Sunday, January 17, 2021

Washington: Supreme Court rules that Snohomish County Sheriff can face recall

The Washington State Supreme Court has greenlit a recall against Snohmish County Sheriff Adam Fortney over his Facebook comments against the Governor's coronavirus pandemic restrictions, as well as hiring officers previously fired for misconduct. (there's also a recall effort over his handling of the jails during the pandemic). Fortney claimed that he "will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights."

The 6-3 Supreme Court vote accepted three of four charges, tossing out one that he failed to investigate the use of force by an officer. The three members who dissented upheld the recall effort over hiring officers for misconduct. They dissented over whether Fortney could face a recall over inciting people to ignore pandemic restrictions in his Facebook comments. 

A Cowlitz County Judge (moved for conflict of interest reasons) has previously approved the legal grounds for the first submission, though is not approving online signature gathering or any other changes to the process.


California: California Democratic Party criticized for calling recall "coup"

The California Democratic Party has been criticized for calling the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) a coup. The LA Times and others has criticized this language and the party seems to have backed off

Alaska: Anchorage Assembly Chair recall goes to the courts

A lawsuit has been filed to toss out the recall effort against Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera. Petitioners claim that they have enough signatures for the recall -- they handed in 5100 signatures and claim that 2971 have been verified. They need 2735 signatures. 

The claim is that Rivera didn't stop a meeting which, due to the size of the audience, violated the emergency order limiting crowds during the coronavirus pandemic (there may have been 17 people at the meeting, which had a limit of 15).

Petitions have been rejected for Assembly members Meg Zaletel, Austin Quinn-Davidson and Kameron Perez-Verdia. New petitions are being reviewed for Quinn-Davidson and Perez-Verdia. 

UK: MP who travelled with COVID symptoms facing recall push

Minister of Parliament Margaret Ferrier (a former SNP member) is facing recall threats after refusing to self isolate and taking a train from Glasgow to London despite having the coronavirus. Ferrier has been charged with culpable and reckless conduct. She could face a recall vote if suspended for more than 10 days. Petitioner would need 8100 signatures to get on the ballot. 

California: Placentia-Yorba Linda School Board member facing recall threats for attending Capitol Hill riot

Placentia-Yorba Linda School Board member Leandra Blades is facing recall threats after she attended the rally before the January 6 US Capitol riot. Blades, a former police officer, was criticized for being a part of a Facebook group that was eventually blocked. No word on how many signatures are needed, though since Blades was just elected, she may be under a 90 day grace period until a recall can start.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Florida: Miami Beach Commissioner facing recall threats

Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola is facing recall efforts over touting conspiracy theories, unproven coronavirus pandemic treatments, calling for the jailing of Anthony Fauci, unprofessional behavior on Facebook posts and alleged racist and anti-Semitic posts. While Arriola was originally elected as a Democrat in 2015, Democrats are sponsoring a censure resolution against him.

California: San Ramon School Board board members facing recall over remote learning/coronavirus pandemic protection measures

San Ramon School Board President Susanna Ordway and board members Rachel Hurd and Ken Mintz are facing petitions over the continuation of remote learning in order to ward off the coronavirus pandemic. Two other board members, Laura Bratt and Shelly Clark, are still in their 90 day grace period, so are not yet eligible for a recall petition.

Colorado: Montezuma-Cortez School Board Member recall election set for February 16

The recall election of Montezuma-Cortez School Board member Lance McDaniel is scheduled for February 16. McDaniel is facing a recall effort over Facebook posts where he espouses progressive causes and claims to be antifa and was seemingly upset about a park naming. Petitioners handed in more than the 1126 signatures needed. Cody Wells is the only candidate in the replacement race

USA: Aftermath of attempt to overthrow Biden election victory and vote for impeachment of Trump leads to calls for recalls

Two discussions of recalls against House Republican members -- one an online petition against Representative Liz Cheney (WY-R) for her vote to impeach Trump for his efforts to overthrow the government; the other a letter calling for the recall of Representative Catherine McMorris Rodgers (WA-R) over her vote attempting to toss out the election of Biden on false claims of electoral fraud. 

Once again, it is likely that members of Congress are not eligible for a recall vote. 

Taiwan: Taoyuan City Councilor ousted in recall vote

Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu (Democratic Progressive Party) was ousted in a recall vote, 84,582-7138. Petitioners needed 81,940 votes (25% of eligible voters) to be cast, so they cleared the "absentee veto" requirement (they got 28.14%). The recall was seen as revenge for the Kaohsiung City Mayor Han Kuo-yu recall. There will be no replacement vote, though Wang cannot run for four years. 

Canada: Columnist on Alberta's "weaksauce" recall bill


Colorado: Parker Mayor facing recall threats over Parler conspiracy posts

A recall effort may be launched against Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg after the revelation that he has been sharing conspiracy theories on a Parler account, including false claims that the January 6th riot was a "false flag" and anti-Covid coronavirus pandemic vaccine posts. Petitioners cannot start a recall until June. 

Colorado: Court case examines fight over signatures for Avon Mayor, Councilmember recall effort

Very interesting discussion in the Vail Daily (written by Tom Lotshaw) on the underlying issues in the court case over the recall against Avon Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes and Councilmembers Amy Phillips and Tamra Underwood. 

The City Clerk had found that petitioners failed to hand in enough valid signatures to he recall effort is over leaving a real estate transfer tax in place is still ongoing. Petitioners need 496 signatures, though it was originally believed to be 479. They missed on Underwood by 71 and by Hymes by 51. Phillips is up for reelection in November, so the recall was not allowed based on the grace period.

Because of Vail's election law, voters can cast ballots for four candidates. So there is a significant debate on voters that did not cast all four votes (the undervote). Here's the article by Lotshaw explaining the current court fight:

Each side points to provisions governing recall processes in the Colorado Constitution and Colorado Revised Statutes. Those require signatures equaling 25% of the “entire vote cast” for all the candidates for the particular office in the last preceding election, with that 25% of the entire vote cast then divided by the number of candidates who were elected to the office in that preceding election. 

 The town and the Avon Recall Committee seem to agree that 1,984 voters cast 5,276 votes in the 2018 election for the Avon Town Council, when Hymes and Underwood were elected to their seats. Disagreement seems to center around the “undervotes” in the election, and how they should factor into the tally of votes cast. 

 With eight candidates running for four open seats on the Avon Town Council in 2018, people could vote for up to four candidates. Not every voter cast all four votes, however, resulting in 2,660 undervotes. 

 The town of Avon argues that the undervotes, along with the 5,276 votes cast, make up the “entire vote cast” total used to determine how many voter signatures the Avon Recall Committee needed to submit. That results in the town’s calculation of 496 voter signatures. 

The Avon Recall Committee, in its answer to the town’s complaint, argues that the undervotes should not be part of the total, resulting in its calculation of 330 signatures needed to trigger a recall election. 

“Had each elector cast their maximum allowable votes for town councilor positions, i.e. four votes for four open candidate seats, there would have been 7,936 total votes cast for the town councilor candidates. Under that scenario, there would have been no undervotes,” the Avon Recall Committee writes in its answer to the town’s complaint, filed Jan. 11 by attorney Alan Sweetbaum, of Denver. 

“However, the town contends there were undervotes, which necessarily eliminates the possibility that there were 7,936 total votes cast in the 2018 election for the town councilor positions. Yet, the town contends that 7,936 total votes were cast for purposes of determining the number of signatures required to trigger a recall election … The town clerk’s miscalculation improperly increased the number of signatures the town claimed were required to trigger a recall election.” 

 Wisor and Sweetbaum declined to comment on why the undervotes should be included or excluded from the total vote used to calculate the signatures needed, with more filings in the case expected in coming weeks. 

In its complaint, the town of Avon argues that interpreting Colorado law for recalls and the “entire vote cast” as the Avon Recall Committee proposes would “violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution because they require a town elector to cast the maximum votes allowed in order to have their participation in the town council election equally and fully counted for purposes of a recall.”

Ohio: Recall against four Woodmere Village Council members scheduled for February 23

The recall against four Woodmere Village Council members, Council President Jennifer Mitchell Earley and members Lisa Brockwell, Glenda Todd Miller and Craig Wade, has been rescheduled for February 23.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections had been canceled over complaints that some of the petitions were invalid and the signatures obtain using false claims. 

The recall was seemingly over the lack of a sidewalk on a road and an out of date website. The recall seems to also be about new residents versus old ones. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Nebraska: Crawford Mayor survives recall vote

Crawford Mayor Connie Shell survived a recall vote,  keeping her the position with a 190-141. The recall was over general complaints of "self-serving behavior, including allegations that she threatened Chamber of Commerce members with personal lawsuits.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

California: How California has the easiest signature requirement for Governor in the country

There has been significant movement on the sixth recall attempt against Governor Gavin Newsom (D), with reports that Newsom's team is nervous and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee endorsing the effort. Petitioners claim to have gotten over 1 million signatures already. They need 1495709 valid signatures.

The recall gained some a bit of propulsion due to a group outing that Newsom took to the French Laundry restaurant. This recall effort lists a kitchen sink grouping of reasons, though it is focused on the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic. The lead petitioner is Yolo County Deputy Sheriff Orrin Heatlie, and one of the supporters is Tom Del Beccaro, the former Chairman of the California Republican Party. Two potential candidates have received attention as candidates: former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former gubernatorial candidate John Cox, who lost to Newsom by more than 20% in 2018.

Getting on the ballot is an achievement, but it does need to be put in context. Among the 19 or 20 states (Virginia's recall law is unclear) that allow recalls for Governors, California has the easiest recall to get on the ballot. Petitioners need only to gather 12% of the votes cast in the last election (5% in every district), and they have a leisurely 160 days to do it. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were granted an additional 120 days. 

As a comparison, In 2012, Wisconsin required petitioners to amass 25% of the vote for the governor's office in the last election. They only had 60 days to do it. Wisconsin did have one (very unusual) leniency (the signers only had to be eligible voters, not registered voters).

State laws vary greatly across the country. The divides are generally:

1) Is there a legal reason needed for the recall;

2) how many signatures need to be gathered;

3) who can sign, and;

4) how much time is allowed to collect the signatures. 

11 States are "political recall states" and eight are (broadly defined) what I call malfeasance standard/Judicial Recall states. Nearly state-level recalls are in political recall states (California, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Idaho, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado). The only state officer to ever face a recall vote in a malfeasance standard state was a state Senator in Washington in 1981

The signatures required and who can sign vary. It is here that California is noteworthy. The signature laws vary over whether the total needed is decided based on a percentage of how many voters turned out at the last election or how a percentage of how many voters are registered or eligible in the state. Obviously, any state that uses the turnout standard will require significantly fewer signatures.

Nine States requires signatures of 25% of turnout; 

One state requires 40% of turnout; 

One state requires 25% of registered voters;

Two states require 20% of eligible voters; 

Two states require 15% of eligible voters;

Two states require 15% of turnout; 

One state requires 10% of eligible voters (Montana, a malfeasance state)

One state requires 10% of turnout, but this is Virginia, which has recall trials rather an election.

The only states that have lower requirements have strict laws that effectively prevent recalls. 

California's time limit is the fifth most of any state (Alaska has no time limit; New Jersey grants 320 days; Washington gives 270 and Louisiana gives 180). So this gives voters a significant amount of time to get the recall going. 

California also has the benefit of having a developed signature gathering industry. This has made it much easier to get on the ballot than other states.

Hopefully, after an op-ed of mine comes out, I'll explain why getting on the ballot may be easy, but winning is another story. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

North Dakota: Horace Council recall set for March 9, three challengers

The March 9th recall of Horace Council members David Fenelon and Bryan Schmidt has drawn three challengers, Naomi Burkland, Jeffrey Trudeau and Zachariah Lee. The recall is over rising special assessments and a more general complaint about not representing the popular interests (the city is apparently growing). This will be a special election.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

South Carolina: Recall law proposed

State Representatives Lin Bennett (R) and Patrick Haddon (R) are proposing a recall law (H.3256) for all state officials.

The rule would require 20% of registered voters for a recall of statewide officials and 25% for state-district and local officials. The rule would give a grace period from being sworn in and then have to wait two years after a failed recall. 

Ohio: Election Board calls for scheduling of recall against four Woodmere Village Council members

 The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is now pushing for a scheduling of the recall against four Woodmere Village Council members, Council President Jennifer Mitchell Earley and members Lisa Brockwell, Glenda Todd Miller and Craig Wade.

The recall had been canceled over complaints that some of the petitions were invalid and the signatures obtain using false claims. The recall was scheduled for January 19 and it was seemingly over the lack of a sidewalk on a road and an out of date website. The recall seems to be about new residents versus old ones. 

Michigan: University of Michigan Regent facing recall threats

University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser (R) is facing a recall for not denouncing Donald Trump for his role in inciting in the riots at the U.S. Capitol. Petitioners would need over 1 million signatures in 60 days to get on the ballot. Weiser is the incoming Michigan Republican Party co-chair. 

Colorado: Lawsuit looks to overturn City Clerk's decision throwing out signatures in Westminster Mayor and Councilmembers recall

 A lawsuit has been filed seeking to overturn a city clerk's ruling throwing out signatures in therecall effort against Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison and Councilmembers Anita Seitz, Kathryn Skulley and Jon Voelz. The recall was over water bills. Petitioners needed 25% of turnout, which is 5009 signatures for Atchison and 6,098 for the three council members. Skulley's signatures missed by 61; Atchison by 282; Voelz by 635 and Seitz by 757.

Petitioners are represented by former Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R). They are claiming that the petitions were unlawfully thrown out because it was missing an informational page or because they were placed behind page one of the official petitions. Petitioners claim that the clerk allowed other packets to be corrected.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

California: Governor Newsom recall reaches 1 million signatures; ex-San Diego Mayor

Here and here on San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Canada: Alberta's United Conservative Party removes recall legislation

After nine United Conservative Party ministers, MLAs and senior staffer left Alberta during the locked down, UCP has removed a mention of a potential recall law from their website. 

Malaysia: Recall plan suggested to stop party hopping


Idaho: West Ada Superintendent resigning at end of the year

West Ada School Superintendent Mary Ann Ranells is resigning at the end of the school year. West Ada has had a mass of recalls surrounding the board's vote over school shutdowns to prevent the coronavirus pandemic.

Board Chairman Phillip Neuhoff resigned rather than face a recall vote. The previous Board Chairman, Ed Klopfenstein resigned in October. Board member Steve Smylie resigned in October. 

Board members Rene Ozuna and Amy Johnson, are also facing recall efforts 

Idaho has an absentee veto provision, so if the recall gets to the ballot, the vote must equal or top the number of votes that the board members got in the last election for the recall to succeed.

Four of them board members (all but Johnson), were originally appointed to the board after a 2016 recall led to the ouster of two members and the resignation of two others.

Alaska: Signatures have been handed in against Anchorage Assembly Chair

Petitioners are claiming that they have enough signatures for the recall of Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera. Petitioners handed in 5000 signatures and need 2735 signatures. Yesterday was the due date. 

The claim is that Rivera didn't stop a meeting which, due to the size of the audience, violated the emergency order limiting crowds during the coronavirus pandemic (there may have been 17 people at the meeting, which had a limit of 15).

Petitions have been rejected for Assembly members Meg Zaletel, Austin Quinn-Davidson and Kameron Perez-Verdia. New petitions are being reviewed for Quinn-Davidson and Perez-Verdia. 

California: San Francisco D.A. facing recall effort

 San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is facing a recall effort after being a convict who was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle and violating probation was released without bail and then ran over two women while running a red light. Boudin had previously served as McAlister's defense attorney when he was a deputy public defender. 

The stories don't seem to list a signature total, but I believe it should be 10 percent of registered voters, which should equal 52,1988 valid signatures. Hopefully, we'll see some verification of that number or a different number.