Thursday, May 26, 2011

Arizona's Election Director's Blunder: Will the Pearce Recall be Pushed Off Five Months Due to Election Director's error

Recalls laws vary greatly between each state, with some focused on quick resolutions and reducing costs (like California's recall vote and replacement election on the same day), and others actually holding extremely expensive recalls (like Miami-Dade, with a recall, replacement vote and potential rerun vote). Arizona is on the extreme of cost savings -- they do not provide for a special election. Instead, the recall is pushed off till the next consolidated election date. As I've mentioned before, this probably benefits incumbents. But Arizona's laws are even more complicated, as the Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce recall is showing.

Arizona's Election Director gave organizers erroneous information of the drop-dead date to hand in recall petitions to trigger a November recall (while she was contrite, her "it is what it is" comment might not endear her to recall proponents) The signature checking requirements, the need for a Governor's sign off, and a statutory delay, all mean that the petitions had to be handed in several weeks earlier than they were told.

The result is fairly monumental. Instead of a November recall, the recall vote would be pushed off till March, giving Pearce almost an entire legislative session to continue his service. Pearce obviously has good reason to want to push it off. Not only for the more time, but then the election would be held the same day as a presidential primary, drawing out all of Pearce's supporters, and negating the low voter turnout advantage that help propel recalls. The recall proponents have already lawyered up. I'll have more to say about the likely success of the Pearce recall and some historical antecedents after the article I wrote for Arizona Capitol Times runs. But this is certainly one to watch.


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