Sunday, December 30, 2012

Non-recall op-ed on Ousting the Speaker

Here's an op-ed I wrote for The Week on the Republicans long history of removing their House leader.

Alabama: New legislation proposed on adopting recall

I've written on this specific proposal before. The recall law is proposed by a Democrat, and doesn't appear to have much chance of passage. It would require 25% of turnout, petitioners would have 90 days to get the signatures, and it would be a judicial recall or malfeasance standard.

AP story on the year in recalls

Here, with my comments.

North Dakota: Williston School Board member discuss recall

Williston School Board member Katie Peterson, discussing the issues of the recall

Colorado: 400 signatures gathered to recall three Evergreen Fire Protection District board members

Petitioners are claiming 400 signatures to recall three Evergreen Fire Protection District Board members, vice president Charlie Simons, secretary Jeff deDisse and treasurer David Christensen. Petitioners need 300 per board member.

The issue is a vote to build a fire training building, which residents say is inappropriate in aresidential and commercial neighborhood

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Year in Recalls -- 168 recalls in 2012; 509 petitions taken out (updated numbers -- 507 taken out; 166 recalls)

Update: I had two recalls that should not have been counted in 2012 -- so the numbers should be 507 attempts and 166 recalls. 

As it is this blog's second year, we are now looking at our second recap, and the number are pretty impressive. In 2012, there were at least 168 recalls in 93 different jurisdictions. Here's my article in The Week examining the phenomena.

This is an increase from last year, when there were 151 recalls. This year, I also compiled a list of how many times recall petitions were reported to have been taken out -- 509 times. There were also numerous reported recall threats, but I never saw a follow-through, so I didn't include those.

I should point out that I am fairly certain that there are almost certainly recalls that I missed, so the 168/509 numbers should be seen as a floor, rather than a ceiling.

Despite the fact that the single most noteworthy recall -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker -- failed to remove the official, as a whole, the recalls were extremely successful. 108 officials were bounced, with 82 being kicked out, and 26 resigning before the recall took place. As I pointed out last year, this fact is especially striking compared to the fact that the incumbent reelection rate in the US is at least over 75%.

To answer the biggest question I receive, I do not breakdown the recalls by party. This is simply because most of the recalls are on the local level, where the position is elected on a nonpartisan basis, and it is not readily apparent which party the official belongs to. Additionally, when there is a partisan position, the party label is frequently a misleading way of judging the recall, as many are not based on D v. R partisan motivations.

If you would look at the history, especially at the state legislative level where party is most obvious, you would see both parties are not shy about using recalls (for example of the 14 state legislative recalls from 1981-2008, most were launched against Democrats, and ethics played very little role in those recalls).

That being said, I would say that the majority of recalls that had a partisan basis (and it is a very small minority of the 168 and the 509) to them in 2012 were launched by Democrats or Democratic-supporting groups. The reason for that is simple -- recalls are generally used by the group that is not in office. The Democrats did very poorly in the 2010 elections. 

Some other interesting facts:
  • Recalls were held (or an official resigned in the face of a recall) in 20 states and the District of Columbia;
  • Since 2011, 25 states and DC have held recalls
  • The state with the most recalls was once again Michigan. Since the state changed its recall laws, we'll see if that holds up.
  • The only state level recalls bin 2012 were in Wisconsin -- the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and four state Senators.
  • 29 mayors faced recalls -- many of these mayors were elected as part of the city council, so the votes were not city-wide
  • 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.
Recalls continue to face barriers from administrative or judicial officials:
  • 22 times an agency or election commission prevented the recall from getting on the ballot (for reasons that did not include a failure to gain enough signatures.
  • 22 other times, the judiciary rejected the recall (most prominently in El Paso, Texas).
  • In one instance, in Holy Cross Alaska, the city council simply refused to schedule the recall. 
Despite the criticism of the recall, it continues to expand.
  • Five localities adopted the recall in 2012.
  • One locality, College Station, Texas, became the first jurisdiction that I know of, to change their recall from a political recall to a judicial recall or a malfeasance standard.
  • Michigan's legislature adopted a new law that may significantly curtail the use of the recall in the state. This came at the same time as their adoption of a Right to Work law. It should be noted that the recall changes were not approved by voters -- it would have been interesting to see how voters would have felt about the changes. As I note in The Week:
Following the Walker recall campaign, there was talk of recalls facing a backlash. Pundits were quick to cite a Wisconsin exit poll that showed 60 percent of voters wanted to limit the use of the recall to malfeasance or incompetence. Another 10 percent of voters wanted to eliminate the recall altogether. However, all the talk around that poll had one major flaw: 70 percent of voters might have touted opposition to the use of the recall, but that didn't stop 47 percent of voters from casting ballots to kick Scott Walker out of office.
The reasons for the recalls this year span the spectrum. The Wisconsin recalls were the most prominent, but there were plenty of others that received notice. Firing of city managers and police chiefs were very popular issues. The Fullerton, California recalls were very well followed. Others included the Mayor of Troy, Michigan, a big tea party supporter who was targeted for, among other things, some anti-gay comments.

Some of the more noteworthy ones including extramartial affairs by city council members, opposing another member's appointment of his girlfriend to the village counciltrashing a hotel room, one launched by the wife of a losing candidate and using Meth.  And for movie buffs, the Mayor of Truth and Consequences, New Mexico survived a recall. Even the ghost of Belle Starr couldn't help as there is now a new huckleberry in town: the mayor of Tombstone, Arizona was bounced and replaced by the owner of Johnny Ringo's bar.

Of course some times, the recalls failed to get on the ballot. Noteworthy among these was a Moreno School Board member who has been indicted on 11 counts, including rape, pimping, pandering and attempted murder. Petitioners simply didn't get the signatures.

In the face of the "Bermuda Triangle" nature of the recall, with this continue? No reason to think it won't. There have already been plenty of recalls scheduled for 2013, including three Council members in Poland, Maine who are facing a recall vote on January 3.

Monday, December 24, 2012

North Dakota: Two Williston School Board members targeted in recall

Two Williston school board members, Monica Chamley and Katie Peterson, are facing recall petitions due to complaints about the superintendent. No word on how many signatures are needed to get it on the ballot.

Arizona: Three Bouse School Board Members voted out in November recall

A couple of stragglers in this year's recall total: Three Bouse School Board members, Virginia Beulke, Melissa Williams and Joyce Tucker, were all kicked out of office on November 6. The issue appears to be a vote to merger Bouse school district with Quartzsite.

Beulke lost 43.30-56.70%. Tucker lost 47.37-51.75%, and Williams lost 37.99-62.01%.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wisconsin: La Crosse Council President recall now on the ballot

Another surprising turn in La Crosse council president Audrey Kader recall. After tossing out a large number of signatures, petitioners were able to correct the errors (by adding in proper addresses) . They now have 169 valid signatures (they needed 158).

Arkansas: Fort Smith City Director-elect facing recall threat before taking office

Fort Smith City Director-elect Keith Lau, who hasn't even started in office yet, is facing a recall threat over an animal control ordinance. The former Chair of the Animal Services Advisory Board has threatened the recall. The Chair resigned on July 18 after sending a "lengthy and sarcastic e-mail" to a separate director

Petitioners can't try for the recall until Lau has served six months. Petitioner also claims that they woul need 237 signatures (35% of turnout from the primary), though it sounds like the actual number is 2,048 (due to the fact that the last general election for the seat was in 1996).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Michigan: Jackson Mayor facing recall petitions

Jackson Mayor Martin Griffin is facing a recall petition (language still to be approved). The issues appear to be his support of the city’s stormwater ordinance fee and his support for a payment upon the resignation of the former city Manager.

Michigan: Recall law signed into law by Governor

Michigan's Governor has signed into law the bill limiting recalls. The most prominent provisions are making the recall a one-step process, the moving the signature gathering timeframe from 90 to 60 days and limiting recalls to only Election Days in May and November. It would also prevent recalls in the first and last year of a Senators term (and six month each for Reps), and mandate "factual" charges, a very unclear term.

For some analysis of the provisions (I'll look at the law in further depth when I have some time), see here and here

Virginia: Loudoun County Supervisor facing threats of a recall trial

Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio is facing removal threats. The Arlington Commonwealth’s attorney office are investigating Delgaudio for allegations he misused county resources for political fundraising and campaigning.

Chairman of the LCDC Evan Macbeth said:

“Virginia does not have recall elections, but recall trials. As such, we’ve evaluated options, including a recall petition, in light of the law and the fact that there is a legal process and investigation underway now.”
I don't know the last time a recall trial was used in the state, so it would be interesting to see one.

New Mexico: Truth of Consequences Mayor survives recall vote

Truth or Consequences Mayor John Mulcahy survived a recall vote (perhaps the last of the year), despite losing 332-273 (54.8% in favor of removal). In order to ward off the possibly unfair advantage of a special election, New Mexico law requires that the votes in favor of a recall equal or exceed the number the official received in the election.

Petitioners needed 374 votes.
Mulcahy, 52, receives $550 per month as mayor.

One candidate for mayor claim that the recall was about Mulcahy's not supporting a city-sponsored site for a spaceport visitor center, for his ties to several influential developers, and for City Hall’s push to build a waste transfer station.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wisconsin: Schools Superintendent, who signed Walker recall petitions, facing election

Wisconsin schools superintendent Tony Evers, who signed a petition to recall Scott Walker is now facing a reelection race. Walker is officially undecided in the non-partisan race.

Oregon: Baker School Board members consider suit against recall petitioner for cost of election

Following the Baker School Board members recall in which the board chair Lynne Burroughs and member Mark Henderson both survived the vote, the school board is now considering a lawsuit to sue the petitioner to collect $10,000 for the cost of the recall. This suit sounds like a guaranteed loser.

The board claims that the petitioner claimed false reasons in her recall statement on the ballot.

The state statute deals with a candidate or political committee publishing falsities “with knowledge or with reckless disregard” according to the first subsection of the statute.
“Any candidate or political committee aggrieved by a violation of this section shall have a right of action against the person alleged to have committed the violation,” the law states in subsection 5.
The district has 30 days after the election to take action, the statute stipulates.

Maine: Three Poland Selectmen facing January 3 recall vote

Three Poland selectmen, Jim Fernald, Larry Moreau and Wendy Sanborn, are facing the first recall vote of the new year on January 3.

The issue was their decision to fire former Town Manager Rosemary Kulow.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Michigan: Backer of Right to Work Law pledges help in recall drives

Dick DeVos, who helped kill the collective bargaining ballot measure, has pledged to financial support Republicans in recall fights.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wisconsin: La Crosse Common Council President Recall petitions tossed out

The attempted recall of La Crosse Common Council president Audrey Kader appears to be over, as the city clerk tossed out 148 of the 252 signatures. Petitioners needed 158 and got 104.

More than 60 percent of the signatures listed's Viterbo University's student union as their residence. These were tossed out (though if they also listed a dorm room, they were counted). Apparently, the clerk also cross checked with voter registration, and was able to certify 36 of the addresses.

Friday, December 14, 2012

California: Judge admonished over comments to rape victim

So far, there has been no discussion of a recall of Judge Derek Johnson, who called a victim's rape "technical" and handed down a sentence to the rapist of 6 years, when the prosecutors were asking for 16. However, this is exactly the type of judicial case that can lead to a recall. The two most recent judicial recalls (and they took place in the 1970s in Wisconsin) have a similar fact pattern. The one difference is that unlike for those judges, there won't be too many defenders.

Rhode Island: Block Island Health Service Board voting on adopting a recall law


Bermuda: Official calls for recall law


India: Mangrol Nagar Palika Chairman survives recall

Here. Seems like he won overwhelmingly, with 7,243-3745.

The officer added that the voting was held about 11 months after 17 of the 20 members of the Mangrol Nagar Palika moved a no-confidence motion against the elected chairman Ashok Jain.
"The no-confidence motion was passed Jan 4. The proposal to recall Ashok Jain was forwarded to the district election officer and then the state government. When it passed each of these stages, the election to recall the chairman was held Wednesday. However, as only around 34 per cent people voted in favour of the recall, the chairman will retain his position," said the officer

California: Three Coastside Fire District Recalls set for April 9


Michigan: Senate passes new recall law

The vote was 22-16. The significant changes include cutting down the recall limit from 90 to 60 days, and state Senators are exempt in the first and last year of a term. You can see my full analysis here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Maryland: Rising Sun Town Commissioners adopt recall law

The Rising Sun Board of Town Commissioners passed a charter amendment giving the town the recall.

The precipitating event was a censure of Mayor Robert Fisher for failing to obey a gag order on the town’s water and sewer struggles.

This recall is limited as it first requires an official censured by the board, as well as a petition with 20% of registered voters.

Maine: Three Kittery Councilors facing recall threats

Three Kittery councilors, George Dow, Leo Guy and Jeff Brake, are facing recall threats over their dispute with other city officials which led to the resignations of both the Town Manager and the Police Chief.

The town manager claimed that the three councilors were micromanage him. The petitioner claims that the severance packages and the search for replacements were unneeded expenses (though it does not sounds like a lot -- severance was $18K for the both of them).

Petitioners need 15% of registered voters, which appears to be about 500 signatures. A fourth councilor is not eligible for a recall because he hasn't served six months.

Utah: Brigham mayor affair leading to drafting of a recall bill

An affair by Brigham Mayor Dennis Fife is leading to calls for his resignation, and is leading one state legislator to draft a recall law for the state. The affair was with a woman he was counseling as a bishop.

California: Some postscripts to the San Fernando recall

Some fallout from the San Fernando recall. Battery and vandalism charges against former councilwoman Maribel De La Torre were dropped because former San Fernando Mayor Mario Hernandez, failed to appear despite a bench warrant issued for his arrest.

India: Voting takes place in first Rajasthan recall

The recall was against Chairman Ashok Jain. No word yet in the results, though 65.71% voted (11,129 votes).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Michigan: My oped in The Week on the difficulties of a Gubernatorial recall

This expands on my prior post on the difficulties unions would face if they try to recall the Governor and legislators.

Michigan: Judge rules Troy must hold replacement vote in May

A judge ruled that Troy does not need to hold a replacement vote in February (as ordered by the Secretary of State) but can't wait till November (as the city was hoping).Instead the replacement vote will have to be held in May. The state is debating whether to appeal. Here's the key provision:

"The court agrees with the Secretary of State" that state law requires that a special election be held “on the next regular election date,” the judge said from the bench. “However, the court finds it would be virtually impossible for the election to be held in February because of the holidays,” which would not allow enough time for candidates to obtain petition signatures and file to be on the ballot, she said.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tennessee: Court throws out defamation suit by recalled Nashville former City Councilwoman

Nashville former Councilwoman Pam Murray, who is the only person to lose a recall in Nashville history, lost a defamation suit filed against a number of opponents, including her successor Jamie Hollin, who beat her in the 2009 recall. h

The Tennesse court of appeals upheld a lower court ruling, which threw out the charges. The petitioners claimed that Murray actually lived in Detroit working for a methadone clinic. After Hollin didn't run for reelection in 2011, Murray ran and lost.

Oregon: Two Baker School Board members survive recall vote

Two Baker School board members, Chair Lynne Burroughs and Mark Henderson, survived recalls on Tuesday. Burroughs won  2,180 votes to 1,815, and Henderson survived 2,313 votes to 1,753.

Michigan's Right to Work Law and potential recalls

Michigan's passage of the Right to Work Law seems to make the state a fertile for future recall attempts, from the Governor on down. Right to Work is a huge threat to unions, arguably more so than the laws passed in Wisconsin last year. Not only has there been recall threats chanted in protests in Lansing, but the legislature apparently recognizes the danger and is trying to make significant changes to the recall law.

Furthermore, by all rights, Michigan should be the most fertile ground for a gubernatorial recall this year. The state is almost the ground zero of the recent recall boom -- last year it was home to almost 20 percent of the recalls around the country that made a ballot. This year saw a drop off, but it was still home to 24 recalls. Michigan has also been the home of numerous recalls of state legislators. Four state legislators have faced recalls (two in 1983, one in 2008 and one in 2011). Three of those legislators were removed.

And yet, there are some serious hurdles that might make a Michigan Gubernatorial recall (not to mention a Senate and House recall) less likely to occur.

1) The basic fact that unions might shy away from the recall after Wisconsin. There is no question that the unions came away the losers in the Wisconsin recall fight. They spent a whole lot of money, and they failed to oust Walker, only succeeded in capturing the Senate for a brief time, and failed to reverse any of the changes  in the law. Without some deep pockets backing a recall threat, it may be next to impossible to get a recall on the ballot.

2) The signature total would be much greater. Michigan simply has a lot more voters. Wisconsin needed 540,000 valid signatures. In Michigan, the number to get Snyder on the ballot would be 806,522. The time period is a little longer (90 days for Michigan, as opposed to 60 days for Wisconsin), but not enough to make a difference. In fact, there have been attempts to recall Snyder, and they have failed by a large margin -- one got 500,000 signatures.

3) Wisconsin's signature verification laws are much easier, therefore you would need a bigger cushion of signatures to get that recall through. Wisconsin only required that the signers be eligible voters; Michigan requires registered voters. This greatly increases the likelihood of failure, and boosts up the amount of signatures needed. The rule of thumb has been 15% invalids.

But these reasons pale to the last one:
4) Michigan's recall laws are much different than in Wisconsin or California. In both of those states, the replacement vote happens immediately. Therefore ousting Scott Walker or Gray Davis would result in a quick change of control. Not so Michigan.

As it stand now, Michigan has a two-step recall process. First comes the vote on removing the officials. Months later is the replacement is chosen in a second vote. In the mean time, who replacing the Governor? The Lieutenant Governor. If the Lieutenant Governor is recalled as well, what happens? Who knows. One, there would probably be a lawsuit to decide if the LG gets to take the job even though they lost the recall. Two, the next two in line if the LG is removed are the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. Both of those individuals are also Republicans.

The other problem is that even a successful recall doesn't end the battle. The second vote could very well go in favor of the Republicans. This just happened in 2011. The unions backed the recall of Republican House Representative Paul Scott. But the Republicans got the last laugh. A new Republican easily won the February replacement vote. The same thing can happen here.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign breaks down campaign spending; 69% of independent expenditures were for negative ads

New detailed report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign -- $68.8 million of spending in the 2011 and 2012 recalls were paid to out-of-state vendors. This is from the $101 million spent by candidates and interest groups. It does not include the estimated $31.3 million spent by "phony issue ad" groups, which could keep their fundraising and spending secret.

One big caveat on the $68.8 million figure -- a lot of that money came back into the state, because it was spent on TV and radio ads:

More than half of the total candidate and group spending – about $56.1 million – was used for television and radio ads so a substantial portion of the money paid to out-of-state outfits to produce and place those ads came back to the Wisconsin media outlets that aired them.
The report has a nice, detailed breakdown of the spending, including a look at the "accentuate the negative" angle of the campaign:

...69 percent, or $30.6 million, of the total spent by independent expenditure groups was for negative broadcast ads, mailings and other electioneering activities and $13.9 million or 31 percent was spent to support a candidate.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Michigan: Petition language approved for Charlevoix City Council recall

Here. Three members are facing recall petitions over a community stove.

California: Friends of Dana Point Library hold election

The recall was stopped by a judge.

Washington: Two Democratic State Senator align with Republicans

Two Washington Democratic state Senators have aligned with the Republicans. I haven't seen anything about the use of the recall, but it should be note that in 1981, there was a recall of a state Senator in Washington for flipping parties. It was decided (I never found a case on it) that despite Washington having a malfeasance standard, the recall could go forward.

Michigan: Detroit News editorial about Mayoral recall and propose Michigan changes


Michigan: Third Charlevoix City Council members

A third Charlevoix City Council member, Dennis Kusina, is now facing recall threats over the construction of a community fireplace. The other three members and the mayor cannot face a recall just yet, as they were just reelected in November. The linked story has a picture of the proposed fireplace.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Michigan: Possible recall targets from right-to-work law

The proposed Right-to-Work laws are leading to recall threats (and proposed changes to the recall law) in Michigan, though labor officials are saying that it is
 Sen. Pat Colbeck, R-Canton, a first-term senator with strong tea party backing; Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, whose district has strong labor ties, and Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake Township, who has expressed congressional ambitions.
Richardville face recall threats last year as well.

Louisiana: Second recall petition appears to get Heflin mayor recall on the ballot

Quite a turn of events in the recall of Heflin Mayor Judy Tillman. And original petition was certified with 69 signatures (they need 66), and a December 8 recall was set. A judge than invalidated the recall in August, finding that four signers did not live in Heflin.

But, a second recall petition was filed in September, containing 81 signatures (78 certified). Here, it seems that there was a drop in voters, and they needed 62 valids. So the recall is now set for April 6.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wisconsin: GAB looking for new administrator; signers of recall petition need not apply

Interesting aside here:

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) is looking for a new administrator of its elections division. Included in the job description is a notice that anyone who signed a recall petition for a state officeholder in 2011 or in 2012 will not be hired.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Michigan: Analysis of proposed changes to recall law

I've mentioned that Michigan is the nation's leader in recalls (a position backed up here). Now, members of the legislature are suggesting major changes to the law, and it has already passed one committee. One of these changes is straight out common sense. Others are both a form of incumbent protection and begging for an increase in litigation.  Let's look through them:

1) Change the Gubernatorial recall so there is no replacement race; The Governor is automatically replaced by the Lieutenant Governor. 

2) Change the recall vote to a one day election. Currently, Michigan uses a two-day process. The recall is an up or down vote on the elected official. If the official is ousted, there is a replacement vote is held at a later date. Many states with recalls use this two-day process, but most of the states that are the big users of recalls (California, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado) use the one day election. There's a good reason to promote the one day recall -- a two-day process jacks up the cost (the Miami-Dade recall -- which also had a run-off, was estimated to cost $15 million).

From the legislation, it looks like Michigan is looking for a Wisconsin-style recall, where the recall operates as a straight new election. California's recall is different, as it has an up or down vote on the official, and, on the same ballot, has a replacement vote.

I believe this change would help incumbents. It gives them an opponent to hit. However, the undeniable cost savings makes this idea a no-brainer.

3) Another piece of legislation would require a "factual" determination of the charges. The Board of Elections to determine whether the charges in the recall petition are accurate. Currently, Michigan law has a board decide whether the petition language is clear (which itself takes time), but does not have a check on factual accuracy. How they determine the facts is of course a matter of great debate. We can only say for sure one thing -- Having them decide accuracy is basically begging for lawsuits on every recall. This helps scare off challengers, and increases the cost of trying to get a recall on the ballot -- which already may be the single biggest factor in recall races.

4) Recalls would only take place in May and November. This is probably argued as a money saving measure, but this may be a big incumbent protection move. I have to delve into this year's numbers, but I believe that recalls held as a special election are much more likely to succeed. (As an aside, the law is very unclear how this would operate -- it also says that the recall should be held on the regular election before the 95th day after the petitions are submitted).

5)  There is also a proposal that the no recalls can be held in first and last six months of a term. I'm puzzled by this change, as I (and all the sources I've seen) thought this was the current law. It is certainly true that this would help incumbents.

Note this statement by one of the supporters. I assume he is talking about recall petitions, not actually recall races:
“In a one and a half-year time frame, we knew of 165 township officials facing recall,” said Tom Fraser of the Michigan Townships Association. “And school districts suffer the same type of situations.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

California: Oceanside recall "nearly likely"

Wisconsin: Senate Majority Leader proposes changing leadership of the GAB to political appointees

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who survived a recall in June, has proposed changing the Government Accountability Board, replacing the six retired judges who serve with political appointees. There doesn't seem to be any full proposal on the table, but we probably can be sure of one thing -- it will be a total disaster for voters -- either it will be seen as favoring the party in power, or (if it is like NY where the two parties share control) it will be unfair to insurgents, independents and third parties.
Unsurprisingly, the 2011 and 2012 recalls are the basis for the complaints:.
Republicans thought the board did not do enough to identify problem signatures on recall petitions, while Democrats argued the board took too long to review petitions and order recalls.
The board uses a "byzantine" process to select members, which sounds like the best way to do it:
For each opening on the board, a panel of four appeals court judges - selected at random - reviews applicants and makes recommendations. For an opening, they forward at least two names to the governor, who must then select one of them to sit on the accountability board.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

India: First recall in Nagar Palika targets the Chairman

India had discussed adopting a recall before, and it seems that the state of Nagar Pailka (or Mangrol Nagar Palika) will be having an election. NP Chairman Ashok Jaim is facing a vote in his district on December 12.

They call this a public referendum to ratify a no-confidence motion. The law is the Rajasthan Municipal Act 2009. According to the article:

"this is the first occasion in the state when such an exercise is being undertaken for which the state election commission has issued a public notification."

Sources said that the councillors blamed Jain, who was elected as an independent candidate in November 2009, for under performing.
When contacted, Jain said that the allegations levelled against him were totally "politically motivated" and he was targeted because of his works in the favour of public.

Michigan: Philip Mastin, First Michigan state legislator to face recall, dies

Obituary about Philip O. Mastin Jr., who lost a recall in 1983. Mastin and another state senator were both kicked out (though the other Senator resigned).

Wisconsin: Petitioners claim that La Crosse Common Council President challenge to petitions is frivolous

Looks like the dispute over the recall of La Crosse Common Council president Audrey Kader isn't ending soon. Kader has challenged the petitions, noting that 60 percent listed a local college's student union and student mailing address as their residential address. Petitioners (a group called Restore La Crosse and apparently is led by the tea party) claim that the challenge is frivolous and that a postal address should be fine. 71 percent of the petitions were signed by students living on Viterbo.

Note that Kader, council president since 2009, won her third straight four-year term in 2011 with no opponent.

Idaho: Glenns Ferry mayor facing March 12 recall vote

Glenns Ferry Mayor JoAnn Lanham is facing a recall election slate for March 12, 2013. The recall threats apparently stated three years ago. Petitioners claim that Lanham, who is in her seventh year, lacks management and budgeting skills, and is irresponsible with taxpayer money. They also claim that she doesn't enforce city ordinances like requiring landowners to fix the sidewalks on their property.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Michigan: Two Charlevoix city council members facing recalls

Two Charlevoix City Council members, Jill Picha and Bryan Vollmer, are facing recall petitions. According to the complaint, the reasons were open meeting act violations (in a meeting about a community fireplace), and failure to ensure violations of debris and trash. Apparently, the fireplace is the big issue in town.

Apparently, the meeting was advertised, but the petitioners have complaints about how it was advertised. Since this is Michigan (a political recall state), I'm not sure why it would matter.

The issue with the fireplace (which were only brought up after approval) is that  it would block views of the park and Round Lake and objecting to a projected cost of about $6,700 per year to operate.

This is the second attempt by the same petitioner to recall Roth -- the first was rejected for too vague language. The petitioner trying to recall Vollmer ran as a write-in candidate for mayor in November, on the issue of the fireplace. He lost by a nearly 3-1 margin.

California: Signature verification in Coastside Fire District recalls

Some details on the Coastside Fire District Petitions. Petitioners needed 2,714 signatures to certify. Petitioners collected 3,290 signatures for Mike Alifano -- 2,862 were valid. Of the 3,366 signatures for Gary Riddell 2,908 were certified. The 3,327 Doug Mackintosh saw 2,883 certified.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Jersey: Petitions being filed against West New York Mayor

After a long wait, West New York Commissioner of Public Works Count Wiley is finally set to file a recall petition against Mayor Felix Roque -- it's been in the works since Roque's indictment in May. About 5,000 signatures appear to be needed to get the recall on the ballot.

Wisconsin: Challenge of La Crosse recall petitions shows Viterbo University as home to majority of signatures

Interesting twist in the attempted recall of La Crosse Common Council president Audrey Kader. Kader has challenged 153 of the 252 signatures (petitioners need 158 signatures). Apparently, 71% of the signatures came from students living on the campus of Viterbo University. Most of the signatures being challenge come from 702 Franciscan Way, the Viterbo University student union and the student mailing address.

Idaho: Middleton recall petitions fall short

The recall attempt against Middleton Mayor Darin Taylor missed the mark. After handing in 583 signatures, only 417 were found valid -- petitioners needed 519.

According to the Elections Office, 23 of the signatories lived outside Middleton city limits, three were duplicates and eight were not accompanied by a street address. In addition, 132 signatures belonged to people not registered to vote or not registered to vote at the time the petition was signed.

California: Coastside Fire Protection District Board recall petitions hit the mark, election to be held next year

Three Coastside Fire Protection District Board, President Doug Mackintosh, Director Mike Alifano and Director Gary Riddell, will be facing a recall vote in the new year. The petitions were certified as having more than the 2,714 signatures needed to get on the ballot. The county has to set an election between 88 and 125 days.

Issue is the decision to try and establish an independent fire department.

Michigan: Replacement vote for Troy mayor leading to serious state-local divide

The state Director of Elections is pushing Troy to hold its replacement race in February (as per state law), but the city is still claiming that they can wait till November.

I haven't seen the letters, but I can say that we've seen this state-local fight before -- this killed the Nashville mayoral recall. The end result there was that Nashville had to adopt a new law to come into conformity with state law. We would have seen a sure-fire lawsuit on a different type of state-city problem if the Oakland mayoral recall had gotten to the ballot. Knowing nothing of Michigan law, I suspect that the state has the upperhand in the fight.

The other relevant point (mentioned in the article) is that this could be another example of local officials trying to game the recall for their own ends. The replacement vote would end up costing the city $50K. But there has to be some consideration to the political implications of the decision. The ousted Mayor (a Tea Party favorite) had serious support in the city -- she lost a close vote on an Election Day that saw heavy Democratic turnout thanks to a presidential election. It is very possible that she or an ally could win at a poor turnout winter special election. We've seen this happen before in Michigan, and of course, we've seen many examples of officials trying to control the timing of recalls for their own ends. Not saying that it is the case here, but certainly has to be taken into consideration.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

California: San Francisco Sheriff recall motion before Democratic County Central Committee withdrawn

The sponsor of a recall proposal against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has withdrawn the resolution before the influential Democratic County Central Committee. The article notes that the effort looks to be losing some steam. So far, no petition has been file

Louisiana: St. Bernard Parish President facing recall petitions from husband of fired former legal secretary

St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta is facing a recall threat started by the husband of a  legal secretary who Peralta fired after taking office. Petitioners would need 1/3 of registereds in 6 months).

The lead petitioner, Peter Rupp, also recently lost a runoff for a St. Bernard Parish Council seat by 16 votes last year and then unsuccessfully contested its results. The firing was allegedly due to Samantha Rupp giving her husband a passcode to get into the government building.

Colorado: Basalt Mayor facing recall threats

Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt is facing a recall threat, though the reasons are unclear. The petitioner contacted the town clerk asking about the requirements for the recall, and stated that the petition would be presented at Tuesday night's town council meeting (it wasn't presented). Petitioner would need 190 signatures (25% of turnout). The petitioner has been involved in a previous recall attempt against county commissioner Mick Ireland, and has been in a fight with the city over his medical marijuana business.

Perhaps most critically, the petitioner is not actually a resident of the town. There's also this:

The only substantial controversy involving the Basalt town government recently was the parting of ways with police chief Roderick O'Connor. He resigned voluntarily on Monday, according to a joint statement that O'Connor and the town government released.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Maine: Limestone recalls set for January 8

Here's the earlier coverage. Three selectmen are facing recalls.

Florida: Culpeper County Republican Committee Chair loses recall

Culpeper County Republican Committee Chairman Steve Nixon was kicked out of office, 45-7. The vote was in August. The conservative wing of the party claimed that Nixon allowed Democrats to vote at the Culpeper GOP's mass meeting on Apr. 28, which resulted in his election by 3 votes. Al Aitken finished second, and replaced him in the recall.

Texas: El Paso recall petitions rejected by clerk due to technicality

The 500 signature petition to recall city Rep. Cortney Niland was rejected by the Municipal Clerk's Office.  The reason given was that each page was notarized instead of containing an oath "that each signature is that of the person whose name it purports to be." Petitioners need 385 signatures.
Former El Paso Mayor Ray Salazar is leading the recall effort, which is based on the council approval of plans to tear down City Hall and build a $50 million ballpark in its place.

Nebraska: Two Hamilton County Board recall petitions fail, one by two signatures

Attempts to recall two Hamilton County Board members failed. Petitioners handed in 154 signatures for the recall of Tim Bergen. They needed 147. Nine were struck down. 

The petition to recall Hamilton County Board member Doug Andersen wasn't turned in.

The Hamilton County Surveyor was the leader of the recall.

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Jersey: West Wildwood referendum may presage recall threat


New Jersey: Asbury Park recall killed by city due to questionable deadline

The attempted recall of three Asbury Park Council members was quashed by the city, which claimed they did not have enough time to review the signatures to get the recall on the November ballot. The committee handed in the three petitions with about 2,644 signatures each, they needed 1,865. According to the city, the petitions specifically stated that the election would be held at the  November election. So, the petitioners would have had to go back out and collect enough signatures again to get it on the ballot. Note this as well:

Meanwhile, recall proponents said they had never received a deadline from the city. The day before the petitions were handed in, officials said the deadline was hazy because of the state statute governing municipal government recalls.

Missouri: Ellisville recall provision ruled unconstitutional for failing to state cause

After trying to recall five members of the Ellisville City Council, a St. Louis judge has ruled that the city's recall provision violates the state constitution because it failed to state causes for which an official can be removed.

Washington: Investigation into Snohomish County Executive on hold

An investigation into the alleged misuse of staff and a state-issued cell phone by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon is on hold due to a backlog of cases. However, the recall hearing is set for December 5.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oklahoma: Sand Springs lowers recall signature requirement

This is from March -- Sand Springs voted on a proposed law to lower its signature requirement from 20% of registered voters to 20% of turnout. The law was overwhelmingly approved with 69% voting in favor.

North Carolina: State rules that Ronda does not possess recall

The state board of elections has ruled that the town of Ronda does not have the authority to recall an elected official. Petitioners had handed in 76 signatures calling for the recall of Mayor Victor Varela. It sounds like the charter adoption was not handed that well:

Portions of the charter, with dates of 1917 and 1920, are handwritten. According to article V, page 225-226 of the town of Ronda Charter 1917, recall is allowed when 25 percent of the voters at the last municipal election sign a petition calling for the recall. The signatures must be filed with the clerk and must contain a general statement of the ground for which the removal is sought.
Varela, who is in his second term as mayor, said state officials say the town, does not have the authority to recall an elected town official. He says that a closer look at the charter demonstrates that a particular chapter or version for recalling elected officials was never chosen in 1920 when the charter was adopted.
He says the charter does not specify removal of public officers. The charter includes three plans or forms of government and no plan was selected.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Louisiana: Three Gibsland Aldermen facing recall petitions

Three Gibsland aldermen, Timothy L. Cato, Katherine Mixon and Marketris Jones, are facing recall petitions. Petitioners need 273 signatures (40% of registereds) by January 28 to get on the ballot.

The mayor of Gibsland, Odell Key, was also facing recall threats. However, the three aldermen (and one other Alderwoman) regularly vote against Key.

Wisconsin: Waterford Sanitary District President kicked out

This one is from August -- Waterford Sanitary District President Bill Gerard was kicked out, 475-394. He was replace by the person who filed the petition, Dan Dickinson, who served a partial term as sanitary district president in the early ‘80s. The issues:
sewer rates have soared in the time since Gerard was elected as a commissioner in order to pad salaries and fund unnecessary projects. Gerard denied those allegations in an earlier interview. He said that fees were $83 per quarter when he came into office and went up to $120.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Michigan: Frequent filer targets four Flint school board members

Flint School Board member David Davenport, a frequent recall filer, has filed petitions to recall four other members of the school board, Ella Greene-Moton, Isaiah Oliver, Betty Ramsdell and Harold Woodson.

Last year, Davenport tried to recall two other school board members. The year before, he filed 16 recalls targeting the Mayor, the City Council President, Genesee County Clerk and others. Perhaps its not a surprise that he ran for Congress as a no-party candidate.

Here are the reasons that he is citing for the recall:

The reasons for the recall listed on the petition include "supporting the actions of the superintendent of the Flint Community Schools, by allowing the misappropriation of county funds, Title 1 grant funds, and violating district policies, that have allowed the Flint school district to go deeper in a deficit, in the amount of $6 million dollars."

Michigan: Troy City Council refuses to seek AG's opinion on date of recall

The Troy City Council voted at not to seek the State Attorney General's opinion on whether it needs to hold a special replacement mayoral election in February (as per state law) or if it could wait till November (as per Troy's charter).

The article notes that there is a chance of a lawsuit -- I'd put the odds at approximately 100%. Just guessing, but we've seen this play out in Tennessee, and there's probably a very good chance that the state law wins out.

Oregon: Clackamas County Commissioner recall fails to get the signatures

The recall effort against Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard has failed to turn in any signatures. The leader, Dan Holladay, a former Oregon City commissioner, claimed that his partner got sick.

The issue was an alleged conflict of interest over the Portland-Milwaukie light rail extension, based solely on the fact that Bernard owned a business on the route.

California: Plumas Superintendent, School Board member resign in face of recall threat

This is from earlier in the year, but I missed it. Superintendent Glenn Harris and School Board member Brad Baker resigned in the face of recall threats. The third recall, against School Board member, Sonja Anderson seems to have never gotten off the ground.

California: Two Seville School Board Members facing recalls

Signatures have been verified in the recall of two members of Seville's Stone Corral Elementary School District, Reynold Esquivel and Rebecca Quintana. 71 signatures were verified, they needed 54. Looks like the recall will take place next year.

The two board members, who are a part of a three-member majority, had been the target of recall attempts since May when parents staged a walkout with their children following a tumultuous school board meeting.

Organizers behind the recall effort, which include a former Stone Corral school board member and the stepdaughter of the school district’s superintendent, charged that Quintana and Esquivel were “not operating on behalf and in trust of the people or children” and refused “to speak [to] or hear any of the parents due to the fact that they are not registered voters.” 
Parents and residents also raised concerns over a high volume of school board meetings that had been either rescheduled or canceled since the start of the 2011-12 academic year.

In all, the group collected 71 valid signatures in the Stone Corral Elementary School District voting area. To force the recall election, petitioners needed to collect 54 signatures.

Quintana and Esquivel did not return phonecalls seeking comment Tuesday afternoon. But the board has 14 days from its Dec. 15 regular meeting to schedule a recall election.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

UK: Calls to expand proposed recall law to elected police commissioners

A debate about Police Commissioner Elections is already leading to calls to expand the not-yet-passed recall in the UK.

Kansas: Baxter Springs mayor resigns after split recall verdict

Following the November recall fight in which one Councilmember was ousted and two survived, Baxter Springs Mayor Jenifer Bingham unexpectedly resigned. Bingham was a supporter of the recall of all of the council members.

Controversy started in April, when Bingham named replacements for longtime City Clerk Donna Wixon and longtime police Chief David Edmondson. The City Council, on a 6-2 vote, rejected the appointments. Bingham placed Wixon on paid suspension and changed the locks at City Hall. Wixon has been back on the job after the council took action to restore her to her position.

Michigan: Legal questions surround Troy mayoral replacement race -- state law says must be held in February, City claims November

After its election day recall of Mayor Janice Daniels, Troy City Council members selected Dane Slater as its mayor. However, there is a discrepancy between city and state law. The City Charter says that the next election would be held in November 2013. State law demands it be held at the next regular election date -- February 26.

Further complicating matters is this:
If the city were to hold the special election in February, all applications would have to be in by 4 p.m. Nov. 26, Bluhm said, noting that's less than a week away.

Montana: Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes propose adding recall law

Members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are proposing adding the recall for elected officials.

UK: MP's appearance on reality show leads to renewed calls for adoption of the recall

A decision by UK MP Nadine Dorries to appear on a reality show "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!" is leading to renewed calls for the UK to adopt the recall. The show was filmed in Australia and it seems like the condemnation is due to her ignoring her duties. More here.

Idaho: Petitions handed in against Middleton mayor

Petitioners have handed in 570 signatures in their recall campaign against Middleton Mayor Darin Taylor. Prosecutors have declined to prosecute Taylor for the allegations, which includes secret meetings, wasting taxpayer dollars and hiring unqualified people. Petitioners need 519 valids. If they meet the standard, they next possible election date is March 12.

Washington: Two Tenino City Councilmen facing recall threats

Two City Council members are facing recall petitions for, and the mayor is the subject of an investigation in scandal-ridden Tenino. Councilman Robert Scribner is alleged to have used the Department of Labor and Industries computers to allegedly dig up information on the mayor. Councilman Frank Anderson allegedly owes the city $140,000. Washington requires a judicial decision of cause, and a judge has allowed the Anderson petitions to go forward.

Mayor Eric Strawn was seen in a city police car with a woman in a Lacey parking lot. Witnesses said there was oral sex.  Police couldn't prove it and he is not charged with any crime.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Washington: Federal Court uphold ruling that recalls are not covered by $800 campaign finance limit

A federal district court has ruled that recalls are different than regular elections for the purpose of the state's $800 campaign finance donation limit. Here's the press release from the Institute for Justice and here's a copy of the decision.

Here are some earlier details of the case, and some criticism from me. This case suggests part of the difficult of categorizing recalls, and once more, the fact that they are ignored when drafting campaign finance and election laws, which results in serious problems in application. My main criticism with the theory proposed by the Institute for Justice is that since there is no candidate running to claim the office of the recall official (Washington law results in an appointment of a replacement, not an election), there can be no corruption. I think this is too much of a rose-colored view of how the recall works even in a judicial recall/malfeasance standard state like Washington.

The recall was launched against Treasurer-Assessor Dale Washam. It did not get on the ballot (they needed more 65,000 signatures and just missed ). Washam recently finished fourth in a primary for his seat.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Florida: Debacle in Florida voting leads to calls for recall of election supervisors

Due to the amazingly botched election in Florida, there are now calls for recalling election supervisors, notably the Lee County's Sharon Harrington. Florida has a malfeasance standard for county officials (no recall for state-level officials, though), but there is probably a very good claim of incompetence.

This article notes that the "petition drives never work." Based on what I see as Florida law, petitioners would need the signatures of 5% of registered voters, or (if my math based on the stats of the Lee County website is correct) close to 19,421 signatures

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wisconsin: Signatures handed in for the La Crosse Council President

Petitions were handed in for the attempted recall of La Crosse council president Audrey Kader, 252 signatures were given in, petitioners need 158.

Petitioners are a tea party group, who are targeting Kader's votes in favor of eliminating Committee of the Whole.

New Jersey: Jersey City Board of Ed members targeted in recall

Two members of the Jersey City Board of Education, President Sue Mack and Carol Harrison-Arnold, are facing recalls, possibly for their support of the new schools superintendent.
Petitioners need about 30,000 voters (25% of registereds).

Note this:
Successful recalls of school-board members are very rare in New Jersey, with a single instance in Salem County in 2004, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Louisiana: Ringgold mayor recall petitions due Monday

Monday is the due date for petitions to be handed in against the mayor of Ringgold, Stephone Taylor. Petitioners need 391 signatures to get on the ballot. One of the issues is a novel one -- Taylor tried to get himself appointed police chief (though that was not possible).

Oregon: Editorial opposing Baker City recall


California: Big Money backing the Mirkarimi recall?

See here for some discussion about financing. Recall would cost the city about $3 million.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nebraska: Wayne County Commissioner recall stopped by judge

A November 20 recall scheduled against Wayne County Commissioner Kelvin Wurdeman has been stopped by a judge, as the petitions did not state whether the petitioners were volunteer or paid.

The judge held that the failure to include that language was “not a technical omission” but was a “material and substantial defect in the recall petitions involving the plaintiff.”

In the recall petition that was circulated, Hammer accused Wurdeman of removing dirt from one landowner and moving it “to another piece of property without talking to the landowner and getting permission.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Louisiana: Failed backers of Gov and House Speaker recall face $1,000 fines for failing to file campaign finance report

The leaders of a failed recall petition drive against Governor Bobby Jindal and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley are facing $1000 fines for failing to file a campaign finance report within 45 days (they filed 56 days late).

Kleckley has asked that the ethics board that the fines against Calcasieu Parish public school teachers Angie Bonvillian and Brenda Romero, be waved. The two petitioners claim that they didn't know about the law.

The Republican Party spent over $100,000 combating the Kleckley recall effort, according to disclosure reports filed by the party.

Oregon: Baker City School District Recalls set for December 11

The recall of  Baker School District Chair Lynne Burroughs and director Mark Henderson will be held on December 11. The recall is based around the censure of board member Kyle Knight, which resulted in him being prevented from receiving confidential district information and from contacting district staff members.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rhode Island: Pawtucket Mayor facing recall threats

Following a failed attempt to defeat Mayor Don Grebien's reelection with a write-in campaign, Grebien is now being threatened with a recall. Since he was just elected, Grebien has 3 months from the start of his new term.

Unions are leading the charge, with the primary issue bein Grebien movie to privatize trash services in the city, and claims that he will outsource any department.

Petitioners need 10% of turnout (about 2,200 signatures) in 60 days.

Washington: Two Quilcene/Jefferson County Fire District Commissioners removed

Two Quilcene Jefferson County Fire District 2 commissioners.Dave Ward and Mike Whittaker were apparently kicked out in a recall (though only 57% of the vote is reported).

The vote to kick out Ward was 483-312; Whittaker was 479-320.

 Ward has been in office for 12 years and Whittaker for 22 years.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Washington: Seattle School Board member recall stopped by Judge

The recall attempt against Seattle School Board member Sherry Carr was killed by a judge who ruled that the allegations did not meet the malfeasance standard needed in Washington.The allegation was that Carr voted for a memorandum of understanding to allow the district’s superintendent to waive school-board policies after saying she would oppose it.

Massachusetts: Bridgewater recall changes council balance of power


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Florida: Orange City Councilman facing recall threats for sending "disturbing" emails

Orange City councilman Tom Abraham, who was just censured by the council for sending "disturbing" emails  in his council iPad, is facing a recall threat from the man he defeated in the last election if he doesn't quit or apologize.

Emails Abraham exchanged with a friend last year included photos of women in public places, anatomical references and jokes, racially insensitive language and, in one case, referred to a neighbor and his 10-year-old as "this man and his daughter stripper." The Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined the emails were not criminal, but described them as "disturbing" and forwarded them to the State Commission on Ethics.
Petitioner needs about 140 signatures in 30 days. He also needs a showing of malfeasance, but due to the censure, it looks like that hurdle is cleared.

Friday, November 9, 2012

California: Sheriff recall movement sees success on Election Day

The Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi recall campaign received a large shot in the arm on election day. Several political consultants successfully targeted Supervisor Christina Olague, who voted to reinstate Mirkarimi (the consultants raise $100K).

Petitioners would need over 50,000 signatures in 160 days (10% of registereds), and of course, boatloads of money. I'm not sure why the article notes that June 2013 is the earliest date for a recall. Practically, this may be true. But legally it must be called 105-120 days after the petitions are certified.

The article notes that the mayor would appoint a replacement, though that is very different than most California recalls (which have the replacement vote on the same ballot).

See here for more details on the procedure

Wisconsin: The results of the other 2011 Senate recall survivors

Here's an article on the 2011 Senate recall survivors -- all who sought reelection won.

Election Day Results: 12 officials ousted, 10 survive; 4 places add recall laws

The results are in from the 22 Election Day recalls and we have a near even split. 12 officials were removed, and 10 survived (One of the officials who was removed in the recall had previously resigned). Scroll down on the blog to see each result.

The most prominent recalls -- the Troy, Michigan Mayor and the San Fernando, California Mayor and Two Council members -- saw the officials kicked out. Two of the multi-official recalls saw a split decision, which is generally unusual. Most multi-official recalls are clean sweeps, one way or the other.

Every one of the ballot propositions related to recalls passed by overwhelming margins. That mean four new jurisdictions (Cities in Maine, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Tennessee)  have adopted the recall. Note that in one of these towns, the Bemidji, Minnesota, the town council had tried to kill the recall at an early stage, but failed.

For the first time that I'm aware of, a jurisdiction (College Station, Texas) changed their recall law from a political recall (no reason needed) to a judicial recall or a malfeasance standard. Chattanooga also modified its recall law, but that was more of a practical matter due to a judicial decision.

And in other recall-related news, one of the Wisconsin Senators who gained office in the 2011 recalls lost and the state Senate flipped from Democratic to Republican. In Arizona, the state Senator who ousted Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce in the 2011 recall lost his seat. And Don Bankhead, who has lost two recall elections as a Fullerton City Council member, failed to regain his seat.

California: Mountain House Community Services District Director ousted in recall

Missed this one on Election Day -- Mountain House Community Services District Director Jass Singh was kicked out, 1,136-780. Here's earlier coverage and this:

Many residents have stated that the petition was a response to Singh’s derogatory public comments about members of the community and an offensive hand gesture made during a board meeting in April.
He was officially censured by fellow directors in March and May.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Non-Recall op-ed for the New York Times

Here's an article I wrote about how politics is mimicking the 1880s.

California: Recalled Councilman loses Fullerton race to recapture seat

Former Councilman Don Bankhead, who was seeking to return to the council after losing his seat in the June recall vote, came in a distant seventh. Bankhead was looking to be the only official that I've heard of to win office twice after losing two recalls.

The other two losers in the recall did not run. One of the winners of the recall, Travis Kigerl in June is leading in the election.

Wisconsin: Senate flips back to Republican, as one recall victor loses seat

The biggest achievement of the Wisconsin recall campaign now seems to be undone, as the Republicans have recaptured the state Senate, going from 17-16 D to a possible 18-15 Republican victory (one seat is vacant, but is in a heavily Republican area). As the Democrats did very well statewide (Tammy Baldwin won the US Senate seat, Barack Obama garnered 53% of the vote), the gerrymandering of the Senate can certainly be seen as playing a significant role in the victory.

Senator Jessica King, who was one of the two Democrats to win seats in the 2011 recall, appears to have lost her race. She is down by 590 votes, 43,039 votes to 42,449

The seat held by recall Hall-of-Famer, Democrat Jim Holperin (the only man to face two recalls as a state legislator) was won by a Republican.

Arizona: Senator who toppled Senate Majority Leader in 2011 recall loses seat

Arizona Senator Jerry Lewis, who defeated Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce in a recall race last November, lost his seat in the regular election yesterday. Due to redistricting, Lewis' new seat was turned from a strongly-Republican district to a Democratic-leaning one.

Pearce tried for a comeback in a different Senate district, but lost in the primary.

Tennessee: Chattanooga modifies signature requirement for recall law

Chattanooga voters overwhelmingly approved a charter amendment adopting the state law for recalls -- vote was 73.73% in favor 39,272 to 13,991.

The new law, which comes after a round of the litigation that killed an attempted mayoral recall, requires 15 percent of registered voters signature, while the former charter required 50% of  voter turnout. Interestingly enough, the 15% meant voters needed 15,000 signatures to take out the mayor, while the 50% voter turnout meant they needed only 9,000.

Tennessee: Mt. Juliet voters approve recall law

Mt. Juliet voters overwhelmingly approved a recall amendment, with 84.08 voters voting yes on the law (9,494-1,797). I have not seen any details on the law itself.

Maine: Peru voters adopt recall law

Peru voters approved the recall law, with 59% voting yes -- 518-355. The law applies to municipal officials, but not to school board members.

Rhode Island: Woonsocket approves recall law

Woonsocket voters overwhelmingly approve a recall law, with 69.9 percent in favor of the new provision. The new law would require 10% of registered voters signature in 60 days.

Minnesota: Bemidji voters adopt recall law

Bemidji voters overwhelming approved a recall law for elected officials, passing the proposition with 83.2% votes in favor 4,682-945. Minnesota is a judicial recall state, and this law will require a showing of malfeasance or incompetence.

The law requires 20% of voter turnout to get a recall on the ballot. Here's a full run down of the provisions.

Arkansas: 2 mayors ousted, four survive on election day recall

Still looking for the details on each of these Arkansas recalls, but if this piece is correct, two of the six recalls succeeded in kicking out the official. Alexander mayor Paul Mitchell and Kingsland mayor Tim McClellan were removed, and the mayors survived in Bauxite, Cotton Plant, and Redfield. Additionally, we have seen that Wilmot's mayor survived.

Update: Some numbers have come in:

Alexander Mayor Paul Mitchell lost 71-29% (453-184).

Bauxite Mayor Johnny McMahan survived 46-54% (127-148)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Arkansas: Kingsland Mayor kicked out

Kingsland Mayor Tim McClellan was kicked out, with 64% against 100-56. margin (64 percent). The town can special election or the city council can pick a replacement.

Arkansas: Wilmot mayor survives recall vote

Wilmot Mayor Clinton Harris from office appears to have survived the recall, 145-123.

Kansas: Split in Baxter Springs, two council members survive, one falls

Looks like a split result in the Baxter Springs recall -- City Councilman Ed McCafee (45.68-54.32% 11-132) and Gary Allen 48.7-51.3% 282-297) survived the recall, while Ron Costlow lost 54.57-45.43% 179-149)

California: Two Orange Cove City Council members survive recall vote

Two Orange Cove City Council members, Glenda Hill and Frank Martinez, survived their recall votes. Hill won 263-301 and Martinez was 258-303.

Michigan: Alpena Mayor survives, two councilman ousted

We have a rare split decision in the Alpena recall. Councilman Mike Nunneley (2,389-2,045) and Councilman Dave Karschnick (2,474,-1,974) were ousted in the recall.  Mayor Matt Waligora survived (1,990-2459).

California: San Fernando Mayor, Council members ousted in recall

All three sex-scandal scarred San Fernando elected officials were removed yesterday (though one resigned previously). Mayor Brenda Esqueda and Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre both lost in overwhelming fashion, Esqueda 84.12-15.88% (3243-612) and De La Torre 85.49-14.51% (3,269-555).

Councilman Mario Hernandez, who resigned in July, lost 86.3-13.7% (3,243-515).

Replacements were also chosen in the same race:

Jesse Avila defeated Victoria Mojica 73 percent to 26 percent in the race to replace Esqueda. Robert Gonzales will take Hernandez's former seat after getting 63 percent and easily beating two challengers, Gilbert Berriozabal and Bennie Nejar Jr.
In the race to succeed De La Torre, Joel Fajardo held a lead of 164 votes over Louis Lopez, the nearest of three challengers. All precincts in the city were reporting as of this morning, but it was unclear whether absentee ballots could affect that outcome.

Michigan: Troy Mayor Janice Daniels loses recall vote

Controversial Troy mayor Janice Daniels was kicked out of office last night, losing her recall vote in a close race 52.23-47.77% (20, 763-18,993).

The successor is chosen by the city council, and the new mayor serves for a year until the next election in November 2013.

Texas: College Station adopts new recall laws mandating a malfeasance standard

The vote was overwhelming 15,000 for versus 3,590 against. As far as I'm aware, this is the first jurisdiction to move from a political recall to malfeasance/judicial recall standard.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oregon: Two Baker City School Board member recalls get on the ballot

The recall of two Baker School Board members have made the ballot, and will be scheduled for a vote within 35 days. Petitioners got 937 valid signatures against board chaor Lynne Burroughs and 936 against director Mark Henderson. They needed 913.

This is the second effort to gather enough signatures to place the recall of the two directors on the ballot. The first started in April, but fell short of the required number of valid signatures by the July deadline.

Kansas: Luray mayor beats recall

Luray Mayor Chuck Pyle defeated a recall attempt 42-65. The recall was launched over the city's decision to close a street and give a local ministry.

Massachusetts: Two Bridgewater Town Councillors kicked out in recall race

After a long, protracted fight the two Bridgewater Town Councillors were ousted in a recall. Mike Demos lost to Sandra Wright, 54-45% and Peter Riordan was beaten by Paul Sullivan, 63-37%.
In District 3, Wright received 879 votes to Demos’ 730. There were 127 blanks and seven write-ins, for a total of 1,743 ballots cast of the district’s 2,907 registered voters, a turnout of 60 percent.
In District 7, Sullivan received 570 votes to Riordan’s 337. There were 68 blanks and 5 write-ins, for a total of 980 ballots cast of the district’s 2,603 registered voters, a turnout of 37 percent.
That’s lower than in the presidential election, for which turnout was 82 percent in Bridgewater.

22 Recalls taking place on Election Day; 4 jurisdictions to decide whether to adopt the recall

Edit: No surprise, I found another recall, and saw that one of the resignations still a needed a recall vote. So, I've uped the number to 22 recalls.

While not top of mind in a national election, recalls are well represented this election day. By my count, there are 22 recalls taking place today. There could be others that I have not seen, so this is a floor.

Additionally, there are four jurisdictions voting on adopting a recall law, and two others looking to modify their existing recall law. One of those modifications could be the first time that I know that a jurisdiction changed a recall law from a political recall (no misconduct needed) to a judicial recall or malfeasance standard).

By far the most notable of these recalls is the one against Troy Mayor Janice Daniels. Daniels has been a big tea party supporter and has been a lightening rod for criticism in this election. The San Fernando recalls are also quite notable.

The 22 recall number is a slight drop off from 2011, when 30 recalls were held on two Election days (26 on one day alone). I am not surprised by the drop off -- in fact, I would have thought it would be steeper. The reason is simply that a much larger number of positions are up for election this year (as opposed to in 2011). So rather than go through the trouble and expense of signature gathering, petitioners just wait the extra time and try to beat the elected official in the regular election.

Without further ado, here's a list of the recall elections to be held on Tuesday. Once again, 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.

Mayor of Alexander
Mayor of Bauxite
Mayor of Cotton Plant
Mayor of Kingsland
Mayor of Redfield
Mayor of Wilmot

Mountain House Community Service District Director
Two Orange Cove City Council members
San Fernando Mayor and two City Council members (one of the city council members resigned during the campaign, but still has to be voted on)

Three Baxter City Council  members
Mayor of Luray

Two Bridgewater Town Councillors

The mayor and two City Council members from Alepena
Mayor of Troy

Ballot Propositions that adopt or modify recall laws:

Peru looking to adopt recall law

Bemidji looking to adopt a recall provision

Rhode Island:
Woonsocket looking to adopt recall law

Chattanooga voters look to modify their recall law
Mount Juliet Voter looking to adopt recall

College Station looking to change recall law from political recall to judicial recall

Monday, November 5, 2012

Michigan:Alpena Mayor, two city council members face recalls

Alpena mayor Matt Waligora and city council members Mike Nunneley, and Dave Karschnick are facing a recall vote tomorrow. The recall is based on the decision to fire the city manager.