Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nevada: Effort to recall North Las Vegas Mayor crawling to the finish line

It looks like the effort will fail to get the signatures.

California: Portola Mayoral recall has the signatures

Portola has certified the petitions to recall Mayor Dan Wilson. They handed in 364 signatures, needed 269. Recall scheduled for April 14.

Maine: Petitioners claim enough signatures to recall three Berwick Selectmen

They need 235 signatures. The recall appears to be about the purchase of a property. The town just adopted the recall on Nov. 8th.

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.

Colorado: 2 school board members ousted in Ellicott

This was actually last week -- Ellicott voters ousted two school board members, with the third having already resigned, but had to remain on the ballot.

Arizona: Superior Mayor loses recall

It looks like the mayor of Superior, Arizona has been removed, losing the recall 324-306.

California: Biola District Board recall results in husband and wife ouster

Here's another recall that I missed -- a husband and wife team in Biola, California Community Services District. Corruption charges and countercharges have been thrown around before the recall, including the claim that the husband broke into the office. Anyway, they were both recalled and removed with 90% of the vote against.

California: Parlier School Board Members survive

It looks like the four school board members in Parlier survived a recall vote (supported by the fifth member of the board).

Michigan: Genesee Township officials survive

All four officials survived a recall vote. Certainly looks like the blowout variety:

The night was a good one for township officials, with Bates receiving 2,210 no votes to 962 yes votes, while Supervisor Steve Fuhr received 2,213 no votes to 961 yes votes. 

Trustee Kathy Sutton tallied 2,243 no votes to 924 yes votes, while trustee Patricia Witte had 2,256 no votes against 915 yes votes

Texas: Five Killeen City Council Members recalled

All five members of the Killeen City Council lost their recall races. According to press reports, the council will not be able to meet until they fill the seats.

Michigan: Paul Scott loses recall

Michigan State Representative Paul Scott has become 3rd Michigan legislator to lose a recall vote. According to reports Scott lost by a little over 200 votes tonight. No word yet on the turnout.

Scott was the 17th state legislator in US history to ever lose a recall vote (with Arizona Senate Leader Russell Pearce being the 16th earlier tonight). 14 legislators have survived recall votes.

Arizona: Senate Majority Leader Pearce loses seat in Recall

According to the Arizona Secretary of State's website, with 100% of the precincts reporting, Arizona Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce has lost his recall election to challenger Jerry Lewis. Turnout appears to be 29% of registered voters. 

Pearce is the first sitting state legislative leader to be ousted in a recall, and the 16th (of 30, with one outstanding) state legislator to lose a seat in the 103 year history of state legislative recalls. Pearce is the first Arizona state official to be recalled.

Pearce was the third state legislative leader to face a recall. The first was California President Pro Tempore David Roberti in 1994. The second was Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon in 2008. Both of men triumphed. See the details here.

There was one other recall of a former legislative leader, though the circumstances were so bizarre that it has to be separated out. Without going into too much details about the California recall wars of 1995, Republican Doris Allen backed the Democrats in a closely divided Assembly that had already seen two recall votes. Allen was elected Speaker of the Assembly and served for a little over 3 months, but she stepped down before her recall. She lost her recall race.

According to the Arizona law, Pearce is actually able to demand reimbursement for his election costs. No one is sure how that will work, but more on that here.

Pearce was ousted by a fellow Republican. This has happened in the past, including in 2003, when Wisconsin Senator Gary George lost to a fellow Democrat in his recall primary.

Pearce is the first recall of a state official in Arizona history. Arizona actually has a great history with the recall. The state's original constitution provided for the recall of judges. William Howard Taft vetoed the constitution, resulting in heavy criticism from Teddy Roosevelt and a big campaign issue in the 1912 election. Additionally, Governor Evan Mecham was all set to face a recall in 1988, but was impeached and convicted before the recall took place.

The state has noteworthy local recalls, including the recall of the "worst boss in America."

The recall originally featured three candidates, Pearce, Lewis and Olivia Cortes. Cortes was widely believed to be a spoiler -- a candidate run by Pearce to siphon anti-Pearce votes away from Lewis. The court originally ruled that she would stay on the ballot, but then Cortes dropped out, but her name stayed on the ballot. Despite dropping out, Cortes pulled in 252 votes, or 1.24%. 

Michigan: Scott holds small lead with 3/4 reporting

He's up by a little over 200 votes with 74% reporting

Arizona: Looking bad for Pearce with 87% reporting

He's down by 1,400 votes (53-46%) with 87% reporting. Olivia Cortes, the "sham" candidate who pulled out, has received 250 votes.

Texas: 2 of 3 Jasper City Council members ousted

No word yet on the details, but 2 of the 3 Jasper City council members facing a recall were ousted.

Arizona: Pearce trailing with 19K votes counted

Pearce is trailing in the early going -- Here's the State Election site

Michigan: Flushing Township officials survive

Two recalls I missed in my scorecard, the Flushing Township Treasurer and Trustee, survived the recall. Both received about 66% of the vote, which was a bit over 1,400 votes.

The issues in the recall include:

Petition language states that reasons for recall include both officials not supporting the police department and stating the police department borrowed money from the water fund when it wasn't true.
The petitions also list additional, separate reasons to recall each official, including Noecker transfering $100,000 from the township water fund without board approval and Gardner costing the township unnecessary legal fees in 2009 when he requested copies of resumes and information for police chief candidates instead of reviewing them at the township hall.

Michigan: Scott takes the lead with 57% reporting

Here's the updates -- very close so far.

Wisconsin: 17 state senators could be targeted for recalls next year

Since half the Senate was not eligible for a recalls, and since the Senate is split 18-17, it makes sense that the other half might be in play. We'll see what happens.

Texas: Federal Government monitoring the Jasper recall


Arizona: Look back on the history of the Pearce recall


Monday, November 7, 2011

Michigan: Timeline for the Paul Scott recall

Here's some history on it.

California: Hanford City Council recall goes to petitioning


Tennessee: Chattanooga recall law still unsettled

There's uncertain over how many signatures would be needed to recall the mayor -- 15K or 9K.

Massachusetts: Second attempt to recall Lawrence mayor is set back by failure to notarize petition


Arizona: Colorado River Indian Tribes recall fails

Vote was 295 to 345.

Nebraska: York County Attorney Recall set for December 20 -- A look at prosecutors and the recall

Bill Sutter, the York County Attorney (the local D.A.) who has been accused of inappropriate conduct on numerous occasions, will face a recall vote on December 20th. It looks like if Sutter loses the recall, the county then holds a special election to fill the position.

This recall brings up a question -- how unusual is it to have a recall against a prosecutor? On the state level, only one state Attorney General has been recalled -- North Dakota's AG in 1921, swept out in the same wave as the Governor and the Agriculture Commissioner. The Michigan A.G. is facing a recall campaign, but it is definitely a longshot to get on the ballot.

On the local level, historically, don't seem to get him with too many recalls. The Recall: Tribunal of the People (1997) does not mention any D.A. recalls. Going way back, in The Recall of Public Officers (1930) Bird & Ryan claim that only one California D.A. had been recalled (Barclay McCowan of Kern County in 1917). San Francisco D.A. Charles Fickert faced a recall vote in 1917, but he won a crushing victory,

More recently, Oregon has seen a spate of prosecutorial recalls. Four D.A.'s were recalled in 10 years ending in 2008, including a husband and ex-wife (10 years apart). There are clearly other examples, though one to note was the Marin County D.A. beating back a recall brought by medical marijuana advocates by a 6-1 margin in 2001.

However, there are no signs that prosecutors face recalls at the same level as many other local officials (like mayors and councilmembers). This article notes that the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan reported that there were no recall elections against county attorneys, at least in the last 30 years. Among recall petitions currently circulating, I've only seen one against a prosecutor.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

26 recalls on Tuesday -- A Recall Elections Scorecard

Thanks to laws in some states tying recalls to election day, November 8 is shaping up to be a big, perhaps historic, recall day. According to my count (and this could be updated), there will be 26 separate recalls in 11 jurisdictions in 7 states.

The big news is the two state legislative recalls, including only the third recall of a state legislative leader in the country's history. These two elections may provide an interesting test of recalls and voter turnout. Usually, recalls held on the same day as a regularly scheduled election date should have higher voter turnout than a recall scheduled for a special election. However, these two elections are taking place on an off-year election, which would expect lower turnout. We'll see the results.

26 of these recalls are on the local level, and they are being held for a variety of reasons. Many are related to the economic downturn, but that should not obscure the fact that the recall has been on a steady upswing for at least 30 years. From my vantage point, technological changes have help drive the growth of the recall.

Without further ado, here's a list of the recall elections to be held on Tuesday. Thanks for the idea for this scorecard goes to David Nir at the Daily Kos, who suggested I create a list for readers of this blog.

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

Parlier --  four School Board Members (fight between the former superintendent and the current board -- the only member not facing a recall is supporting the recall of the other four)

Ellicott -- Two School Board Members

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

North Dakota:
Genora -- One school board member

Jasper -- Three City Council members
Killen -- Five City Council members, including Mayor Pro-Tem

 Quilcene -- Two Fire Commissioners for falsifying minutes to a meeting

Additionally, on Nov. 8:
Bowdoinham voters will decide whether the city should adopt the recall

Last week saw two Forest Grove, Oregon School Board Members lose their recall elections on November 1, and a Colorado River Indian Tribe (Arizona) Councilwoman survived a recall on Nov. 3.

There are plenty of upcoming recalls in the months ahead. In December, an Oregon City Commissioner, a Josephine, Oregon County Commissioner and a York County, Nebraska County Attorney will face recall votes. In early 2012, the mayor of Valley City, North Dakota, the mayor of Ione, California are going to the voters.

And that's just what's on the ballot. We will also be tracking numerous signatures gathering efforts around the country, most notably (and a little research will show why some of these seemingly obscure local elections are notable):

Fullerton City Council

Saguache County Clerk

Governor, Attorney General, numerous Senators and Representatives

El Paso Mayor and City Council members

Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Senate and Assembly members

What to expect when you're expecting a recall -- Arizona Senate Regicide edition

On Tuesday, controversial Arizona Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce will be facing a recall vote, only the third time a state legislative leader has had to face a recall. Unlike Wisconsin and Michigan, the recall was not launched by a specific interest group, but it is frequently tied to a specific interest group issue -- immigration. 

After numerous twists and turns, including an Arizona Supreme Court ruling and the presence of a "sham" candidate, Pearce will face off against Republican Jerry Lewis. The latest polls show a super close race. This article has some stats on the district, 37% Republican, 26% Democrat, explaining why no Democrat is challenging Pearce.

Pearce's recall will be held on the same day as the recall of Michigan State Rep. Paul Scott, making them the 10th and 11th state legislator in the US to face a recall this year. (Wisconsin had the other 9). How unprecedented is this? From the 1908 (when Oregon adopted the recall for state officials) till 2010, only 20 state legislators faced a recall vote. Is Voter Anger to blame or is it something else? What do all these recall mean?

Let's look at the big talking points. Apologies if you've seen some of this material before in my earlier primers.

"You have selected Regicide"
Pearce is the third state legislative leader to face a recall. The first was California President Pro Tempore David Roberti in 1994. The second was Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon in 2008. Both of men triumphed. See the details here.

There was one other recall of a legislative leader, though the circumstances were so bizarre that it has to be separated out. Without going into too much details about the California recall wars of 1995, Republican Doris Allen backed the Democrats in a closely divided Assembly that had already seen two recall votes. Allen was elected Speaker of the Assembly and served for a little over 3 months, but she stepped down before her recall. She lost her recall race.

Pearce is the first recall of a state official in Arizona history. Arizona actually has a great history with the recall. The state's original constitution provided for the recall of judges. William Howard Taft vetoed the constitution, resulting in heavy criticism from Teddy Roosevelt and a big campaign issue in the 1912 election. Additionally, Governor Evan Mecham was all set to face a recall in 1988, but was impeached and convicted before the recall took place.

The state has noteworthy local recalls, including the recall of the "worst boss in America."

Running Up the Score:
Though there were a number of nail bitters in Wisconsin, historically blowout victories are the norm in recall races. There is certainly a logic to the blowout nature -- the official is either really hated, or the interest group that pushed the recall is viewed as going overboard. Pearce's recall looks to be a barnburner -- here's a couple of examples of those.

Election Day vs. Special Election:
Historically, turnout is low for recalls that are held as special elections. This a real advantage to this for recall proponents -- going back to our 20 legislative recalls, 18 were probably held as special elections. 13 of those were successful.

On closely followed recalls, turnout is higher.  Wisconsin, like the Gray Davis recall before, saw big turnout. Pearce's recall has been closely followed, so we will probably see good numbers. Leading us to....

Get up, stand up:
The ground game is critical to recalls -- they are frequently decided by turnout. The advantage seems to be with the recall proponents -- they are motivated and are going to the polls. But this is a regularly scheduled election day (though in an off-year election). This advantage to recall proponents is lost -- people don't necessarily need to be told to show up. In 2008, both state legislative recalls were held on election days. Both candidates won handily.

Burned rate:
Historically, the big hurdle to the recall is getting on the ballot. Once it's there, elected officials are frequently kicked out of office. Of the 20 state legislators to face a recall before this year, 13 were kicked out. However, the numbers are improving for elected officials in recent years. 2008 saw two survivors. And Wisconsin hit barely above the Mendoza line with an anemic 2 for 9. So we now stand at 15-29.

On the state-wide level, the recall has been rare but successful. Two Governors have faced a recall (California's Gray Davis in 2003, North Dakota's Lynn Frazier in 1921), both were removed. In 1921, the North Dakota Attorney General and Commissioner of Agriculture were also removed with a recall.

The Interest Group Defense:
It is not as clear cut as in other states, but the Pearce's recall has been viewed as being initiated by a specific interest group. Does that help or hurt the recall's chances? History suggests that the best defense is blaming a specific interest group, rather than a political party. See here for a lot more on the subject, including why interest groups make a great villain.

The lack of a special election certainly held down costs (and criticism) of the recall.However, it also deprived Pearce of an issue that almost everyone facing a recall uses -- that the opponents are wasting taxpayer funds on a frivolous election. 

There is a second issue with costs. Due to a strange rule in Arizona, Pearce is actually able to demand reimbursement for his election costs. No one is sure how that will work, but more on that here.

Campaign Finance:
Pearce is not allowed to accept corporate donations. Very different rules than Wisconsin. While money has poured in, it is nowhere near as much money as in Wisconsin. Most of the campaign fundraising was hidden from view until days before the election.

Spoiler Alert!
The recall originally featured three candidates, Pearce, Lewis and Olivia Cortes. Cortes was widely believed to be a spoiler -- a candidate run by Pearce to siphon anti-Pearce votes away from Lewis. The court originally ruled that she would stay on the ballot, but then Cortes dropped out, but her name stayed on the ballot. We'll see if there's any impact. Here's a little bit on recalls and sham candidates.

Will there be calls for recall reform? Of course there will be. Will the recall disappear into the ether after this brief burst? Tune in and we'll see.

Wisconsin: Strange start to Walker recall efforts triggers questions

A contributor to Gov. Walker and the state Republican party unexpectedly filed the first papers to recall Gov. Walker. The Democrats are calling it a "dirty Republican ploy," with the Republican Party denied. The man who filed the recall claims it was done on to "fulfill my friend's last request." The reason for the unexpected filing may be Wisconsin's unusual "no-limit" campaign contribution law for recalls. The Democrats were planning to file next week, and Walker will have an extra week and a half to take in contributions.

Presumably, this doesn't start the clock on the Democrats' signature gathering efforts.

Missouri: Recall proponents explain why they dropped recall against City Councilman


North Dakota: Grenora school board recall to be held on Tuesday

The story is a little unclear, but Grenora school board member Jim Bratlien is facing a recall on Tuesday.

The charge is “inappropriate conduct by a school board official.” A recall committee member claims  that Bratlien, along with Superintendent Faller, make decisions without much regard for others’ views; Bratlien has been on the school board too long, and she wants somebody new who has children in the school district. The Superintendent Faller claims, according to the article:

"that the recall is the result of dissatisfaction with disciplinary actions she took with some students, which were supported by the school board, chaired by Bratlien. Karen Iverson, the recall committee chairman, David Pittenger, a recall committee member and Robert Fields, Bratlien’s challenger, were some names Faller mentioned as having filed complaints against her in 2009. She said this same group who worked to have Bratlien recalled filed with the state Educational Standards and Practices Board to have her teaching license revoked in 2009, but the ESPB ruled in her favor.
Bratlien said a possible point of contention that led to the recall is a decision regarding the sports co-op Grenora participates in. The school board decided to continue its membership rather than to start its own sports program, a decision that caused controversy."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tennessee: Appellate Court overturns ruling preventing Chattanooga Mayoral Recall

The ruling states that the Hamilton County Election Commission should have been allowed a chance to certify the recall petitions against Chattanooga's Mayor Ron Littlefield. Littlefeld responds here and here's the ruling.

Arizona: Recall against Colorado River Indian Tribe Councilwoman set for today

The claim is misconduct in releasing confidential financial data to prevent a tribe member from getting backing for his business.

Wisconsin: AG opinion says LG would not be automatically included in Gov recall

The Wisconsin Attorney General has issued a formal opinion stating that a recall of the Governor would not automatically also remove the Lieutenant Governor. Here's the formal opinion. I've stated before (the same question is coming up in regards to NJ) that I think the AG's position is the correct one. An impeachment would not automatically knock out both officials, why should a recall? And, by the logic that calls for an automatic removal of both officials with one vote, a recall of a LG would also automatically take out the Governor.

This issue did not come up in California, because they have a split ticket approach to LG elections. This is only a question for same ticket states.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair issued a critical statement, though he wisely doesn't delve into the details.