Saturday, December 31, 2011

Michigan: Attempt to recall Bloomfield School Board fails

The attempt to recall the entire Bloomfield School Board failed, as organizers acknowledged they would not get enough signatures.

Wisconsin: Rematch? Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett seriously considering recall rerun

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Scott Walker in 2010, is said to be seriously considering running in the recall. Here's an earlier post on the relative rarity of recall reruns

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wisconsin: Judge rules against recall proponents in signature checking case

The case was filed by Walker backers, and challenges the GAB's rule (discussed here) that puts some of the onus for challenging questionable signatures on Walker (and presumably any future target). The Judge hasn't made any decision in the case, but is simply not allowing the recall proponents from intervening as a party to the suit. barred the recall proponents from intervening. meaning the suit will go. There maybe some criticism, as the Judge is a former Republican state Senator, but the decision doesn't seem odd. More here

Nebraska: Omaha Mayor thriving after barely surviving recall vote in January

Jim Suttle is on the upswing. Some are crediting his surviving the recall with the upswing in his administration.

Nebraska: Dodge School Board set to be scheduled

The Dodge School Board has set the recall for either January 31 or February 7 (depending on the Election Commission). Dodge already kicked out three school board members.

California: NYT looks at Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's troubles

Nothing particularly new, but good overview of the mayor's difficulties in the face of the recall.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Michigan: Replacements for Paul Scott hold debate

Only two of the three candidates (Republican and Green Party), were there. All distanced themselves from Scott, who lost his State House of Representatives seat in November.

DC: Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner recall set for February 28

A recall against Douglas Smith, a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B04, is set for February 28. The proponents appear to be against the development of a Walmart.

DC: Mayor and two council members facing recall

DC Mayor and two council members are facing a recall threat starting next week. The recall requires 10% of total voters in 180 days. The Mayor, Vincent Gray, is being targeted due to his early "stumbles" in office, including personnel problems. The two council members, Chairman Kwame Brown and Harry Thomas, face federal probes.

Last year, the council passed a law (which hasn't been signed yet) removing the part of the recall banning recalls in the first and last (fourth) year of a term) if the official is found to have violated the City's code of conduct.

Texas: Signatures verified for New Braunfels City Council member, will face recall in May

Texas: Campaign started to recall Floresville Mayor and Council

Petitioners are organizing a "Recall Them All" campaign, targeting the town mayor and five council members.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Montana: Discussion on recalling US Senators

Don't think a court is going to okay it, but here's some discussion on recalling US Senators.

Michigan: Tekonsha Village recall on the ballot

A recall against Howard Riggs, a Tekonsha Village Council member is set for Feb. 28. Riggs is himself trying to recall the village president. The village president's girlfriend is the main proponent of the recall against Riggs.

Idaho: Petitioners launching second attempt to recall Education Superintendent

Petitioners in Idaho are launching a second, "better organized" campaign to recall State Department of Education Superintendent Tom Luna. 
The committee needs 160,000 signatures. Earlier this year, they collected 50,000. The article suggests that the state will accept printed out and mailed in petitions, which would seem to be a gigantic help for the petitioners.
The article also notes that the recall election would require more than a majority of votes to win. Luna received 268,852 votes – 60.5 percent of those cast -- and would need to beat that number for the recall to count.

The Year in Recalls -- 151 Recalls in 2011 (edited to add another recall)

Note: Since publication, I've found another recall -- the figures reflect the new recall total.

This year was a great year for recalls, and now we have some numbers to back it up. There were at least 151 recalls in 2011. Here's my Los Angeles Times article discussing the totals, and below are some more key facts from the recalls.

As a whole, the recalls were clearly very successful -- 85 officials bounced, with 76 officials voted out and nine officials resigning from office in the face of recalls. This figure is especially striking compared to the fact that the incumbent reelection rate in the US is at least over 75%. Some other interesting facts:
  • Recalls were held in 17 states, in 73 separate jurisdictions. 
  • The state with most was Michigan, with at least 31 recalls.
  • 30 mayors faced recalls.
  • 17 recalls were school boards.
  • 11 were state legislators (by far the record -- the previous high was 3 in one year)
  • 52 were city councilmembers.
  • One local prosecutor, York, Nebraska County Attorney, faced a recall.
  • 34 jurisdictions held recalls on multiple days.
  • Three jurisdictions adopted the recall
The recall hit cities large and small -- Miami-Dade was the largest municipality to ever hold a recall. Small cities with big names -- Cleveland (Texas), Houston (Alaska), Detroit (Oregon), Decatur (Nebraska) all used the recall this year.

The biggest day was November 8, with 26 recalls.

The reasons for recalls are all over the map. As regular readers of the blog know, I am very dismissive of the idea that the economic downturn is wholly to blame for the recall explosion. In fact, technology is playing a very large role in the expansion of the recall.

As for this Blog -- 700+ posts later, we're still going strong.

In the face of the "Bermuda Triangle" nature of the recall, with this continue? It certainly will, at least for next year. There are well over 100 recall petitioning campaigns out there, including a likely recall against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. And there have already been 22 recalls elections scheduled for 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Las Vegas: City Councilman Steve Ross won't challenge recall


Massachusetts: Another attempted recall against Lawrence Mayor


Wisconsin: Unions pushing against Milwaukee Mayor running in the recall

According to this article, the union is trying to clear the the field for ex-Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

Virgin Island: Petition started to recall Chairman of St. Croix Board of Elections and Virgin Island Joint Board of Elections

Rupert Ross Jr., the Chairman of both the Virgin Island Joint Board of Elections and St. Criox Board of Elections is facing a recall petition,  because the meeting agendas "do not allow for public comment," fails to present all communications addressed to him in his role as chair, fails to follow due process procedures when addressing unethical conduct and "misrepresented the Election Board's rules and regulations on radio airwaves, when addressing the issue of provisional ballots in the St. Croix District."
Petitioners have 60 days to gather 50% of the turnout for the last election. A bit strange is that there because there were five candidates for three sports, each voter was allowed to cast three votes. So, the board doesn't seem to have a number of signatures yet.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Arizona: Lawsuit in rejection of signatures for Fountain Hills Vice Mayor recall

An evidentiary hearing is being held to look into Maricopa County Recorder rejection of the  signatures on a petition to recall Fountain Hills Vice Mayor Ginny Dickey. The petition fell short by 12 votes.
The Vice Mayor was one of two people targeted for a recall -- Town Councilman Henry Leger's recall was certified, and will take place on March 13.
The issue on the signatures is the standard used -- strict construction or significant compliance. The recorder used a strict construction standard. The article runs through the rejected signatures. Sounds like this case has a chance.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Louisiana: Petition filed to recall Monroe School Board member

They have 180 days to collect the signatures of 1/3 of the registered voters in the district.

Wisconsin: A La Follette considers running

Secretary of State Doug La Follette (according to Wikipedia, his great-grandfather and the original Robert La Follette were brothers)  is considering running in the recall

Tennessee: Chattanooga Mayor sues to stop the recall

A lot more on the Chattanooga recall. The Mayor is suing to stop the recall, which is also throwing up a host of questions (with my comments in the story). The council is considering changing the law.  Also, the timing is discouraging some from running in the recall.

Wisconsin: Articles on the Gubernatorial recall

National Journal looks at some positive signs for Scott Walker and here's an article oin the different stands taken by Milwaukee's mayor and county executive.

Nebraska: More details on the York County Attorney recall vote


California: Shasta Lake Councilwoman recall headed to the ballot

Recall against Councilwoman Dolores Lucero is going to the ballot. They needed 1222 got 1658, 1500 verified.

Nevada: Las Vegas Councilman recall claims enough signatures to get on the ballot

A bit of reversal from earlier this year -- the effort to recall Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross has now qualified for the ballot. Petitioners submitted 1,189 signatures, the recall needed 1,084 signatures to qualify.

The recall is led by Joe Scala, a car dealer who was denied a waiver to continue operating a dealership in Ross’ ward.

Maine: Selectmen vote not to verify Berwick petitions

Somewhat strange rules in the Berwick Selectmen recall. The three selectmen can delay their recall for a little but can't stop it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kansas: Basehor sets Feb 28 recall vote for Mayor and two council members

Basehor is set to vote on the recalls of Mayor Terry Hill, City Council President Dennis Mertz and city council member Iris Dysart. Interesting to note that the recalls of Mertz and Dysart are sponsored by the a different three-person committee than the recall of Hill to recall Hill.
 Accusations against the council members include violating state open-meetings laws in deciding to fire former city administrator. The mayor faces charges of misusing of public funds to purchases a scanner and coffee pot, as well as health benefits and a severance payment given to the fired city administrator.

Nebraska: York County Attorney removed in recall vote

York County Attorney Bill Sutter lost the recall in a major blowout -- 1,592 to 263. The county Board of Commissioners will appoint a replacement. Sutter is the only prosecutor to lose (or even face) a recall this year. Here's a look at the usual nature of prosecutorial recalls.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan investigation on hold until after the recall


Oregon: Oregon City recall petitioners didn't violate law

They knocked out the councilman a couple of weeks ago, and now hear some good news on their case -- they did not violate Oregon law by tying the recall with bringing back a store.

Michigan: Second attempt to recall Gov. Snyder to start in May

According to the article, the first attempt got 500,000 signatures. It needs 800,000.

Arizona: Legislature proposes recall law change in wake of Pearce loss

Here is the discussion. Haven't seen the bill online, but he mentions raising the signature requirement to 50%. Not clear if that's registered voters or turnout from the election.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Australia: NSW hold hearing on adopting the recall

The NSW government has heard from its panel of experts recommending a recall. The state would require signatures of 35 per cent of eligible voters, including at least 5 per cent from half the state's electorates (NSW has mandatory voting, apparently), :

UK: Proposed MP recall law

A draft plan by the UK Government is pushing for the adoption of the recall for MPs. This recall would be much more in line with the "judicial recall" requiring some misfeasance by officeholders. The law would require a censure vote by Commons, and only then could signature gathering, needing,  the signature of 10% of the voters, begin. The recall would also occur automatically if the MP is convicted of a criminal offense, and got less than a year in jail.

Kansas: Democrats call for Shawnee County Treasurer to resign

This story has a lot on the details of the recall (and includes quotes from me). The County Treasurer would require over 30,000 signatures, making some sense that there is pressure from the party to resign. -- I'll have a lot more to say on the year in the recall after an op-ed runs later this week or next.

California: Two Nevada County Superior Court judges face possible recall campaigns

Two Nevada County Superior Court judges, Julie McManus and Candace Heidelberger, are facing possible recall petitions. McManus is due to alleged continued absence from the bench. Heidelberger has been widely criticized over what many perceived as too-lenient sentencing of a child molester last week.

Illinois: Country Club Hills Mayor's plan to cut in half city council leads to recall threats

Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch, who won a new term in April but lost control over the city council, has threatened to cut the council in half -- from 10 to five (the city has five wards served by two alderman each). In response, Aldermen are considering pushing a recall vote.

Tennesse: Littlefield files new suit to throw out recall


Maine: Berwick petitions verified

Recalls date for three councillors to be set at next meeting.

Wisconsin: Recalls against four Republican state Senators on pace

The Democrats only need one (and, of course, to hold serve) to get control of the chamber.

Oakland: Feedback on school board recalls


Colorado: Recall Election set for Prowers Hospital District Directors

A February 7th recall has been set for two Prowers County Hospital District Directors. The recall proponents claim that one of the directors "tried to coerce a meeting between the City of Lamar and Prowers Medicial Center without the presence of the hospital attorney." Perhaps more relevant, they accuse the director of intimidating the staff, and accessing confidential information.

The second director is accused of inappropriate behavior at a board meeting and trying to protect a local monopoly.

Wisconsin: Walker raises $5.1 million since July

With the recall signatures passing the 500,000 mark, Gov. Walker is having success on the future counterattack front, raising $5.1 million since July

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wisconsin recall group claim over 500,000 in 28 days


Wisconsin: Sheboygan mayor launches recall defense


Colorado: Saguache County Clerk recall scheduled for January 24


Massachusetts: Attempt to start Fall River Mayor recall stumbles


California: Five Oakland School Board members threatened with recall

Efforts are now underway to recall five of the seven school board members for voting to close five elementary schools. They need 20% in each district. The wide-variance in voters means that the signature ranges from 4,900 signature for district 2 to 8,000 for district 1.

Wisconsin: Walker sues


Mickey Mouse Signatures and the Recall

The recent revelation that the GAB will not automatically strike fraudulent and duplicate signatures has led to the expected lawsuits and cries of unfairness and partisan bias. Some of these stories are simply good old fashion "working the ref."  Others are trying to throw a negative light on the entire recall, and claim that the whole enterprise is fixed and corrupt (very popular line of counterattack -- no criticism for the tactic, as it is sometimes accurate). Some are valid, thought provoking criticisms, but despite the complaints, this will most likely not have any real effect on the Walker recall, except in the need for campaigning spending.

The argument that Walker will only have 10 days to review the signatures (if that limit remains) is mitigated by the fact that Walker and his family are not checking signatures with some hardy band of volunteers. Every single signature examined by the GAB will be closely watched by at least two sets of well-trained, and possibly well paid, eyes from both sides of the aisle. This recall, like the earlier Senate ones, involves two heavily financed sides, both willing to spend whatever it takes to win. Let's not let that fact escape our mind.

But this does point out that signature gathering remains the most difficult and most important part of the recall process. Let's look at this in further detail.

The initial arguments against the current signature rules are resting on 14th amendment due process grounds. While I took a great Advanced Political Process course in law school, I'll defer to others on this one. So let me point to a few informative blog posts from law professors Rick Hasen and Ann Althouse (also here).

Striking a recall due to signature failure

Earlier this year, we saw an Phoenix City Council recall where the petitioners handed in over 4000 signatures. The needed 2329. Yet the petition was rejected. Now, it could be that Phoenix has a high standard, or it could be that there were many fraudulent signatures. What it does show is that even when the opposition has a seemingly insurmountable number of signatures, it is possible to get it tossed out.

Burden of Proof Shifting

Th big question is whether the burden of proof for the validity of the signature should be on the signature gatherers or the targeted official (it has to be on one or the other Whatever the ruling from the electoral commission, it's going to benefit one side). The Walker proponents are saying that it should not be on the targeted official. However, what would be the impact of Walker's interpretation on a more traditional recall? In a typical school board/city council/mayor recall, petitioners are frequently the ones without the deep pockets. The elected officials could be able to bleed the petitioners white in legal actions, and prevent the recall from getting to the ballot. This may be a better result, but the impact has to be acknowledged.

The impact could also be felt on general elections. Will a tighter signature rule damage the hopes of insurgent candidates?

Signatures as the scapegoat
In 1914, California recalled state Senator E.E. Grant. The recall was interesting for a number of reasons, but one was the problem with signatures. After Grant lost, the Progressives decided to tinker with the mechanisms of the recall law. However, they couldn't come up with a good answer They settled for increasing the penalty on fraudulently singing a petition.

The complicated future of signature gathering:
Before being forced  to back down, the GAB proposed allowing voters to print out the petition, sign it and mail it in. The UK, which is considering a recall law, would allow people to sign up at the Post office.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wisconsin: GAB looking for more time to review recall petitions


Wisconsin: Walker recall could cost Shawano County $47,000


Wisconsin: Signature questions in recall petitions

Yes, they will count Mickey Mouse if he has a valid address, andnNo, this is not a real issue in Wisconsin (though it could be in a local race). Plenty of signatures will be challenged.

Op-ed in Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times and question on the ranked choice recall

Here's my op-ed on the Quan recall. I think one of the big questions that is cropping up in regards to a Quan recall is whether, if Quan is removed, the city would be allowed to use its ranked choice/instant runoff voting (explanation here) or would instead have to use the regular First Past the Post system.

First a little background:
In Quan's victory, the first election to use ranked choice in Oakland, she finished second in the first round (with less than 25% of the vote), over nine points behind the leader, Don Perata. She only took the lead on the last distribution of votes, and won the race by less than 51-49%.

Oakland's recall law is very simple --- "exercised in the manner prescribed by general law of the State." When Oakland adopted the ranked choice system, they did not change their recall law. Of course, the state does not have ranked choice voting. So it could very well be that ranked choice will not be used in a recall.

There's another basic point here that might seriously work against Quan. If Quan ran in Arizona or other states that have all candidate that have the recall operate as a new election, she could triumph in the same manner as before. But California's recall law first has a vote on whether or not to remove the official, and then has (at the same time) a replacement vote (where the recalled official is not allowed to be a candidate). Quan would have to get an absolute majority of voters to support her to win the recall vote. Since she got less than 25% of first time voters last time, she might be facing a serious hill.

Oregon: Two Rainier city council members removed in recall vote

Looks like 70%+ voted to remove the two council members

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

India: More debate on the recall


California: recall impacts appointment of mayor and vice mayor in Hercules


Oregon: Petitions circulating against Mayor and three commissioners in Lakeside

This would be Lakeside's third recall election in six years. Petitioners need 127 signatures by March 4, to kick out Mayor Ed Gowan and Councilors Sue Allen, Naomi Parker and Ed Langley.
The fight is between two factions of the council, with Allen one onside and the other three councilors opposing her. The precipitating issue is Allen blocking the appointment of a candidate for a vacant council seat.

Oklahoma: Nowata officials delay recall by refusing to declare them sufficient

Weird result here -- four commissioners are facing a recall. The commissioners appear to need to declare the petitions sufficient. The four commissioners have all refused to vote on the sufficient declaration, which has stymied the recall.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Michigan: Tekonsha Village Trustee facing recall backed by Village President tries to turn the tables on opponent

They still seem to be in the verification stage, but the Village Trustee may face a recall in February. He is launching a recall against the Village President, who was a backer of the recall against the Trustee.

Michigan: Recount in Genesee Township shows no change in vote

Here. Recount cost $300 to $400. The four officials were sustained by two-to-one margins.

Colorado: Sedgwick County voting next week on recalling Sheriff

Sedgwick County is voting next week on the recall of a Sheriff due to what critics are calling a wild-West law enforcement style.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Arizona: Pearce finds that Money can't buy love

Details on the Pearce recall: Russell Pearce raised $261,844 and spent $259,310. His successful opponent, Jerry Lewis, raised $84,979 and spent every penny of it.
Other big facts: The majority of Lewis' donors came from inside Mesa. Fewer than a quarter of Pearce's donors came from within the city.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Michigan: State Rep recall fails

Deadline passed with no petitions.

Oregon: Oregon City Commissioner loses recall vote

Oregon City Commissioner Jim Nicita has lost his recall vote yesterday, 57%-43%. The recall proponents cited Nicita's opposition to a 650,000 square foot shopping mall.

The recall election cost $9,000 to $10,000.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

California: Lassen County Supervisor recall fails

Petitioners claim that they were not handing in petitions.

DC: Call for recalling mayor and counsel

Campaign will begin in January. More here

South Carolina: Conservatives attempting to start gubernatorial recall

This would be against Governor Nikki Haley, and according to the article, there have been several attempts to start a recall. This one would be from conservative proponents.
The article notes that the recall faces a "steep climb." Since South Carolina doesn't have a recall, that may be a nice understatement.

Texas: New Braunfels Mayor recall petitions fail

Petitioners needed 735 signatures, got over 1100, but only 668 verified. The mayor has been in office a little bit over 6 months.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan recall scheduled for Jan 17

There are six candidates. If no candidate gets 50%, the two top vote-getters face off in a Feb. 14 runoff. The city is looking to push off the runoff to Feb. 21, so it will coincide with the primary election, and save $

Washington: Petitions taken out against Spokane County Prosecutor

Washington has the judicial recall standard of malfeasance, so this probably goes to the courts. Shannon Sullivan, the woman who is leading the recall against County Prosecutor Steve Tucker, is credited with spearheading the recall of Spokane Mayor Jim West in 2005.  The complain claims that Ticker has been too lenient with cases of police misconduct. If approved, the recall would need 42K signatures in 180 days.

Here's earlier coverage on the recall of prosecutors.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wisconsin: Journal Sentinel's FAQ on the recall process

Good overview of some of the laws for the Gubernatorial recall from Steven Waters, the senior producer of Wisconsin Eye here

California: Shasta Lake Councilwoman unreachable after petitions handed in

The local paper has been unable to reach the councilwoman or supporters ever since the recall petitions were handed in.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wisconsin: State Senator Tim Cullen considering recall bid


NPR on the growth of the recall


Alaska: Petitions certified against Wasilla Councilman

Looks like the Steve Menard recall will be going to the ballot.

Wisconsin: Republicans drop one case calling for using new districts in recall

There is a second lawsuit going on, so questionable how important this decision will prove to be. The article notes that Justice David Prosser wouldn't be able to participate, so perhaps there was a strategic thought to this move.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan recall was 360 signatures than needed -- recall should be held Jan 17

The Sheboygan City Clerk's Office announced that the Mayoral recall had  4,481 valid signatures, 360 signatures more than required.
According to the report:
The council must order the recall election Monday, and the election is to be held on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. It is believed to be the first recall of a mayor in Sheboygan history.

California: Shasta Lake City Council petitions handed in

A petition to recall Shasta Lake City Councilwoman Dolores Lucero was handed in. They gave in 1,657 signatures, need 1,222.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Colorado: Occupy Denver looks to launch mayoral recall

They would need 30K signatures in 90 days, or 25% of the turnout of the last election (it's a political recall, so no need to prove malfesance). The article notes that there: "that no successful attempts at a recall election at this level in Denver haven taken place during the recent past."

Michigan: Candidates selected for replacement election in Michigan

Both parties have chosen their candidates for the February 28 replacement election. The date of the vote, the same day as the Republican presidential primary, should benefit the Republican candidate. It does show how much of a difference the process makes in a recall. The "offending" official is no longer on the ballot, and it stops being a direct race against an unpopular elected official. It's more of a straight election. Much different than in Arizona, California or Wisconsin.

Michigan: Legislators look to rework the recall in wake of Paul Scott loss

Once again, state lawmakers are proposing laws to change the recall from a political recall to a judicial one (definition here). Seems like these changes are proposed after every significant recall, to little effect.

Wisconsin: "You can't hide your lying eyes" edition? Walker "looks forward" to the recall

Politico reports here. Despite my snarky headline, there actually could be a big career benefit to the recall for Walker. Dianne Feinstein's career was certainly helped by her victory over the recall. People even lose and benefit -- North Dakota Governor Lynn Frazier, the first Governor in the nation to face a recall, was kicked out in 1921. 18 months later he was elected to the first of three terms in the US Senate.

Michigan: Petitioners fail to get signatures in for Mt. Morris February recall

Apparently, they still have time to get a recall on the ballot, just not for February. They are going after a mayor and two councilmen. Petitioners need 170 signatures. The issue is the approval of a city manager contract.

Maine: Berwick adopts recall

I'm late on this one -- and only know because Berwick is trying to recall three selectmen -- but Berwick, Maine adopted a recall on Election Day (November 8), 913-518.

California: Oakland Mayor recall gathers backing from business owners


Wisconsin: Sheboygan Mayoral recall qualifies for the ballot

The recall against Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan, started over instances of public drunkenness, has qualified for the ballot. They needed 4,121 signatures, no word yet on how many they got/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arizona: Discussion of recall against Gov. Brewer

Doesn't sound like an anything serious, but here it is.

California: Calaveras Board Supervisor recall fails to get the signatures


Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial on Senatorial redistricting and the recall


Nambia: Omaruru Mayor facing recall threat

View from oversees here

Kahua is threatened with a recall by Riruako for availing himself for election as mayor contrary to a cooperation agreement between his party and Swapo where the ruling party is supposed to keep the position of mayor with Nudo's backing while Nudo chairs the management committee with the support of Swapo. Kahua was elected mayor on Thursday last week. He allegedly accepted the mayoral position without his party's knowledge and blessing.

Wisconsin: 58% of the signatures collected for recall of Republican Senator

Article also looks at the widely perceived most vulnerable Democrat.

Alaska: Wasilla City Council Petitions handed in

284 signatures, and they need 201 valid. According to the article, this is the first time that a recall has made it this far.

Massachusetts: Group trying fourth attempt to recall Lawrence mayor

After three failed attempts, a group of Lawrence citizens are once again trying to recall the mayor. Here's an early look at one of the attempts.

Nebraska: Early voting set to begin in County Attorney recall

Here. The election is set for Dec 20.

Texas: El Paso recall given go ahead

A County Court judge rejected the attempt to stop the recall. The ruling was issued without explanation.

Arizona: Second San Luis Mayoral recall effort fails

The proponents needed 670 signatures. They submitted 863, ended up with 604.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

California: California Political Review Poll on Recalling Jerry Brown

This is a poll running in a conservative publication. The focus of the question is Brown's opposition to an "open carry" law for guns, with a secondary mention searching cell phones without a warrant.

Friday, November 25, 2011

California: Little bit of history from San Diego Union Tribune

The first recall in San Diego history was held in 1918, with the recall and removal of three school board members. Some more here

Wisconsin: More on the recall ballot destruction and Black Friday point scoring

Here and here's a reward for info leading to the arrest/conviction of anyone destroying petitions. Here's the GOP trying to score some points with Black Friday shoppers.

Wisconsin: PolitiFact checks LT Gov criticism of recall costs, finds out she's right, and might have underestimated

Lt. Gov Rebecca Kleefisch has criticized the potential Gubernatorial recall as a waste of money, potentially costing $7.7 million, that could be used elsewhere. Politifact checks her math, and finds out she's right, and might be low (could be $8-10 million). As a comparison, the costs of the Gray Davis recall was in the area of $66 million. The article criticizes her for claiming that the money will come from teacher raises or health care, but I think her point is valid -- it'll come from somewhere.

As I mentioned before, this could be a good line of arguments to lay down if not for the recall itself, than for the November election.

Michigan: Polling firm's wrong advice on the Scott recall and what it means for Gov. Snyder


Michigan: Attorney General recall proponent calls for 100 "weed warriors" to gather signatures

Took him three tries to get the petition calling for the recall of AG Bill Schuette for opposition to medical marijuana. Now, they need 807,000 signatures and are calling for supporters to help gather signatures,.

Michigan: Recall attempt against state Senator fails

Got approval on language the second time against State Senator Roger Kahn, but didn't get the signatures (or union support) for the recall.

Wisconsin: Independent spending in state elections/recall

Study discussed here

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Michigan: Signatures submitted for Tekonsha Village Trustee

63 signatures were submitted, needs 52 valid. Recall would be held in February. The recall proponent is apparently the girlfriend of the village council president.

Oregon: Molalla elected official targets two city councilors for recall

After starting and then stopping to collect signatures for a recall against two city councilors (after getting a cease and desist letter for spreading false rumors), Molalla Parks and Recreation Board Member Scott Clarke, the son of the city's mayor, has restarted petitioning. He needs to collect 340 signatures.

One of the reasons is quite unusual -- he claims that voters mistakenly voted for councilor Stephen Clark because they thought he was Mayor Mike Clarke's son.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tennessee: Chattanooga Council backs down from hiring an outside counsel, and looks to avoid removing Mayor before vote

Looks like Noah Webster probably won't be needed so quickly, as the Chattanooga City Council have apparently backed away from the possibly unprecedented idea that Mayor Ron Littlefield should be removed from office on the basis of the certification of recall signatures, and the city run by a temporary mayor until the election in August.

What's also interesting in the piece in, is that nobody seems to know how the recall language in question (on temporarily replacing an official) got put into the charter. It wasn't in the original language in 1997, and seems to have been put in during a re-affirmation in 2002.

Wisconsin: Man accused of ripping petitions for Walker recall


Kansas: Committee announces plans to take petition to recall Shawnee County Treasurer

Shawnee County Treasurer, who is being faulted for multiple problems including long lines waiting to register vehicles (after he closed his office’s motor vehicle annex), is being targeted for a recall. Commissioners ask the DA and the state AG to investigate if the Treasurer failed to perform required duties.

Voters have 90 days to collect 31,395 signatures (40% of turnout for the office). Kansas is a "judicial recall" state, meaning that there must be some misconduct, incompetence or felony. Among the allegations are commingling funds from real estate and motor vehicle taxes and (no kidding) failing to develop written procedures for "emergency exit" for his staff.

Massachusetts: Templeton recall date set

Two Selectmen from Templeton will face a recall vote sometime over the next 100 days. The recall started over a 3-2 vote to remove the Town Coordinator. The two selectmen who opposed the firing were active in the recall efforts.

The Templeton recall started out in an unusual manner -- there were signs posted stated "" 

Some history in the story, and some details of the working of the recall as well:
The last recall in Templeton was in 2004 when Board of Health members Randy Lawrence, Ida E. Bean and Neil A. Cullen were recalled. In Winchendon, Selectmen Burton E. Gould Jr. and Edward Bond were recalled in December.

Once the election is set, voters will be asked two different things, first whether one or both selectmen should be recalled. They will also indicate on the ballot who will succeed the selectmen if they are recalled. Mrs. Farrell and Mr. Mitchell have the right to be listed on the ballot with other candidates seeking to succeed them.

Texas: Judge to decide El Paso recall fate on Monday


Tennessee: Petitions taken out against Rockwood's Mayor and City Council member

The issue was a vote to deny a rezoning permit to allow an Illinois company to relocate.

It would take 15 percent of Rockwood's 3,184 registered voters signing the petition to trigger a recall referendum. Organizers said they've already obtained 150 names.
Should there be a recall, the referendum question would be on the Aug. 2, 2012, county general election ballot, said Roane County Election Administrator Charles Holiway.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tennessee: Paging Noah Webster -- Chattanooga's strange linguistic problem with the recall

Chattanooga's mayoral recall has taken a turn into a joint constitutional crisis and linguistic nightmare, as the election commission, city council and (eventually) the courts will have to grapple with an almost unheard of problem -- what does a "recall" mean?

The issue is that a section of the city's charter holds that in case the mayor is unable to serve for a host of reasons, the chair of the council becomes interim mayor. One of the reasons cited is simply "recall." The council, commission and others are debating whether the phrase recall means removed from office after a retention or new election vote or ordered to face a new election or retention vote due to petitioners gathering enough signatures to get a recall on the ballot. 

Apparently, there is a lot of support for the second position, which would mean that Mayor Ron Littlefield would be immediately ejected from office, and would not be able to regain his job until the election scheduled in August.

I've never seen any state or municipality have a recall law that ejects people based solely on handing in petitions. Perhaps it exists, but it seems like an unprecedented, and potentially dangerous, interpretation. 

The problem of what the word recall means is one I re-discover with every time I explain the history and use of the recall (Talking Points Memo discussed this same issue once, but I can't find the link). The term recall appears to mean two separate things at the same time. In one sense, it encompasses just the act of qualifying the removal vote. But it also means that the elected official is kicked out of office (the official is said to be "recalled"). To avoid this problem, I use the clumsy terms "recalled and removed" and "recalled and sustained." Otherwise, it is hard to explain how, for example, 32 state legislators were recalled, but 17 lost their jobs.

A quick glance at other states suggests some of this problem, though in the end, I would say they don't use the word recall to mean just getting it on the ballot. For example, the California Constitution cites the word word "recalled" to mean removed. Wisconsin specifically divides the words into "recall petition" and "recall election." And here's Michigan talking about a vacancy due to a recall.

In a sense, the word recall has the same linguistic usage problem as "impeached." Impeached has occasionally taken on the meaning of "removed by the legislature" (see this example). However, to be removed by an impeachment is actually referred to as "impeached and convicted." Since the Clinton impeachment, this has been less of a problem, but it is still a not-infrequent mistake.

Regardless of this problematic drafting of the charter, it's hard to believe that the council, commission and others would get caught up in that linguistic debate, and overlook the logic of how recalls operate. The recall (ignoring the debate on meaning) acts as a petition by a small group of citizens to call on the entire citizenry to revote on whether someone should continue to stay in office. This revote takes place either by holding a new early election between candidates (as in Arizona or Wisconsin) or by having a vote on the "yes or no" question of whether they should keep their job, and then decide a replacement in a separate election, either on the same day (California) or a later date (Michigan). 

The petitions are intentionally not signed by a majority of the citizenry (Chattanooga's 50% of voter turnout is actually a very high standard, states usually have something on the order of 25% of turnout). In fact, it is specifically a minority, in some cases, a very small minority (Miami-Dade only requires 4%), who can trigger the recall. Therefore, having an official removed by the simple act of handing in petitions would give a small minority of voters a surprisingly strong power to act and eject elected officials, even if only temporarily. In the case of the Chattanooga, the could swing a critical vote of the city council or get a law sign in (instead of vetoed) simply by gathering enough signatures to temporarily toss out an official. 

The recall was adopted with the express purpose increasing majority control over elected officials. There are valid criticisms of this purpose, but this is clearly the goal. The Chattanooga interpretation of the recall would actually completely subvert this purpose and give a small minority of voters an uncheckable (albeit temporary) control over elected officials.

Oregon: Recall targets Weston Mayor


Texas: El Paso receives permission to have recall on April 14

They needed permission because they are unable to provide services for the uniform election day in May. Have to look into this one a little more.

Oregon: Ballots in Rainier City Council recall mailed out

Recall results will be announced on December 13. Two city council members are accused of making back-door arrangements and ridiculing city employees and other council members.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wisconsin: Cha-Ching! Recall ads are helping local TV stations


Wisconsin: Court case to decide whether Senators facing recalls run in old or new districts

Voters are asking a court to decide the question of which district a Senator facing a recall will have to run in -- the newly drawn one, or the old one. The GAB previously stated that it would be the old one.

Wisconsin: Recall proponents report over 100K signatures in first week

The Walker recall efforts are claiming that they have 105,000 signatures in the first Tuesday-Friday of the signature gathering campaign.

There was also this foofaraw (or perhaps an arglebargle) over whether someone under 18 signed the petition.

Wisconsin: Third effort to recall Walker filed

Seems like a strange filing, as the focus will be on the second one.

Michigan: GOP halts attempts at Democratic recalls

The Michigan Republican Party has stopped their attempts to recall more than 12 Democratic state legislators, well short of getting any recalls on the ballot. The consultant's comments on the decision to halt the recall may not have translated that well to a wider audience (he makes the recall attempts sound like a phishing scam). The Detroit Free Press quotes him as saying:: “We met our strategic goals,” Sandler said. “We spent a minimal amount of money and gained thousands of contacts” and “I think the Democrats were clearly on the defensive.”

Massachusetts: More battles over the Bridgewater recall law


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tennessee: Mayor claims he might not run in a recall

The mayor is term-limited and has left than a year left in his term after the recall election

New Mexico: Recall paperwork filed for Los Lunas commissioner

Issue is the cancellation of a contract. Needs 1,782 signatures to get on the ballot (33 1/3 of the last election's turnout).

Philippines: Signature checking 40% done in Governor/Vice Governor (and brother-sister) recall

They turned in more than 70,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Here's some earlier coverage.

The Tan siblings have been charged with incompetence and allowing their mother, former governor and now Rep. Milagros Tan, to rule the province instead. Milagros Tan had been suspended during her term for graft in connection with irregularities in the use of the impoverished province’s calamity funds.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wisconsin: Radio show on recall

My mellifluous tones are featured on this one

Non-recall article on replacing Vice Presidents

From The Daily

Arizona: Pearce down but not out


Michigan: Genesee recall backer wants recount after losing blowout

Despite the blowout retention win by four officials in Genesee Township, the prime backer of the recall is calling for a recount. He claims "something fishy" and that "calls polling voters" showed a 67% vote for the recall, but the end result was 67% against the recall.

North Dakota: Former Valley City police chief gets into mayoral recall race

The former Valley City police chief, who retired after battling the former city administrator, is running in the mayoral recall.

Wisconsin: Recall effort against state Senator heating up

The recall campaign against state Senator Terry Moulton claims between 1,500 and 2,000 signatures. They need 15K.

Michigan: Scott recall certified and a bit about ongoing recall efforts


Wisconsin: Election officials estimating $650K in expenses for recalls next year

It will be much more once local officials are factored in

Wisconsin: More Democratic names for the Walker recall


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tennessee: Chattanooga recall law causing big trouble in mayoral recalls

Chattanooga's proposed mayoral recall has taken some bizarre turns, one that is guaranteed to go to the courts. Two weeks ago, an appellate court ruled that the Hamilton County Election Commission should have been able to certify the recall petitions against Mayor Ron Littlefield, though there may be some serious defects in the petitions (no dates on a large number of signatures).

The commission then had to deal with a separate question -- which law was applicable for signature gathering totals. Tennessee state law states that petitioners need to gather 15% of the total number of registered voters (14,854). Chattanooga's city charter states that petitioners need 50% of the turnout from the last election (8,957). 

The commission, providing another textbook example of Professor Hasen's argument for nonpartisan election commision, voted on party lines (3-2 Republican -- this is not to say that the victors were wrong, just that having a nonpartisan board would have avoided the cries of partisanship), not to wait for the appeal to play out, They also voted to accept city charter lower limit, thereby qualifying the recall for the ballot (the argument against adopting the city charter limit is simply that the city adopted the recall in 1990, before the state law. According to this argument, the city would have had to re-pass its law to be in compliance). 

However, the election won't be held till August 2012 (the next general municipal or county election). The mayor's term is up in May 2013.

However, here's the strange part. 

According to the site (which generally has had great coverage of the recall), Chattanooga's recall law may force the mayor before a recall occurs -- force him out now. I don't quite see the logic or how they come to this conclusion from the text of the charter (pasted below are what they say are the two contradictory provisions).  I just heard from the editor at Nooga, who notes that the arguments of whether the mayor should be forced out now before the recall vote is being discussed by the city council and election commission officials, and they are likely to hire an independent counsel and seek a declaratory judgment.

From what I gather, it seems to hinge on the word recall. I've had problems with the word "recall" before. It has a confusing double meaning -- it refers to when the person is actual brought up for the vote, but it can also mean when the person is removed (the official is recalled). It's too complicated to say recall and removed or recall and sustained. 

That being said, I would be very surprised if the mayor is removed based on the interpretation that just getting on the ballot can lead to his removal. It may be unprecedented.

From Title 3, Chapter II, Section 3.18:
In any such removal election the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. At such election, if some other person than the incumbent receives the highest number of votes, the incumbent shall therefrom be deemed removed from office upon qualification of his successors.
From Title 8, Chapter II, Section 8.30:
In the case of the mayor’s death, resignation, inability to serve for any reason, recall or removal of his or her residence from the city, upon such fact being certified by resolution of the council, the chairperson of the council shall become the interim mayor upon being administered the oath and making bond. Such person shall hold the office of the mayor on an interim basis until a new mayor is elected as provided in this Charter and qualified. The interim mayor shall have the authority to cast a vote to break a tie in the city council.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How difficult will it be to gather the 540K signatures for the Walker recall? Key comparison points

According to the GAB, Walker recall needs 540,208 signatures to get on the ballot (25% of the total votes cast in the 2010 gubernatorial election, which was 2,160,832). Wisconsin has 5.68 million people. As a point of comparison, Gray Davis' recall needed 897,158 signatures in a state of close to 36 million people.

Additionally, the pro-Walker recall petitioners will need to have a cushion of signature over the 540,208, as some signatures are bound to be tossed out. How many more do they need? That's an open question. In California, they turned in over 1.3 million signatures for the Davis recall. This article lists a 10-15% signature error rate in a Michigan recall. But there are examples of recalls with many more signatures being invalidated. In this Phoenix city council recall, over 4,000 signatures were handed in. The recall only needed 2,329. It didn't make it. The error rate was close to, if not over, 50%. 

Wisconsin does not seem to have overly strict standards for signatures (unlike NY's infamous law, which at one point let pen color invalidate pages of signatures). So that should help the pro-recall cause.

As Wisconsin doesn't have an initiative or referendum, the state does not possess California's highly developed signature gathering industry. On a state-wide basis, it's hard to tell how much a negative that will be. Let's look at last year. The pro-Walker recall forces got 6 of a possible 8 Republican state senate recalls on the ballot in arguably non-favorable districts (i.e. they didn't elect Democrats in 2010). The recall petitioners should be able to run up the score in the districts that elect Democrats. Wisconsin's law actually should provide some more comforting news for the Democrats. The senate recalls required the signatures of 25% of the votes cast for governor in that district in the last election. In other jurisdictions, it is a percentage of the votes cast for that particular office (which is invariably lower as people don't always vote the full ticket). This means that the Democrats were able to get the full support from needed for a Walker recall in all six of those Republican senate districts.

There's also the possibility of a "blocking" campaign or deliberately false signatures.  This site, run by the people who claim to have gotten the Davis recall on the ballot, note that the Davis blocking campaign was extensive. Still, the blocking campaign failed. I don't think deliberately false signatures will have much of an effect -- the parties are keeping a running tally of whether the signatures look good. They will be able to weed out the obviously fake ones.

There's one big issue that augurs well for the Walker recall petitioners. It is money. There's going to be tons of following, much more than we saw in the Gray Davis recall. $44 million was spent on the nine Senate recalls. How much more is coming into a governor's race. And nothing helps a recall get on the ballot more than some ready cash. 

Russell Pearce Op-ed in Politico

Russell Pearce's op-ed is title "It took a recall to defeat me"

New Jersey: Trenton mayoral recall attempt falls short

An attempt to remove Trenton Mayor Tony Mack failed. Petitioners got 8,500 signatures and needed 9,860.

Georgia: Hall County Commissioner suing failed recall leader for attorneys fees + court costs

After a recall attempt against Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz was dropped over the grounds for the recall (the petition got 229 signatures), Lutz is now suing the main recall organizer for attorneys fees and court costs. He is asking for over $12,000.

California: Oakland Mayor troubles

mentions the recall threat she is facing.

Michigan: Recall targets Basehor mayor

Recall petitions have also been taken out against two council members. They would need a 190 signatures to get on the ballot.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall -- thoughts on timing and signature requirement

Despite a bizarre early jump start last week, tomorrow is D-Day for the start of the Governor Scott Walker recall campaign (and against at least three Republican state Senators). The recall proponents, who include Democrats and unions, need to gather an estimated 540,000 valid signatures in 60 days to get on the ballot. If they get Walker on the ballot, it would be only the fourth time (North Dakota in 1921, Arizona in 1988, California in 2003) a gubernatorial recall qualified for the ballot in the US. The Arizona recall against Governor Evan Meacham never took place (Meacham was impeached before the recall was held). The two other Governors, Lynn Frazier and Gray Davis, both lost their recall vote.

In some ways, Wisconsin would be a surprising candidate to hold a gubernatorial recall. Its law present a higher hurdle than other states. It possesses the shortest time frame for petitioning -- 60 days. Only Idaho, Nevada and Colorado have that low a time limit to gather the signatures. Many states have a much larger time frame (it varies from 90 to 320 days ).

Its signature requirement is not low: The 540,000 represents 25% of the vote for the governor's office in the last election. Three states have clearly lower requirements (California, Oregon, Rhode Island), Only three states have clearly higher requirement (Kansas, Louisiana and NJ).

Let's compare this to California, the last state to hold a gubernatorial recall. Proportionally, 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. The recall proponents also chose a good year -- the 2002 election saw the lowest turnout in California history. Of course, the Gray Davis recall needed many more signatures (close to 900,000), the proponents got to fish from a much larger pool.

But this hurdle will likely be surmounted by the recall petitioners. And money (and technology) will be the big reason. Back to the West Coast -- There were 31 recall attempts in California before the Gray Davis recall. None of them got on the ballot. But Davis' recall had other factors in its favor: the growth of a signature gathering industry and the technological revolution to help to get the word and organize volunteers. Most of all, it had the cash. Gray Davis' recall had some deep pockets backing it (Rep. Darrell Issa). And that money is a pittance compared to what will be spent in Wisconsin.

The other major issue is timing. Unfortunately, I don't have time to expand right now, but here's a previous post expounding on the dangers of the timing of this recall.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Maine: Monmouth revises recall law

City changes its recall law. In the past, it required a 2/3 majority for an official to be removed, now it is just majority. It still requires 10% of the voters to turnout for a recall to be official.

California: Petitions approved for Discovery Bay official

Recall petitions are going out for a Discovery Bay Community Service District board member who has been arrested for spousal battery.

Historic State Legislative Recall -- Now 32 state legislative recalls in US History

Just found out about a 1981 recall in Washington State against then-Senator Peter Von Reichbauer. Von Reichbauer switched parties, flipping the legislature from Democrat to Republican. Still trying to find out more details, though Von Reichbauer defeated the recall.

There are now 32 Recalls in US history, 17 have resulted in throwing out the elected official, 15 have resulted in retaining the official.

Texas: Jasper will not replace recalled council members until May, 2012

Since the council still has a quorum, the council has decided not to hold a special election to fill the two seats (though by law they can). The article does not discuss the politics behind the decision.

In May, it sounds like the mayor will face a recall vote.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Texas: Killeen recall prevents town action

With five members recalled yesterday and only two members of the city council left, Killeen cannot muster a quorum, and cannot vote on town business.

Wisconsin: Sheboygan mayoral recall could costs $40k

Half of the cost is if there is a primary

Michigan: Wayne County Executive recall petitions okayed

Wayne County Election Commission has approved the language of a proposed recall against Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. The issue is a severance package to a county official who became CEO of Metro Airport that has eventually morphed into a major scandal.

The petitioners have 90 days to collect 131,357 signatures (25% of the votes cast for governor). The article actually lists a 10-15% error rate on signatures. I've never seen that number put in, though I have to say it makes sense (outside of NY, that is).

Oregon: Silverton City Council recall abandoned

The primary backer of the recall against four Silverton City Council members has dropped his efforts despite claiming that he has enough signatures to get it on the ballot. He claims that the cost of the recall and the search for a new city manager caused him to drop the effort. The complaint was that the council members voted for a downtown streetscape project.

North Dakota: Grenora school board member recalled

Final vote was 111-101

Maine: Bowdoinham adopts recall

According to the town (no link yet), the vote was 673-382. Here's a copy of the new law.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Results from 26 recalls -- 14 officials removed, 12 sustained

Don't have all the totals yet, but so far the recall is leading --  14 officials were removed by the recall and 12 survived the vote.  I actually missed a four recalls, but made up for it with a few errors (see on bottom). 

The big news is of course the two state legislative recalls, which both ousted the incumbents. But there's plenty more. Here's the totals and we'll have a lot more analysis tomorrow. 

Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce --- Lost recall 
Superior --  Mayor -- Lost recall
Salome -- School Board Member -- Lost recall 

Parlier --  four School Board Members -- Survived recall
Biola -- two Community School Board Members -- lost recall

House Rep Paul Scott -- Lost Recall
Genesee Township -- four officials, Supervisor, Clerk, 2 Trustees -- Survived recall
Taylor -- Mayoral Recall -- Survived recall
Flushing Township -- Treasurer and Trustee -- Survived recall

North Dakota:
Genora -- One school board member -- Lost recall

Jasper -- Three City Council members -- two of three lost recall
Killen -- Five City Council members, including Mayor Pro-Tem -- all lost recall

Bowdoinham voters will decide whether the city should adopt the recall -- passed

There are a few additions and subtractions from the recall list, though the total number stays at 26 recalls. The Washington State recall is not on the ballot yet, and the Ellicott, Colorado School Board recall occurred last week (Nov. 1). On the other hand, I missed four officials being recalled (two in Michigan, two in California). So, 26 is still correct.

Arizona: Salome School Board member loses recall

Vote was 190-176.

Washington: Quilcene fire commissioner recall approved for petitions

I incorrectly posted this in my recall scorecard, when they have just been approved to gather signatures. Quilcene -- Two Fire Commissioners for falsifying minutes to a meeting

Michigan: Taylor mayor beats recall

Unofficial results have it at 5,759-3.893.