Friday, June 29, 2012

Wisconsin: Brazeau Board schedules recall against two town supervisors

After the Wisconsin Attorney General filed suit, Brazeau Board has finally scheduled a recall against two town supervisors, Darrell Enix and James Hanna. The supervisors failed to schedule the recall at four previous meetings. Recall will be on August 14, same as the statewide primary.

Wisconsin: Investigation of petition fraud against Democratic Senator in 2011

The Government Accountability Board is investigating recall petition signature fraud in the recall of Senator Dave Hansen. Hansen was one of three Democrats who faced and easily defeated recalls last summer.

In the allegations, two groups submitted more than 18,800 signatures. More than 3,300 signatures were tossed. Chad Fradette, one of the backers of the original effort, who then started his own attempt, claimed that the leader of the effort, David VanderLeest, was hording signatures and refusing to allow any of the group to look at them.VanderLeest ran against Hansen, after a Republican Assembly member failed to get the signatures, and got blown out. VanderLeest is currently running for a state Assembly seat.

Fradette formed a second group with David Steffen, who lost to Hansen in 2004.

Fradette says the GAB is investigating signature collectors that came from out of state, fraudulent signatures, forgeries, and try to ascertain who paid for them.

Louisiana: Shedding some light on resignation of recall chairs

Recently, two chairs of state legislative recalls resigned their posts as head of the recall campaign. This piece explains some of the detail. Slidell City Councilman Jay Newcomb, a teacher at Slidell High, headed the recall effort against state Rep. Greg Cromer. Newcomb and Cromer are both Republicans.

California: Story of Tracy's only city council recall and removal at the hands of the Slot-Machine King

On June 25, 1937, Dr. J. Frank Doughty, was kicked out of office, 536-439. His goal of cleaning up Tracy seemed to have fallen prey to the “slot-machine king,”.

California: Two Fontana School Board members face recall threats

Two Fontana School Board Members, Sophia Green and Leticia Garcia, are facing recall threats. The two opposed the After School Program, though Garcia eventually changed her vote after the creation of an oversight committee.

California: KPFA public station holding recall of board member

Berkeley-based radio station KPFA’s staff and members are voting on whether to recall board member Tracy Rosenberg, treasurer for the Pacifica Foundation (the station's parent organization).

The station is divided into two groups, SaveKPFA (the organizers of the recall) and Independents for Community Radio. The SaveKPFA group was angered by Rosenberg's decision to cancel a popular show in 2010.

In accordance with Pacifica’s bylaws, in September 2011, SaveKPFA received hundreds of signatures to recall Tracy Rosenberg, and on Nov. 1, 2011 each person who signed the petition became a certified KPFA member who could vote to recall Rosenberg.

Ballots were scheduled to be sent out in December. Pacifica, the station’s parent organization, was responsible for producing the ballots and conducting the election but did not hire an election supervisor until March.

California: Oakland Mayor Recall Fails

The recall effort against Oakland Mayor Jean Quan appears to have failed. The committee needed 19,800 valid signatures bu Monday, they claim to have only 17,000.
Petitioners appeared not to be able to raise the funds needed to collect the signatures -- they raised $15,753 by the end of March, while racking up $26,165 in debts. Note this fact:

Castro said that the committee could only pay gatherers $1 a signature, a third of what they said others were being paid.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colorado: Trindad Councilman recall set for July 31

This is against Alfredo Pando.

UK: Criticism of the weak proposed recall law, calls for it to be abandoned

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee cited the proposed recall law as too narrow and would lead to a lack of confidence in the government. It doesn't sound like the government will drop it or strengthen the law.

California: Three Fullerton Council members sworn in


Michigan: Troy Mayor Signatures Verified; facing recall election

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels is facing a recall election, as the Election Commission verified 8,882 valid signatures, they needed 7,985.

There's a lot on this blog about the Daniels recall. Here's a quick summary from the patch page on why Daniels is facing the voters:
Daniels first came under fire in December for her anti-gay Facebook comment and has remained the center of controversy after voting against the Troy Transit Center (a scaled-down version was later approved), telling the Troy High School Gay-Straight Alliance she would bring in an expert to tell them the homosexual lifestyle is "dangerous" and writing a lengthy position paper some viewed as personally attacking city employees and council members.

Wisconsin: Craig Gilbert on the record turnout


California: Atwater School Trustee facing recall election

Atwater school Trustee Sheila Whitley is facing a recall election, though it may not be able to be run on Election Day in November.  Petitioners handed in 304 valids, 40 more than needed.
Whitley voted to terminate Atwater Elementary School District Superintendent Melinda Hennes, but have not stated their reasons to the public or the two dissenting trustees. The termination apparently cost $350,000 in salary.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wisconsin: "Recall a law" bill proposed

State Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison is proposing a law that would allow an effective recall against a bill (similar to a law in Ohio). Petitioners would need 25 percent of the total number of people who voted in the prior gubernatorial election.

Sounds like a throwback to the old recall of judicial opinions law,

Arizona: Quechan President survives recall

Quechan President Keeny Escalanti Sr. survived a recall vote, 316-248.

A separate but related recall effort is also under way against current tribal Vice President Ronda Aguerro and council members Darnella Melancon, Virgil Smith and Clivia Cyndee Miller. 

Russia: Proposed recall law for Moscow mayor

The City Duma adopted a law allowing for recalls of the mayor. A recall election would require the support of more than half of the city's residents and would not be allowed during the mayor's first year in office.

Washington:Judge to rule on Snohomish County Executive recall attempt

A recall against Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, a third-term Democrat, is going before a judge to decide whether it can proceed. Washington State is a "judicial recall" or malfeasance standard state.The judge is solely deciding whether the petition specifies improper or illegal acts in office allegedly committed by Reardon. Petitioners are claiming that Reardon broke state campaign laws by using his executive assistant and other public resources for political fundraising and lobbying. Reardon is under investigation by the Washington State Patrol for alleged misuse of public resources while on out-of-state business trips. 

If successful, petitioners will have 180 days to collect 47,444 signatures (25% of turnout).

Arizona: Quartzsite mayor resigns

More strange doings in Quartzsite.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wisconsin: Brazeau Board supervisors refuse to schedule recall against two supervisors

But another town is refusing to schedule a recall against elected officials. The Wisconsin AG is actually involved in this one -- Supervisors in Brazeau Board adjourned the meeting when the recall came up, which is the third time in a month that the supervisors have refused to schedule the recall.

Supervisors  Darrell Enix and James Hanna are facing the recall.

Colorado: Signatures certified against Trindad City Councilman

City Councilman Alfredo Pando will face a recall vote soon. Pando protest against the signatures was rejected (his protest claimed that the petition was invalid because it didn't demand that a date be set for a recall election). This is another of the substantial compliance/"liberally construed" decisions in favor of a recall. 

My interview on Lake Effect


Louisiana: Fourth state Rep facing petitions

A fourth Louisiana legislator is being targeted for a recall, Republican state Rep. Ray Garofalo. Additionally, there's some update on the request to see the signatures early in the process:

With the recall activity, the Louisiana Republican Party complained that 10 days after filing public records requests with recall organizers it has yet to get access to the name, address and signature of each person that has so far signed the petitions. State law requires the access “upon the signature of the first elector,” said Jason Doré, a state party executive director.

Oregon: Two Baker City School board members facing petitions

Two Baker City School Board members, chair Lynne Burroughs and director Mark Henderson, are facing petitions. Petitioners need 913 signatures by July 30.

The reason for the recall appears to be a censure of another board member for releasing confidential employee information to the media. That board member is planning on filing a federal lawsuit to end the censure.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Missouri: Kansas City Councilman recall fails

A recall against Councilman Jermaine Reed failed. The Kansas City recall rules seem odd -- petitioners needed 1,633. They turned in 667 valids, then had 10 days to get more (they only got 400).

Michigan: Troy mayor attempts to get petitions thrown out based on font size, fails

An attempt by Troy Mayor Janice Daniels to toss out the recall petitions against her has been rejected. The focus of her complaint was on the font size in the petitions (shades of NY!).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Arizona: Two Yuma Council members recalls in verification stage

The recalls are against Councilmen Paul Johnson and Jerry Stuart. The Johnson petition  has 2,060 signature, Stuart's has 2,069. Petitioners need 1,856. 

Louisiana: Republicans spend $50K in a month to defeat House Speaker recall

The bulk of the Republican PAC’s spending — $30,650 — came in the purchase of TV spots on two Lake Charles stations. 

Idaho: The rare use of the recall in Idaho

Jumping off from the failed Coeur d' Alene recall, veteran Idaho correspondent Randy Stapilus looks at the relatively rare use of the recall in Idaho (though doesn't mention the change in law in 1972). The article notes that the last county official recalled in his memory was Latah County Commissioner Mark Solomon in 1994. Note that Idaho cares a lot about pay:
Those successful recalls turn out to have been about the same thing: elected official pay. Hyde and Ellsworth had supported a legislative pay increase. Solomon and two fellow commissioners (who narrowly survived their recall election) had converted the commission from part-time to full-time (with a pay raise). Little wonder Idaho elected officials get so nervous about raising pay for their offices.

California: A look at the problems of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi

At the end of the piece, SF Chronicle columnist Laura Knight notes that the recall effort against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi could not start until July 8 (SF has a six month delay rule). Petitioners would need 47,000 signatures. For some reason, she notes that petitions need to be handed in by July 24 to have the recall sync up with election day. The piece seems to feel that this too tight deadline would prevent a recall, but I don't see why -- petitioners don't have to get it in for an election day recall. They can just wait to have a special election one.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Louisiana: Governor Jindal facing fourth recall attempt

Hadn't realized they've already tried to oust Jindal four times.Since there's virtually no way that it is getting on the ballot, it doesn't mean much.

Nebraska: Leader of failed mayoral recall running for Omaha mayor

Dave Nabity (R), the leader of the 2011 recall campaign against Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle (D) has announced that he's running for mayor. Suttle is running for reelection.

He also was at the center of a storm when a civil war erupted within the recall movement, after an original member of the group accused Nabity of trying to take control of the committee to further his mayoral ambitions.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Texas: A look at the problems of Jasper

Here's a more detailed look at the problems in Jasper that led to a parade of recalls.

Idaho: Complaints about rule changes in Coeur d'Alene recall


The most unexpected lesson learned is this: Secretary of State Ben Ysursa thinks he has the right to change the rules and interpret the laws. The Recall rules were changed at several key moments during this process, never in our favor. Let me just leave you with the surprising final ruling from the Secretary of State and our County Prosecutor: If a person’s city address on the Recall petition does not exactly match the city address on their Voter Registration card, the signature is rejected. So if they moved within the city and didn’t re-register, their signature on the petition was thrown out. But that same person is still legal to vote! Yep. I’m not kidding. They said the standard to sign a Recall petition is higher than the standard to vote. Does that make any sense to you?

In the 2009 CdA Election Challenge trial, one of the questionable voters was a woman who went into a polling place, signed the poll book next to a pre-printed address, got her ballot and voted. After she voted, she told the poll workers she had moved to a different city address in a different precinct, two years before. Judge Hosack said her vote still counted; that she was still a legal voter. He said "... I think the rule of law in Idaho case law is pretty clear that courts should honor the right of a qualified voter to vote. And mere technicalities are not sufficient to disenfranchise a voter and deprive them of their constitutional right to vote."

Union chief calls recalls "uniquely difficult" to win

Another in the "let's overreach on the importance of the Wisconsin recall" articles quotes one union leader saying that recalls are "uniquely difficult" to win. Perhaps something is lost here, but if that's not pure spin...

Politifacts blows it discussing recall

I can't keep repeating how dumb this point is on a prima facie level -- Polls show that 70% of voters wanted the recall used only for malfeasance or not at all -- but only 53% voted to retain Walker? Do the math.

95% of Walker supporters were opposed to the political use of the recall -- do people think that if we reverse it, a huge percentage of that 95% wouldn't have voted to recall a Governor Barrett? The whole subject is unreal.

New Jersey: Three Hackensack Board of Ed members facing petitions

Three members of the Hackensack Board of Education, Rhonda Bembry, Clarissa Gilliam Gardner and Carol Martine, are facing petitions. A fourth member is scheduled to face petitions when he reaches a full year on the board. Petitioners need 25% of registereds or about 5,000 per.

Wisconsin: Van Wanggaard picks up 10 votes in recount

Doesn't sound like all that much, but I guess we'll see the end result. 800+ votes is a huge hill to climb in a state legislative election.

The cautionary tale of Marion Zioncheck

According to Phil Campbell, Marion Zioncheck was the only US Congressman sent to an insane aslyum. He was also:
 an ambitious and charismatic young man growing up in Seattle in the 1920s. He was only in his twenties when he led a successful recall election against Seattle Mayor Frank Edwards after Edwards dared tinker with the city's utilities company in ways that hurt regular citizens. Soon after that Zioncheck was running for Congress. Few in establishment politics took him seriously, but he got media attention by visiting the local jail and passing out cigars to inmates while asking for their vote. When he won, in 1932, people attributed his victory to the force of his personality alone.

California: Redding City Council petitions due July 5, petitioners pessimistic about getting on the ballot

From the negative attitude of the petitioners, it doesn't sound like the Redding City Council recalls are getting to the ballot. Petitioners need 9,273 (20% of registereds) signatures by July 5th.  Petitioners are medical marijuana advocates upset over the city's ban on cannabis storefronts. The three city councilmembers are Rick Bosetti, Patrick Jones and Francie Sullivan.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kansas: Four Baxter Springs City Council members facing petitions from mayor's supporters

Four City Council members are facing recall petitions from supporters of Mayor Jenifer Bingham. The council members are Gary Allen, Robert St. Clair, Ron Costlow and Ed McAfee.

Petitioners need 40% of turnout in 90 days (between 34 and 112 signatures). Since this is Kansas, a judicial recall/malfeasance state, they need a cause of action. As per usual, they are citing a violation of open meeting laws.

The turmoil erupted at the April 10 council meeting, when Bingham appointed people of her own choosing to replace City Clerk Donna Wixon and police Chief David Edmondson. The council voted 6-2 against the mayor’s appointments and took action so the appointees didn’t later automatically take office. 
Bingham the next day placed Wixon on paid suspension and changed the locks at City Hall. The council eventually restored Wixon to her job.

New Jersey: Explanation of the recall law by drafting staffer

This is a great explanatory op-ed by Victor McDonald, the former assistant executive director for policy and planning in the Senate Republican Office, defending the political recall and explaining why New Jersey has the 25% of registered voter requirement for recalls.
The 25 percent threshold was selected for the New Jersey recall amendment because, at the time, the voters of approximately 125 municipalities already had the right to recall elected officials if 25 percent of the registered voters in those communities signed a recall petition. The right to recall existed in those municipalities because they were under the provisions of the Optional Municipal Charter Law.

I would like to find out why New Jersey chose such a high time-limit for the gubernatorial recall.

Oregon: Recall survivor edition -- Oakridge mayor offers to step down, with a big catch

After barely a surviving a recall last year, Oakridge Mayor Don Hampton is offering to quit, but only if he is then named acting city administrator.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Alaska: Eight members of Wrangell Medical Center board ousted from office

In the largest mass ouster that I can remember (and certainly the largest since 2010), eight members of the Wrangell Medical Center were kicked out of office.  Turnout was 649 of Wrangell’s 1,591 registered voters. 197 absentee ballots remain to be counted. One member of the board did not face a recall vote.

Here's the breakdown by board member:

Jim Nelson: 382 Yes — 283 No

Lurine McGee: 389 Yes — 234 No

Sylvia Ettefagh: 381 Yes — 241 No

Linda Bjorge: 414 Yes — 210 No

Jake Harris: 330 Yes —  295 No

Delores Norman: 376 Yes — 247 No

LeAnn Rinehart: 393 Yes — 229 No

Hospital Board Chair Mark Robinson: 399 Yes — 226 No

Colorado: Hot Sulphur Springs mayor survives recall

Hot Sulphur Springs mayor Hershal Deputy survived today's recall vote 146-81. Turnout was 63% (higher than in the April election).

Missouri: Two Ellisville City Council members facing petitions

Two Ellisville City Council members, Dawn Anglin and Troy Pieper, are facing petitions due to their support for a Walmart financing proposal that includes a tax increment financing and public financing. 

The election would be a special held on October 2nd, which the city council has to vote to approve. Petitioners need signatures from 15% of registered voters in 90 days.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vos posts clarification to Lehman recall statement

Not, mind you, clarifying his assertion that there was voter fraud, or that the recall was a rigged setup. No, he is claiming that he would not promote the recall of Lehman under his "judicial recall"/malfeasance bill.

Idaho: Coeur d'Alene recall falls short

There was a 23% rejection rate, resulting in the petitions missing by 190-250 or so signatures. This is a little high by historic standards, but nothing unusual. It doesn't sound like the petitioners intend to appeal.

RecallCDA needed 4,311 valid signatures on each petition for the election to move forward. The official results were Mayor Sandi Bloem, 4,126 valid signatures; councilwoman Deanna Goodlander, 4,073; councilman Mike Kennedy, 4,077; and councilman Woody McEvers, 4,060.

Wisconsin: Vos claims that Lehman victory was achieved with "voter fraud"

Republican House Rep. Robin Vos is now claiming that John Lehman's close victory in the Wisconsin Senate recall was due to voter fraud and "illegitimate" because it was under the old district lines.

Vos claimed that “Unfortunately a portion of it was fraud.” However, his factual back-up seems embarrassingly iffy for such a significant claim:

“There was no double checking to make sure that people even resided for 28 days,” he added.” I think people came in with same-day registrations and to their credit, I mean that's just part of the get out the vote effort. But you have to have some sort of ID, in my mind; I think that was another thing that led to the potential for fraud.” 
Vos also thinks that the election was a "rigged setup" because, as per the redistricting law (written by Republicans), the recall was run in the old district boundaries, rather than the new ones. This was litigated earlier this year. Unsurprisingly, the redistricters did not take into account the recall when they were drafting their law.

Wisconsin: Petitions handed in for Waterford Sanitary District President recall

Waterford sanitary district president Bill Gerard is facing recall petitions. The reported chief backer of the recall is a former sanitary district president in the early ‘80s, said that he has decided to run against Gerard. Petitioners need 531 signatures and apparently have collected 729.

The issue is alleged increased costs of sewage service and paying for grinder pumps: “Multiple attempts to make grinder pump users pay for WSD (Waterford Sanitary District) system infrastructure and miscellaneous WSD financial reasons.” Gerard claims the issue is a lawsuit over a 99 year lease to a building in the district.

Massachusetts: Bourne Selectmen facing petitions

Recall petitions have been taken out against Bourne Selectmen Peter Meier. Former Selectman Jamie Sloniecki, who resigned from the board in January, is leading the petition gathering effort.

Part of the issue is tension between selectmen and Town Administrator Thomas Guerino. Other issues are a 2007 planning board vote by Meier on a condo complex, An outburst at a meeting and calls Meier made to other towns about Guerino when he was applying for other jobs.

Petitioners first need to get 250 signatures on the initial filing. Then they need 1,316 (10% of registered).

Some past history on the recall in Bourne:
Bourne's first and only recall effort was in 2006, when voters successfully ousted Galon "Skip" Barlow from his seat. Selectman Carol Cheli was also a recall target but resigned rather than fight for the position.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vos states super-broad definition of malfeasance

Apparently, Vos' definition of malfeasance includes disagreeing with him. Vos is referring to two things, one the fact that the recall took place in the district that existed before the gerrymander. The other is that the Democrats left the state to deprive the Republicans of the ability to vote on legislation (a controversial, if time-honored tactic in American politics). We can point to Washington State recall of 1981 for a surprising position on malfeasance (apparently it was a regulatory agency decision, not a judicial one). However, it seems to be a very broad definition of malfeasance that effectively would be the same as a non-standard.

"But as far as if Lehman should be recalled, Vos said, “I don’t believe in recalling someone just because he is a Democrat.” But at the same time Vos didn’t say he was entirely opposed to a possible recall, such as if Lehman doesn’t represent the wishes of the district or flees the state."

The Journal Times notes: "leaves open the possibility of a recall of Lehman if he doesn’t represent the wishes of his district. This is an expansion of acceptable recall criteria beyond the limited parameters of Joint Resolution 63. Furthermore, what constitutes “the wishes of his district”? Is Vos saying that because Senate District 21 is being redrawn into a much more conservative district that the recall election should be nullified? Wasn’t it Republicans and their supporters who railed against do-over elections? Is the GOP standard to allow “do-overs of do-overs” until they get the political results they want?"

Arizona: Book describes effort to recall Tempe mayor


Louisiana: Rapides School Board member facing petitions

Rapides Parish School Board member Julie McConathy, who voted not to renew the Louisiana superintendent's contract, is facing a recall petition. Supposedly, McConathy is moving out of town and residents feel she should not be a part of the superintendent decision. Petitioners need 4,057 signatures in 180 days.

Arizona: More trouble in Quartzsite

Quartzsite Town Council claimed that mayor Ed Foster, who lost a recall last year, but came back to win election (in a rematch) this year, was not qualified to serve as mayor. Vote was 6-1. According to the report "no explanations were given as to why Foster and Orgeron were determined to be unqualified," though it may be about unpaid taxes, fees or fines or other funds (a provision that may be illegal). The County Attorney filed suit demanding an explanation as to why Foster hasn't been seated.

Wisconsin Watch: Spending for the recall -- TV was at least 41%

The big caveat is that this is through May 21st. This is from Bill Lueders, the Money and Politics Project director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. A great breakdown for the spending. Hopefully, there will be an updated one:

Among the big findings:

» Television advertising was 41 percent of the spend;. Radio ads 1.7 percent, $1 million going for online ads; advertising in newspapers totaled $46,310, or less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

»  $10.4 million was spent on mailing lists and services.

» Printing of all kinds -- 2 percent; Phone banks and robo-calls cost $841,076.

Nearly $2.4 million went for consulting fees and another $1.3 million for research and polls. Legal fees totaled $523,425, with Walker's campaign paying nearly two-thirds of this amount.

» Campaign staff wages and employment taxes cost $5.1 million, or 8 percent of the total.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Louisiana: Attempt to force recall petitioners to reveal signatures before deadline

Fighting the recall efforts against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, House Reps Greg Cromer and Kevin Pearson, the Republican Party is both running an ad campaign against the recall effort and filing a public records request demanding that the recall petitioners disclose copies of the signed petitions before the deadline. The petition organizers say the state party’s demand amounts to “intimidation.” I'm not sure what the basis of the public records request is, but I've never seen such an request.

Jindal is not a threat to face a recall, as Louisiana's gubernatorial recall law sets an almost impossible hurdle. Apparently, there must be some concern about the legislative recalls. There has also been complaints about the recall petitioners failure to file campaign finance documents, but the petitioners claim that they haven't raised enough money for any required filing.

Idaho: Coeur d'Alene signatures rejection rate at 24%

That would undoubtedly kill the recall attempt. Of course, if there's one thing we know about recalls, there will be lawyers. So, let's not stick a fork in this one just yet.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Colorado: Trindad councilman recall seems back on

This one is strange -- they originally rejected the petitions, but have now revived them after amendment.

My op-ed on Coeur d'Alene recall

Here -- I also explain the corruption issue following the Wisconsin recall and polls.

Idaho: Coeur d'Alene signature rejection rate now at 20%


Michigan: Hartford Mayor, two city commissioners facing petitions

Hartford Mayor Ted Johnson and City Commissioners Leo "Bud" Latus and Rick Hall are facing petitions, which were approved this week. PEtitioners need 124 signatures by Aug. 3, 

New Jersey: Record Editorial opposing easier recall law


Wisconsin: Wanggaard calls for recount

Not a surprise, as it is a close race. I think every election has some stories about problems at the ballot box, though the vast majority prove baseless. The Journal-Sentinel has a lot more about it.

Colorado: Ute Mountain Ute tribe chairman facing recall petitions

Ute Mountain Ute tribal members are petitioning to recall Chairman Gary Hayes. The group has 400 signatures, they need 500 (25 percent of registereds). This seems based on the $42.6 million settlement from the federal government.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wisconsin: Walker taking a victory lap around DC


Michigan: Senate Majority Leader facing petitions again

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (Republican) is facing petitions for a recall. This is the second time petitions have gone out against Richardville, plus there was a petition that was rejected on vagueness grounds.

Idaho: Coeur D' Alene recall would result in gubernatorial appointments, not replacement elections

A number of jurisdictions have this (though I don't know of one where the Governor appoints a mayor). CdA does not have a replacement vote, it has appointments.

Idaho: Signature rejection rate at 18% in Coeur D'Alene recall

Sounds like this one is going to be close. The four targeted officials all publicly declined to resign.

New Jersey: Ridgefield pass resolution opposing recalls

The Ridgefield Council voted to oppose Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo's legislation making recalls easier (the vote is just a resolution). The resolution was also critical of the 2010 recall of Mayor Anthony Suarez (he survived the vote, and was acquitted of federal corruption charges that he faced).

Two Republican Councilmen Angus Todd and Warren Vincentz, among those who led the recall efforts against Suarez, voted no.

The Democrats also noted the cost of the recall --  $7,248.90 paid to the county Board of Elections, $2,767 to the county clerk and $8,075 to a special counsel.

Michigan: Columbia School district members threatened with recalls

Residents of Columbia School District are looking into recalling school board members, with a hope of pushing the board members to resign. The forced resignation of the superintendent a year before his contract expired (he will be paid for the last year) is one of the impetuses. Petitioners have to collect 25% of turnout for the governor in 90 days.

Massachusetts: Sudbury residents looking at recall of selectmen

Sudbury residents are discussing a recall against town selectmen meeting after members stayed an hour past the liquor license allowed at a local restaurant. A town employee left the same restaurant (earlier in the evening) and crashed her car, earning a third drunk driving charge.

The town is calling the problem Lavendergate, for the name of the restaurant that the selectmen stayed to late in was Lavender Asian Cuisine & Bar (and, of course, due to lack of originality).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Massachusetts City Councillor facing recall petitions following sexual harassment charges

Petitions have taken out against five term At-Large Councilor Donald L. Cykowski. For an at-large elected official, petitioners first need an affidavit signed by at least 400 voters, with at least 60 signatures from each of the city's five precincts. Petitioners then need to get signatures of 20% of registered voters in three weeks (2,236 signatures). Cost is estimated to be $8,000, and due to timing would have to take place after the presidential election. It is thought to be the first Easthampton's in at least 29 years ago.

Mayor Michael A. Tautznik was one of the first to sign the petition. Seven of the nine city councillors signed a letter calling for Cykowski to resign. According to the article:
Cykowski has come under fire for a racist comment at a City Council meeting as well as for allegations that he sexually harassed a former library director while he was a member of the library board.

When a fellow councilor was accidentally locked out of the council chambers during a Dec. 7 meeting, Cykowski said, "Where's a Puerto Rican when we need one?" He later said he was sorry if he offended anyone.

In March, calls for his resignation were renewed when the Gazette reported that Rebecca Plimpton, former director of the Emily Williston Memorial Library, accused Cykowski of sexually harassing her from 2000 to 2007 while he was a member of the library board. He denied wrongdoing, but resigned from that board on March 18.

My op-ed in the Hill

Here, though it is only a part of what I wrote in my Wisconsin Autopsy post below.

Idaho: Coeur d'Alene Press examines the recall

This is somewhat of a profile of my thoughts on the recall.

Minnesota: Bemidji to vote on ballot measure adopting recall

Bemidji is considering adopting a recall provision, as the Charter Commission approved language for a "judicial recall" or malfeasance standard law to be placed before voters on November 6. Last year, the city council voted 5-1 against adopting a recall.

The proposed law reads:
“Shall the Bemidji Council-Manager Charter be amended to add Section 5.07, providing for a recall procedure to remove an elective municipal officer for malfeasance or nonfeasance in office?”

The law would require signatures of 20% of turnout.

Here's a bit on the difficulties with malfeasance:
Commission member Nancy Erickson said she was approached last year by landlords who wanted to recall the councilors who voted in favor of the rental ordinance changes. She told them that not only was there no process in place for the recall of councilors, none of the councilors had committed malfeasance or nonfeasance.
“’You simply don’t agree with them,’” she recalled telling the landlords.
The response from the landlords, she said, was that because they didn’t agree with the councilors, in their minds that did constitute malfeasance.
Erickson said that example illustrates her one issue with the proposed language. No one throughout the recall process rules on whether the accused councilor is actually guilty of malfeasance – unlawful or wrongful conduct – or nonfeasance, or nonperformance.
That decision is left to voters to decide, commission members responded.
Note though that there has been reports that Minnesota has never had a recall.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Michigan: Troy petitioners hand in 9300 signatures for recall against Mayor

The recall attempt against Troy Mayor Janice Daniels has moved forward, as petitioners handed in 9,300 resident signatures. Petitioners need 7,985 valids. Sounds like it could be close.

Texas: Second attempt to recall El Paso mayor dies

Unlike the first one, they didn't hand in any signatures.

New Jersey: Ex-mayor threatening recall of West Wildwood mayor, who lost seat in 2009 recall

Former West Wildwood Mayor Gary DeMarzo, who was just indicted, is continuing to push a recall against his successor, Mayor Ernie Troiano. West Wildwood recently had a recall election, and Troiano previously lost a recall.

In 2009, Troiano lost his seat in a recall election, along with Commissioner Bill Davenport. At the time, DeMarzo was part of the three-member governing body, and supported the recall effort. About a year and a half later, Troiano was reelected to the City Commission with running mates Pete Byron and Tony Leonetti, and was named mayor again.

Wisconsin: Lehman affirmed as winner, Wanggaard yet to concede

In the recall rematch, recanvass gave John Lehman an 834 vote win -- 36,351 to 35,517. He got an additional 55 votes.

Wanggaard had previously cited outstanding absentee ballots, voting irregularities and countywide problems in clerks' unofficial vote totals as reasons he wasn't conceding. A recount would cost him $685.

There are bigger issues at play here -- the Democrats will take control once Lehman is given the office. The Democrats are attacking the recount as a "futile delay," but I think every candidate that's ahead dismisses talk of recounts and insults the candidate behind for asking for a (fully reasonable) check on the results.

Obama claims too busy to campaign for Walker


Monday, June 11, 2012

Op-ed by Wisconsin Republican Assembly leaders on recalling the recall

The op-ed, co-authored by Robin Vos, makes all the usual arguments against the political recall. I'd say they are misreading the history.

Idaho: Petitions turned in for recall of Coeur d’Alene mayor and three council members

The recall of Coeur d’Alene’s mayor and three city council has now hit the big moment, as petitioners turned in 5.300 signatures. They needed 4,311

Post-mortem on the recall from the Nation

This take a decidedly pro-union position (not a fan of Barrett).

Wisconsin Autopsy: The Cognitive Dissonance polls and how Walker's victory could actually help Obama in November

Last year, the recall results were open to interpretation. Not so this June 5. Last August and more recently, I wrote that the recall of Walker might be a danger to the Democrats, and that the party could face serious repercussions in November. But am I correct? Let's look at the other side of the coin -- in what ways could the recall have helped the Democrats? Are people misreading some of the numbers and using the recall as too much of a harbinger of doom? 

Before jumping into that, let's note a couple of facts. According to exit polls, 60% of voters thought the recall should be limited to misconduct (aka, the judicial recall) and another 10% was wholly opposed to a recall. The punditocracy (membership pending) and especially the Democratic Party leaders are pushing this point to explain the results of the recall. But what's very interesting about these numbers is not that 70% of voters feel the recall should be limited -- it's that 47% voted against Scott Walker. Obviously, a very large percentage of voters who claim the recall should be limited didn't vote that way and still cast ballots to kick out Walker. 

This cognitive dissonance is at the heart of the future debate of the recall (I wouldn't necessarily call it hypocritical -- it's a vote and there has to be some focus on impact, even if you disagree with the event itself). You can be sure that if the parties were reversed (a Democrat being recalled), we would have seen the vast majority of the Republicans who claim they oppose the recall voting in favor of removing Barrett (the exact dynamic of the Gray Davis recall). Look at Walker himself -- he's signed recall petitions in the past for policy reasons. This is just how the recall works. The question is when voters are claiming that only officials guilty of misconduct should be recalled, do they really mean that the standard of misconduct includes belonging to another party or voting differently than the voter wanted? All evidences points to yes.

The other kind of funny result is the cost issue. For good reason, blowing tax money on votes resonates with voters. However, Wisconsin may actually be a complete counter-example. The ROI on the recall was fantastic -- This maybe the single best PPP of alltime. Unlike building stadiums and corporate tax breaks, Wisconsin's recall turned out to be a profit center (at least $125 million in campaign expenditures, most of it from out of state sources, at a state tax cost of under $30, maybe under $25 million). Yes, not the best way to think of the recall, but wow, what a return.

Now, let's look at the other points. The unions were quite obviously the big losers here. They spent big, and not only did they lose the general election, perhaps more revealing is that they got badly defeated in the primary. The wanted Falk; voters almost overwhelming went with Barrett. They gambled big, and the lost big. If they had taken less of a gamble -- just gone for the three Senate seats (the Fitzgerald seat recall seems like it was not a union focus), maybe this works out well? They get their blocking majority in the Senate, and walk home temporary winners. I realize the Senate seat is of limited value. Thanks to a brutal gerrymander, the Senate may well be lost to the party in November (and, keep the rag away from your face on that one -- as in other states, the failure to pass redistricting reform blows up in one of the parties' faces). But they are stopping everything -- in fact, because of the victory, the Senate might not meet again this year. And even if they had take the Governorship, while very valuable, they had a limited ability to change the legislation passed earlier this year -- they had no hope of getting anything through the Republican-dominated Assembly.

Due to all this, the Wisconsin Democrats have a problem. As I mentioned voters might blame the party for costing the state money and effort in the recall (even though it probably ranks among the best state investments ever) -- even voters who supported the recall might changed their mind post-facto. This is where the Democrats really might face a problem. They are running in heavily gerrymandered districts and the Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin might face some of the backlash for their support of the recall.

But that doesn't mean this hurts the national Democrats. I'm about as steeped in this subject as anyone, but from what I've seen, nationally, this will be a blip on the radar, long forgotten by the end of the summer. By the end of the week, it was already surpassed by Obama's economy gaffe. The mass of voters outside of Wisconsin --especially the swing-type voters who decide elections -- weren't paying attention. For them, this is another in the small Big Mo moments, and likely, there will be a hundred of those before this race is done.

So, for Barack Obama, I believe we are just talking about whether he could lose Wisconsin itself. And here, I think we could see that the recall might have been as a setback for the Romney campaigns hopes of taking Wisconsin or (more likely) forcing Obama to spend a lot of money defending the state. Generally, this story  has been buried in the news. The problem is that the reports fail to examine the basic facts of the turnout numbers -- to my mind, even though it was the highest voter turnout in Wisconsin history, they were disappointing. The GAB had expected 2.6-2.8 million. 2.5M that showed up. Yes, this was more than 2010. This is not at all a surprise. As I've mentioned before, turnout is generally lower in a special election than in a regular election. However, when it is something monumental -- like Gray Davis, or like the Scott Brown special election -- turnout might be higher. And so it was -- close to the same percent raise as in the Gray Davis recall (18%). (See here for why I thought turnout was not going to be the deciding factor).

This may seem encouraging to Republicans, but it shouldn't be. This number was much less than in either 2008 or 2004. In both of those election, turnout was about 3 million voters. So, we are missing half a million voters.

Walker's campaign was flooded with money, and they used it to the maximum effect. There's no way Romney is going to spend a fraction of what Walker spent in Wisconsin. Walker's result may be the effective ceiling for what Romney can expect in the state. And that will not be good enough to win it alone in November. That's not to say that Romney won't take Wisconsin. It just won't be the deciding state. It would be a "me too" state that comes along and pulls him not over the 270 electoral margin, but over the 300 or 320 margin. 

The other important point is the unions. They are chastised about this result. This may seem a negative, but for Obama, it could be a big positive. They are now on the leash. What do I mean? Both parties have interest groups that push them in one direction or another. Usually, one of the trickiest parts of the run for the presidency is tacking to the center while keeping the interest groups (who are pushing you to the extremes) appeased. This will be a problem for Romney, as the Tea Party supporters are still exercising their political muscle (witness Dick Lugar). The Tea Party members are coming out for Romney no matter what, but will they push him into saying some impolitic things? Obama will have the same pressure, but he may feel more emboldened to shrug it off. Yes, he has to motivate this dispirited base (the recall probably sapped their energy, which was another mark against holding the recall). But fear of the result of the last election might be its own motivator.

Former Judge Michael McConnell on Citizens United and the Recall

I believe I've made this point a number of times in the past. Citizens United is simply not to blame for the big money on the Republican side of the aisle. That would have flowed regardless of the decision -- it was  the pro-recall people who used CU.

Recall helps more conservative Republicans in the US Senate race


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Michigan: Another attempt to recall Wayne County Executive launched

This follows the failed attempt to recall County Executive Robert Ficano. Ficano's spokesman claims that the backer is trying to draw attention to his own for the county commission.

Claim that the spending gap was 2.27-1

This guy seems partial correct. As I've said, the spending gap was clearly not 7-1, as it fails to calculate a lot of the money unions spent. However, I also don't believe these numbers. It claims real spending was $45.6 for Walker to $20.1 for Barrett. I bet at the end of the day it will have a much higher number. We'll just have to wait for it (And nobody is interested in patience).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Democrats blame recall for recall loss

A lot of people are citing the dislike of using the recall for political reasons for the failure of the Walker recall. Strange, how they seem to ignore the fact that about 47% of the voters didn't agree with that estimation.

Paul Begala's lessons on Wisconsin: Go Negative and go on the air

Here they are

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wisconsin: The use of Absentee Ballots by the Walker campaign

WSJ examines how absentee ballots helped push Walker over the top.

California: Reversal in Greenfield? Mayor Huerta now in the lead

I had mentioned how close the Greenfield recall was for Mayor John Huerta (though the other positions were blowouts). Now, he is up by 42 votes.

Gray Davis defends the recall and LA Times piece on why Davis lost and Walker won

A strong defense from its most famous victim. The LA Times piece has a few good points, including discussing how the different structures to the recall came into play.

Article in Governing on Mayors running for higher office, using Barrett as jumping off point


Washington, DC: City Councilor who was facing recall threat resigns

Kwame Brown, a DC city councilor who facing recall threats that failed, has resigned under a wave of possible indictments.

Montana: "Tryouts" for replacements for Troy Mayor

Troy, Montana is looking at replacements for Mayor Don Banning who was kicked out recently. The City Cpuncil President and a mayor from the 1970s are both interested. The council will appoint an interim replacement until November.

The article notes that the reasons for the recall (needed in a Judicial Recall state):

District Judge James B. Wheelis had determined there was sufficient reason to seek the recall based on the four allegations made by McCully against the mayor:

√ Banning had terminated City Attorney Charles Evans without the consent of the council, a violation of state law.
√ Banning had cashed a check for $331.80 made out to him without the approval of the council that exceeded the budget in travel and training and violated state statutes.
√ Banning allegedly had allowed a construction project at Roosevelt Park without the proper appropriation by the council.
√ Banning had interfered with the council’s legislative role by making changes to city code without council knowledge in violation of the city charter.

Idaho: Reagan Republican Federation President touts Four Coeur d'Alene recalls

Here. His note focuses on the special interest groups in Wisconsin, though no complaints about the misuse of recalls there.

Wisconsin: Talk begins on recall against sole Democratic winner, John Lehman

So much for the "we oppose recalls for ideological reasons." This is actually also a tradition in successful recalls -- immediate discussion on recalling the winner. Lehman would have to run in the new gerrymandered district, which is heavily Republican, so he would be at a distinct disadvantage. Lehman notes that the recall couldn't take place until he was in office for a year (I guess with delays it will push it to the end of the year, as he mentions). There will only be a year left on his term at that point, but despite his confidence, that's never stopped people from launching a recall before.

Costa Rica: Quepos (or Aguirre) votes to schedule recall against arrested mayor and accused human trafficker

Don't know what to make of this story, especially since the mayor is called "erstwhile." The Aguirre City Council vote to check into Mayor Lutgardo Bolaños in the town of Quepos.

Bolaños, a National Liberation Party (PLN) lawyer and politician, is facing a recall on September 23. He has been mayor since February 2011 and was arrested in December for his alleged use of municipal funds to make pornographic videos with underage girls.

California: Fresno Unified School Board President facing recall threats for allegedly living outside of district

Fresno Unified School Board President Tony Vang is facing recall threats under claims that he lived and voted outside of the district. According to Fresno law, he has to live in the district he was elected from. It seems like he lived outside of the whole district. No word on how many signatures they need, but they will need 120 days to get them,

Note that there are other problems with the board, as two trustees walked out of the meeting after being silenced by Vang, and Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gaddams was escorted out by police.

Michigan: Groups halts second attempt to recall Governor Snyder

The articles play up the Wisconsin angle, which is a false argument to make. For one, they had barely collected any signatures. More importantly, there was a huge practical problem built into Michigan law that made it an unlikely place to hold a gubernatorial recall.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wisconsin once again discussing changes to the recall

Let wait on this one. Note the Democrats are mentioning closing the unlimited donation loophole. Also, as the mentioned with the Lehman victory, there are strong reasons for the Republicans to run out the clock on the session and not bring the Senate back into office. If that happens, it will delay any change to the constitution by two years (it has to pass through two separate sessions of the legislature).

Total campaign spending on Wisconsin recalls easily tops $125 million

This is just last year's nine Senate races -- $44 million -- and the Walker race, which they are claiming a $75-80 million. I would not be surprised to see that number creep up. It does not include the four senate races this year or the LG. I'm wondering if they include the amount of money spent to gather signatures.

Note this doesn't include the spending by the $18 million (this year) spent on elections.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

California: Greenfield mayor loses in a close race, city council members are blown out

Greenfield recall totals are in, right here. John Huerta lost 418-397. Councilwoman Yolanda Teneyuque got blown out 71-28% 580-229. John Martinex lost 520-282.  Of course, this article would say "Most incumbents fair well."

California: Three Blowouts in the Fullerton recalls

All three had nearly identical totals, over 65% of the voters cast ballots to recall each one. A little on the replacements in this LA Times piece:

Travis Kiger, a planning commissioner and blogger for the site Friends for Fullerton's Future; Greg Sebourn, a land surveyor; and attorney Doug Chaffee.

Kiger and Sebourn are small-government conservatives aligned with Tony Bushala, a local businessman and owner of the Fullerton's Future blog who largely funded the recall effort. Chaffee is a Democrat.

Wisconsin Reporter on changing the recall

This gives a very good overview of my thoughts on the reality of changing the recall, and why it fails.

The benefits and the limitations of the Democrats winning control of the Wisconsin Senate ry

This is an interesting read. First, Lehman needs a new district -- as I mentioned last night, this one was brutally gerrymandered. "Under that new set of maps, Lehman in 2014 would have to face a Republican opponent in a new district that will be almost impossible for any Democrat to hold."

The other problem is how the Democrats can gain control of the Senate. There is no way to not block quote this:

Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) will retain his post as Senate president until the entire Senate meets to replace him. But because the Senate is out of session, it can meet only in limited circumstances, such as if Walker calls a special session or if the Republican-controlled Assembly agrees to hold an extraordinary session.

The Senate president sits on the Senate Committee on Organization, a leadership committee that has the power to set the Senate agenda and take care of administrative matters from determining the pay of aides to whether to hire legal counsel. With Ellis as president, the Republicans would have a 3-2 majority on the committee, meaning they could block the will of the Democrats if they wanted.

If Ellis were to resign as president, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) would take his place. Ellis said he didn't know what would happen if Leibham were to then resign as president.

The Democratic leader downplayed any chance of fight. Beyond money and office allocation, there is a a serious "consolation prize."

Republicans and their outside lawyers at the firm of Michael Best & Friedrich have declined to turn over certain records about the redistricting legislation and the work on it to Democratic senators because Democrats had been in the minority in the Senate. Democrats would potentially have more leverage now to ask for those records.
Basically, the Democrats have killed any hope for Walker doing anything further until the next session.

Washington Post -- Big Money Won Big

The article notes that Barrett was outspent 7-1. I'd like to see what goes into these figures, much as I'd like to see the final accounting -- right now, we're hearing $63 million. I would not be surprised if it was much higher.

Article blames Citizens United, but as I've said before, I think CU might have helped Barrett (a position taken up by Bradley Smith).

Note this look at the donors:

Unlike Walker, Barrett was only able to collect checks of up to $10,000 for his challenge. Many of Walker’s top donors were active GOP mega-donors from other states, including Houston homebuilder Bob Perry ($490,000); Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson ($250,000); and billionaires Louis Bacon of New York and Trevor Rees-Jones of Texas, both of whom gave $100,000.
The governor’s biggest single supporter was Wisconsinite Diane Hendricks of ABC Supply Company, who donated $510,000, records show.

Some people don't take losing well

Here's a woman slapping Tom Barrett. Recalls are known for hard feelings.

Oregon: Five Hermiston recalls all fail to oust the officials

Unofficial election results show that all five officials, the mayor and four city councillors, survived the recall. Most of the winners topped 52%, though one race was 50-49 (908-883).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lehman declares victory -- Democrats take the Senate

It looks like the night wasn't a total loss for the Democrats. In the recall rematch, John Lehman defeated former Senator Van Waaggard. This election was only the third recall rematch of the 36 state senate legislative elections in US history. The other two succeeds as well.

This is the fifth time in recall history that a recall upended control of a state legislative chamber. The other times were Michigan in 1983, California in 1995, California again in 1995 and Wisconsin in 1996. Two other times, a recall failed to reverse control (Washington in 1981 and last year in Wisconsin.

Lehman will now have the task of running in a heavily gerrymandered seat.

Voter turnout -- did it cost the Democrats? And is it good news for Obama?

The voter turnout looks to be about 2.48-2.5 million voters. This seems to be below the GAB's prediction of 2.6-2.8 million voters. What I think may also be surprising is that the rate of increase was less than in California in 2003. Despite all the money, the turnout will only equal a 14-15% increase from 2010 (might be more when all is said and done).. It will also represent a heavy drop from the Presidential race in 2012, which saw nearly 3 million votes.

As I mentioned, this mirrors the Gray Davis recall. The Davis recall saw an 18% turnout increase.

However, for Republicans, this is could actually be a sobering figure to look at. The talk of record turnout masks a basic reality – more voters show up to a presidential race than even the most high profile gubernatorial one. In 2008, nearly three million Wisconsin voters went to the polls, with over 1.67 million of them voting for Obama. What we saw in the recall may be close to the ceiling for Republicans in 2012. The party and its supporters undoubtedly spent well north of $50 million to win the recall. They are not going to have a better campaign or better get out the vote operation than they did in the recall. With so many other states in play, the party is not going to be able to put a lot of money in Wisconsin, a state that, despite some exceedingly close races in 2000 and 2004, has not voted Republican since 1984.  This recall is quite possibly the best they can do – and in a presidential race, it likely won’t be enough.

California: Early results showing clean sweep in Greenfield

Another city, another successful group of recalls, it appears.

California: Early results show clean sweep in Fullerton

It looks like all three council members will be ousted.

Open up the Tired Eyes: Waanggard v. Lehman still outstanding

I have no idea why this happens, but while all the other races are reporting 90+% in, the one closely followed race is has only 28%. Daily Kos has some figures that show it very close, but why the wait?

Clean sweeps in recalls -- the rule, not the exception

Right now, the Republicans are looking good for all races in Wisconsin. What is the history of clean sweeps in recall elections? The answer is very good.

In the previous three instances of multiple recalls on the state level (North Dakota, 1921, Idaho 1971, Michigan 1983), there were clean sweeps. Idaho and Michigan are most similar to the Wisconsin race, as they were in different district on the same day (though Idaho had a lot of overlap).

But that's not the whole story. In the multiple recalls in one city/jurisdiction that have occurred this year, most have been clean sweeps. Same for last year. Here's the numbers:

2012: 15-2 (the 2 were split verdicts, where one or more officials were removed, and another survived).

2011: 27-5

Last year in the Wisconsin State Senate recalls, there was a split verdict on the Republican recall date. However, the Democrats were a clean sweep for their two seats that were up (the third seat was decided during the date of the primary).

So clean sweeps are the rule in recalls, not the exception.

All call it for Walker, still waiting on state Senate seats

Looks like Fitzgerald has won, which was no surprise. None of the other races are close yet, though Waanggard v. Lehman rematch has only 10% reporting.

A Signature reset: What is the signature requirement for a recall rerun? Does the recall reset it for every office in Wisconsin?

Now, this may be academic (though since there are six races outstanding, maybe not), but I've long wondered what the signature requirements are for a recall rerun.

Wisconsin's law requires that in any recall, from Governor to school board, petitioners must get 25% of voter turnout for the office of the Governor in the last gubernatorial election. The first question is what does last Gubernatorial election mean? Does that mean 2010 or the recall? And, the second question, which is vastly more important for local races, is that since it says for the office of the Governor, how does the change affect recalls for other offices -- say a local mayor or school board member who people may want to recall? Do they count the vote numbers from 2010 or the presumably much higher 2012 numbers?

Looking at the law, I would think it is 2012. I emailed with Professor Rick Hasen back in 2003, and he wrote it about it noting the possible ambiguity in the case of California, but California's law is written differently (it talks about the last vote, not the last gubernatorial election). California's rules are also different for local jurisdictions, so there wouldn't be the same impact on local races.

So does this law reset all recall ballot signatures requirements throughout the state? I don't know of any ongoing petitioning in Wisconsin, but if there are when does the new requirement start applying? And does that mean that it much harder to get a recall on the ballot for a mayor?

From my plain reading, this probably unintended result means that it will be about 15% (whatever the voter turnout increase is from the recall) or so harder to get a recall on the ballot in Wisconsin. We'll chalk this up to another of the recall laws not being thought through.

NBC, Fox call it for Walker and Kleefisch

No word on the Senate races, but NBC predicts Walker wins by 4-6%

Early exit polls claim that 60% of voters believe recalls should be limited to misconduct


Come on baby, let's go downtown -- Milwaukee running out of ballots?

Looks like a massive voter turnout, but I remember seeing this type of event before without any special results in terms of turnout or unexpected result. So, I'd hold off on reading into this.

Waukesha County Clerk still on the job

This is not going to fill people with confidence, but there are claims that embattled County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is in charge of the office.

Obama still up in Wisconsin

Despite Obama campaign manager Jim Messina's announcement that Wisconsin is a toss up, the exit polls show Obama as up by 6 in Wisconsin. Was Messina just looking to try and pump up fear and voter turnout among Dems for the recall?

Tonight's The Night: Some sites to follow for coverage

Polls are closing shortly and we will find out for which party which party will hear the brilliant, harrowing Neil Young version of Tonight's the Night and which will get the dreadful but happy Rod Stewart version (Stewart apparently lived in a basement on my block in Brooklyn before I was born).

So, Please Take My Advice, put on a borrowed tune, load up your econoline, and open up the Tired Eyes and check out he following sites for live coverage (and of course, check this site):

Daily Kos (from the left, but make no mistake, the commentators know Wisconsin)

The Blaze (from the Right, Glenn Beck's platform)

Althouse Anti-recall law professor

NYT and Guardian on the recall FAQ

I guess I'm including these cause they mentioned the blog. Here's the NYT and here's the Guardian, which says:

There are politics wonks and then there is Joshua Spivak – who would win some sort of "wonk of the wonks" award if one exists (and there should, any takers?).

Even cooler than when I was called a "recall junkie" and I shall put that award above my Time's Person of the Year (2006).

Walker claims he won't be seeking the VP

The recall has certainly put him on the map, but he claims that he would recommend Paul Ryan. Here's a guarantee -- if it is offered, he'll take it.

Did the GAB say their prayers?

As Rick Hasen has noted before, the prayer is please don't let it be close. The Democrats are talking the closeness factor up now, including discussing a recount.

Radio interview

I've done one TV and a number of radio interviews over the last few days. This one is the most in-depth.

Barrett complains about voter suppression tactics

Robocalls are apparently being made saying that voters don't have to vote if the signed the petition.

Quasi-Review of John Nichols' Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street

I intended to have a long post looking at some of the commentary out there about the recall, but I haven’t had the time/drive/non-laziness/freedom from actual paying work -- plus this piece took some time. Too bad, because there is a lot of unhinged commentary out there on the recall, including one notable piece claiming that a vote for the recall will establish public union members as the new aristocracy. My status as an ex-Wall Street corporate lawyer allows me a good laugh at that one.

But I’m not going to get into that article. I will instead review/discuss the one book that was sent to me for review, John Nichols’ “Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street.” (Pays to send me free books!). Nichols, a Wisconsin native, is a political reporter for the Nation and an Associate Editor for the Capital Times.

I’ve done a number of traditional book reviews, and this will not be one of those (Trade secret -- any reviews that focuses on grammatical mistakes is an insult to the reader). Instead, I’m going to look at a few subjects from the book.

As you can guess from the title, Nichols is very pro-recall. You know what the book is and you know what your getting – a full throated argument against Walker’s tenure and in favor of the protests of the unions. Personally, in a review, I like to take a book for what it is, not what I want it to be. Uprising is not designed to be a dispassionate look at the Wisconsin situation. It is an advocacy book, and does not pretend to be otherwise. It is certainly more high-minded than most of the genre (also, unlike what I suspect is true in most of the genre, Nichols actually wrote his book). There is no calling the other sides’ traitors or idiots, and there doesn’t seem to be a willful disregard for the facts.

As such, it certainly succeeds in painting the picture, giving you a good understanding the opinions of the protestors, and making a cogent (though very debatable) argument that the state’s budget crisis was not as serious as the Walker administration claimed, and that Walker’s tax cuts might have exacerbated the situation. I’m not saying he’s right, but he definitely makes a case.

On the downside, Nichols is way too upbeat about the possibility of the Wisconsin protests sparking a union resurgence, something that would be going against a long-term trend in America. He comes up with his reasons, but they just don’t add up.

However, there are a couple of problems that I would say go beyond the general problems of the genre.

The first one seemed to be a bigger problem when I first read the book, but upon looking at a second time is not as large a focus. It is the theme of the book – Uprising. Nichols tries to connect the book to the Arab Spring that took place last year (the quotes on the first page of Chapter 1 make a direct connection and he calls it the “westernmost exemplar of the Arab Spring” but he drops the connection until his chapter on the media). Now, outside of the post-facto Arab world reality (one that many predicted at the time) that such a comparison is not doing the protestors any favors, it seems quite a stretch to say protestors facing torture and death are the equivalent to protestors facing a little ridicule. It’s a bridge way too far.

Nichols tantalizes us with some fact points, but leaves us hanging. He claims to have been friendly with Scott Walker (he calls him an old friend), and shocked at his current regime. But he doesn’t properly explain Walker’s evolution -- this should be the focal point of the book, not an aside. How was Walker different, why did he change? How did he behave in the past and is this unusual behavioral modification for an official who moves from being an obscure state Senator to Governor? It’s a real missed opportunity.

Nichols also mentions that some Democratic Governors have taken similar executive actions in dealing with unions, but Walker’s legislation was more extreme. How and why? Will those Democratic Governors get a free pass from the unions? If so, why?  Nichols neglects this debate, but instead includes an elongated discussion of Michael Moore’s trip to Wisconsin (without mentioning that Moore faced a recall as well). Here Nichols is trying for too much color and not enough commentary. Moore could have been reduced to a paragraph at best. What we need to understand is if the actions in Wisconsin are really different than NY or California or the Republican dominated states.

A last problem is his use of James Madison, and here we will talk about the recall. I can’t blame Nichols for seeing Madison, Wisconsin and shoehorning a discussion on Madison’s ideology into this story. I would have done the same thing if I was smart enough to recognize it. But I don’t like it. In one sense, I don’t like bringing in historical figures to validate current actions in that manner. There’s so much of difference between their worlds and concerns and ours that it always feels forced. But, more specifically, Nichols does not ask a basic question: what were Madison’s views on the recall? You can say we don’t know, which is true. But you have to at least mention the trail he left in the Constitution.

Madison came to the Constitution Convention loaded to bear. The Randolph/Virginia Plan, which Madison had a major role in drafting, specifically mentions a recall for the lower house (what became the House of Representatives). Yet the recall was voted down and disappeared. In his extensive notes of the deliberations that serve as the main basis for our knowledge of what went on in Philadelphia that summer, Madison doesn’t discuss why the recall went away. But it was apparently an important issue. The constitutional debates had a serious focus on the lack of a recall for Senators, with Maryland Luther Martin and New York’s Gilbert Livingston using the lack of a recall as a weapon to beat up the pro-Constitution forces. Characteristically, Alexander Hamilton took the charge and laid down what to this day are the prime arguments against the recall. Of course, Hamilton and the pro-recall forces won the day.

But that doesn’t end it. Using the anti-Federalist criticisms, Madison wrote the amendments to the constitution. Yet, he conspicuously left out the recall. Why? We don’t know. But it may suggest that he was no great fan of the device. This may seem an unimportant point, but what do you expect -- this is the Recall Elections Blog.

If you want a book focused from the left on the Wisconsin protests that brought in the recall, Uprising is certainly for you. It has some glaring omissions, but it certainly serves its purpose of explaining the root causes of the protests and recall from the perspective of the unions in Wisconsin.

The Mid-Year Report: 103 recalls in 1st half of 2012, 17 to take place today

The day of the election is always a waiting game, so I might as well put out the Recall Elections Blog's midyear report for the recalls. To review from last year, for the entire 2011, we had 151 recalls, resulting in 85 removals. So far, we seem well on the way to breaking that pace (some big caveats below).

In the first half of 2012, we have had 103 recalls have either taken place, been scheduled or have had the official resign in the face of a recall. Once again, they've taken place in 17 different states.

Today alone, there will be 17 recalls. There will be the six in Wisconsin; three in Fullerton, California, which would be a major national story if it wasn't for the Wisconsin recalls; three in Greenfield, California and five in Hermiston, Oregon.

Of the 103 recalls, they breakdown like this:

  • 32 recalls resulted in a vote for removal. They took place in 17 different states
  • 14 recalls resulted in a resignation in the face of removal
  • 1 recall failed to get on the ballot, but the official resigned anyway
  • 1 recall saw the official die in office
  • 27 recalls resulted in the targeted official won the recall election
  • 30 are scheduled to take place between today and August
  • 6 instances, most notable El Paso, Texas, a judge rejected the recall.
  • 6 other instances, the targeted officials are either still fighting the recall in court or refusing to schedule one as a member of the city council.
  • 52 attempted recalls (at least) that failed to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot.
  • 115 (at least) open and unresolved recall petitions circulating now (I may be off on this -- in some of these, the recall might have been abandoned).
The recalls are against all types of officials, Six mayors have been removed, five have survived, and another four are facing a recall vote. 

The reasons for the recall span the spectrum. Some of the more noteworthy ones including opposing another member's appointment of his girlfriend to the village council, trashing a hotel room, and one launched by the wife of a losing candidate. In one ongoing recall attempt, we have the official facing charges of rape, pimping, pandering and maybe attempted murder (don't worry, that was just a school board member). Last year, we had a school board member facing a recall who was caught sexting with a 14 year old. That was not the reason for the recall (it came out during the campaign).

Among other nuggets are that the mayors of both Troy, Montana and Troy, Michigan are facing recalls (the mayor from Montana lost). And, while it may be time to stop all of your weeping and swallow your pride, the mayor of Tombstone, Arizona was recalled. And yes, he was replaced by the owner of Johnny Ringo's bar, who will now be your huckleberry.

In summary, we should be ahead of last year's pace. The big caveat, outside of the fact that I may be missing a number of recalls both this year and last, is that this is a presidential election year, not an off year election. I think it is possible that there may be less recalls on Election Day than last year (there were 30 on the first two Tuesday's in November). Perhaps people will be more focused on the presidential race, and will ignore recalling local officials. Of course, the opposite could occur. We will see in November.