in West Virginia), but never in Michigan. I wonder if that is actually constitutional.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Colorado: Idaho Springs Mayor Recall schedule for April 7

The recall election of Idaho Springs Mayor Mike Hillman is scheduled for April 7. The recall petition cited some catch-all language, though it appears to be over the increased speed of residential development. Petitioners turned in 150 signatures and needed 77 signatures to get on the ballot.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Alaska: Superior Court Judge Rules that Gubernatorial recall can go forward

Major ruling in Alaska, as Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth ruled after oral arguments that petitioners have adequate grounds to seek the recall of Governor Mike Dunleavy (R). The decision, which is going to appealed to the Supreme Court, overturns the Division of Elections and Attorney General's positions that the recall did not hit the malfeasance standard requirement in Alaska.

The recall is over major spending cuts, delays in appointing judges misusing state funds and mistakenly vetoing funds. Alaska is a malfeasance standard/judicial recall state, so a showing of cause is needed (though the state courts has taken a lenient view of the the cause requirement in past instances).

Petitioners needed to first get 28,501 signatures. If the decision is upheld, they would need 71,252 signatures to get to the ballot. Note that of the 49,006 signatures that they've already received, a third were by Democrats.

Washington: Superior Court judge throws out State Attorney General recall

A Superior Court judge has thrown out the recall effort against Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) over his support of gun control legislation and over a $30 car tax. The petitioners, who are part of the three-percenter militia movement, do not seem like they will appeal.

Washington is a malfeasance standard state, and the Court had to rule that the AG violated a specific set of laws. An attempt to recall Governor Jay Inslee (D) earlier this year also failed.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Michigan: State Representative Inman recall found to be 208 signatures short

The saga of the recall of Michigan State Representative Larry C. Inman (R) has now hit another bump, as the Bureau of Elections has reported that the petitioners have handed in 11993 valid signatures, 208 less than the 12201 needed. Petitioners filed 13,871 signatures total. No word yet on the whether they will challenge this decision -- though it now sounds like it won't be appealed.

The signature ruling comes after a unanimous decision by the Michigan Supreme Court allowing a more lenient standard on recall petition language. The decision overturned lower court rulings, including by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which tossed out all the signatures. The petition language was originally approved, but the petitions that were printed out left out the word "right" in the sentence: attempted extortion under color of official right."

Among the key findings of the court:
“The recall petition is proper because the reasons give for recall in the circulated petitions were not different that the reasons that were approved by the Board of Canvassers.”
Inman, who is term-limited, was also recently found not guilty by a federal jury found of lying to federal authorities, but were hung on charges of attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe.

Inman was indicted by a federal grand jury over attempted extortion, bribery and lying to the FBI continues, with the House voting 98-8 to call for his resignation. Inman is accused of trying to get a bribe from a union group for a vote to repeal the state's prevailing wage law. He has been prevented from going to his old office, though he is able to go onto the House floor. Inman blamed an opiod addiction.

California: One of two Gubernatorial Recalls dropped

One of two recall efforts targeting Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has been dropped. Dr. James Veltmeyer noted that he has raised only $90,000 for the effort, which was not enough to continue. He also blamed the second effort (which launched first) as complicating the attempt. The second attempt submitted 163,395 signatures on December 9.

Maine: Waterville Charter Commission considering amendment to clarify recall law

One of the proposed amendments for the charter commission is that they should clarify that officials who lose a recall vote are immediately removed once the council validates the totals. Waterville had two recall votes in 2018, but no one was ousted.

Nebraska: Signatures verified against Leshara Trustee members; Scheduling recall has faced issues

Petitioners are having a difficult time getting the recall against Leshara Village Trustees Dale Johnson and Dennis Beers scheduled. The boars scheduled it for February 4, though that may violate state law to have the special on the 1st Tuesday after the second Monday in a month.

The issue is the violating the open meeting act and a vote on road maintenance. A third member is also being targeted, though the name has not been revealed yet.

Wisconsin: State Senator who survived 2011 recall not running for reelection

State Senator Dave Hansen (D), one of the four Democrats who survived a recall vote in 2011, has announced he will not be running for reelection. Despite his own success, Hansen's district has trended red, with Trump winning it handily.

Michigan: Signatures handed in against Jackson Councilwoman facing recall effort over traffic circle

Petitioners have handed in 320 signatures for the recall of Jackson Councilwoman Kelsey Heck. They need 226. The recall is over a vote to approve a traffic circle

Heck was appointed to the seat after the resignation of her predecessor. A former council candidate, Susan Murdie, is leading the recall effort.

Texas: Leon Valley City Council member recall scheduled for May 2

The recall against Leon Valley Councilmembers Monica Alcocer and Donna Charles has been scheduled for May 2. The recall is over the vote to kick out Councilman Benny Martinez over sexual harassment complaint. Petitioners include two former council members and the Mayor Chris Riley.

California: Recall against Westminister Mayor and Councilmembers scheduled for April 7

The special election recall of Westminister Mayor Tri Ta and Councilmembers Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen has been scheduled for April 7.

Petitioners handed in over 11,000 signatures, they needed 8736 (don't yet see how many were validated). The issue is claims of ethical violations, such as limiting debate and participation.

There is also an attempt against the other two members, Tao Do and Sergio Contreas. Do's supporters have backed the recall of the other three and Do welcomed the recall of the other three on Facebook.

The recall will be a special election -- because of the law (the recall must be held between 88 and 125 days after the next council meeting), it cannot coincide with the March primary.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Wisconsin: Three Somerset Trustees ousted in recall vote

Somerset Trustees Bartt Palmer, Ken Putz and James Chandler appear to have been ousted in a recall vote today over an attempt to shut down two of four tubing businesses.

Brandon Koziol defeated Palmer 307-143, Chris Moreno beat Putz 307-149 and Julie Lange ousted Chandler 318-139.

Texas: Signatures verified against McKinney City Councilman; Vote expected in May

Signatures handed in against Councilman La'Shadion Shemwell have been validated. Petitioners handed in over 3300 signatures and 3062 were verified, with 2127 needed. The recall will likely be scheduled in May.

Shemwell has been a controversial member of the council with complaints of violating ethics codes and making inflammatory statements and getting arrested repeatedly (one seemed to be for domestic violence), which he claimed occurred after he was racially profiled after refusing to sign two citations after he was pulled over for speeding last year. Shemwell has previously declared a "black state of emergency" in Texas.

McKinney approved an amendment to make recalls easier to get on the ballot earlier this year.

Washington, DC:City Councilman resigns instead of facing expulsion vote

Councilman Jack Evans, who faced a push for his recall and a potential expulsion vote, has announced he will resign. Evans has been under investigation over ethic violations after the revelation of 11 cases where he took action on behalf of paying client. Evans claims that he broke no rules.

Petitioners handed in 5588 signatures in the recall effort and needed 4949. Evans claimed that more than 2000 signatures were improper or forged and it seems like the Board knocked much of those off -- the article notes that it fell short by a 1000.

Yerington Tribal Chair facing petitions

Yerington Tribal Chair Laurie Thom is facing petitions over complaints about the financial issues and funding. Petitioners need 43 signatures from the 122 voters who cast ballots in the last election.

Romance Writers of America calling for recall of President

A widely followed battle over diversity complaints by former board member Courtney Milan and her suspension from the ethics committee, have led to calls for recalls, the cancellation of awards and plenty of back-and-forth issues.

Update: President Damon Suede has resigned, thereby avoiding a recall vote.

New Mexico: Las Vegas mayor facing potential removal vote by council

Las Vegas, New Mexico Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron, who has faced two failed recall attempts in the past, is now facing a threatened removal from office after being indicted on bribery and kickback charges. There is a debate about whether the council can vote to remove the mayor or if the only possible removal is by recall.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Washington: Hearing set over State Attorney General recall

A hearing is set to be held over the recall effort against Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) over his support of gun control legislation and over a $30 car tax.

Washington is a malfeasance standard state, and the Supreme Court must rule that the AG violated a specific set of laws. The Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court has green lit the hearing. An attempt to recall Governor Jay Inslee ((D) earlier this year failed. Petitioners would need around 780,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

New Jersey: Technicality appears to doom Englewood Cliffs Councilmembers recall

A strange technical error seems to have stopped the recall efforts against Englewood Cliffs Council members Edward Aversa (D) and Gloria Oh (D). Petitioners handed in over 1200 signatures (they needed over 900), but the petitions did not specifically request a special election. The clerk seems to be ruling that without the specific request, the recall must be pushed off till the November ballot, when both Aversa and Oh are up for election. They also seem to claim that this would obviate the recall, though I'm not sure why 1) the recall wouldn't be held at an earlier primary date and 2) they couldn't have a recall on the November date, removing for the remainder of the term (though there could be laws that prevent it).

The recall was over claims that they didn't do due diligence on affordable housing and other issues related to development. Aversa, who is running for mayor in the fall, claims that Mayor Mario Kranjac (who is also on the ballot) is behind the recall.

California: Sonoma County Supervisor facing recall efforts

Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins is facing a recall effort over complaints about an unsanctioned homeless camp. Petitioners would need about 8200 signatures in 160 days.

The only two recalls in Sonoma County were in 1976 against Charles Hinkle and Bill Kortum over conservation issues.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Year in Recalls -- 87 Recalls; 37 removals, 34 survive, 16 resignations; 342 recall efforts

Despite a huge spike in interest on the gubernatorial and state legislative level, the practical results saw a downturn -- 2019 saw a significant drop in actual recall elections getting to the ballot or leading to a resignation.


In 2019, we have 87 recalls, with 37 removals, 16 resignations in the face of a recall campaign and 34 officials surviving a vote. Five of the officials who survived the vote did so based on what I call an absentee veto (turnout wasn’t high enough for the recall to count).

Most surprising is that removals and survivals were nearly identical. Usually, removals are more likely to happen – with about 60% of recalls resulting in the official being kicked out in a vote, and almost 67% being ousted when you factor in the resignations

The total number of recall attempts also dropped off, as I count 342 efforts over all.

For comparison, 2018 (which I never published) saw 150 recalls make the ballot or lead to a resignation, with 85 removals, 28 resignations and 37 survivals.
In 2017, we had 102 recalls, 2016, we have 119 recalls. In 2015, there were 109; 2014 (which, I never actually wrote up), 126 recalls. In 2013, we had 107 recalls2012 we had 166, and a 2011 we had 151 (the numbers do not always exactly match up to the links – I checked back and found additional recalls and removed a few).

Ballotpedia, which has been an invaluable ally in covering recalls, also noted a big drop-off (I have a few more recalls listed than they do, but partly that is because two of the recalls happened in the last two weeks of the year).

This see-sawing does fit with a general pattern. Recalls are more likely in the even numbered national election years (presidential or Congress), rather than in the odd numbered years. This may seem somewhat counterintuitive (as some of these officials are facing the voters that year anyway), but there are practical reasons. I’ve mentioned these before, but here it is again:


  1. The lock-up or grace periods – many jurisdictions have a period where officials are exempt from facing a recall or (in some cases) even having petitions taken out against them. This period can range from three months to a year after their term begins (which is usually in January). Since so many officials are elected in even-year elections, there is less chance to get a recall on the ballot.
     
  2. Consolidation – states are frequently required to consolidate recalls with the next primary or general election, thereby obviating the need and expense of a special election. Michigan, one of the leading recall states, changed its law in 2012 to consolidate elections. The result is that a number of recalls are pushed off until 2020.
  3. Operator error -- I'm fairly certain that I missed recalls. I've compared it to other available sources (the good people at Ballotpedia have done an excellent job of compiling data), but there is no question that recalls are not being counted. However, I like to think that I've at least maintained my existing level of incompetency, and any errors this year would probably be roughly the same as last year.
  4. Paywalls -- Newspapers and websites are increasingly behind paywalls. Local sites that are critical to doing this research (there is no state or local governmental reporting) on recalls seem to be failing at an increased rate. I think the closing off of the web may make it harder to see recalls and reports of recalls. I can't say that it is the real factor though.
One factor that I had previously considered is that there was a drop-off in political interest and enthusiasm in off-years. While this is possibly, I do find it somewhat unlikely in our current political climate.

20 States saw recall votes or resignations this year. I generally do not count the Native American tribal chair and trustee recalls in my compilation (I saw two take place), though I did count the Alamo Navajo School Board recall in New Mexico.  I also do not count home owners associations, unions or college governments.

Outside of the gubernatorial and state legislative recall efforts – the one in Alaska is ongoing – the most notable recall was likely the one in Fall River, Massachusetts, where Mayor Jaisel Correia II lost the recall but won the five-person replacement race. There was also the recall in Newton Falls, where Councilman John Baryak won the recall race and reelection on the same day. Bayrak had previously been ousted in a recall, so this must have been particularly sweet. On the other side of the spectrum, Huntington Mayor Richard Cummings was ousted after surviving a 2018 recall vote.

What can we expect in 2020? Plenty of recalls. At least 30 are already scheduled, with the first set to take place on January 7.

Wisconsin: Three Somerset Trustees facing January 7 recall vote

Somerset Trustees Bartt Palmer, Ken Putz and James Chandler are facing a January 7 recall vote over their vote which has been seen as an attempt to shut down two of four tubing businesses.

Three candidates, Brandon Koziol, Chris Moreno and Julie Lange, are running as replacements. Petitioners handed in at least 220 valid signatures.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Florida: Howey-in-the-Hills Town Councilman facing recall effort

Howey-in-the-Hills Councilman Matthew McGill is facing recall threats, though this piece (more of a highly critical op-ed), doesn't get to the entire story. McGill and others are threatening to sue the town for a $1M each, with complaints of ethical violations. McGill has complained about the police chief's enforcement policies.

For the first stage of the process, petitioners handed in 170 signatures and they need 110, which supposedly they got. They now would need about 165 signatures in 60 days.