Friday, January 31, 2014

Wisconsin: Judges withdraws endorsement over Walker recall petition signing

Ozaukee Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland, who campaigned against his opponent for signing the Scott Walker recall petition, has withdrawn an endorsement for Laura Gramling Perez, a Milwaukee County court commissioner, who is running for a judgeship. Perez also signed the petition. Perez and Voiland are former partners at the same law firm.

New Mexico: Judge allows Bernalillo County Treasurer recall to proceed

A Judge ruled that the questions surrounding Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz, namely over his investment practices, are enough to warrant a recall to proceed. Petitioners would need 82,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot.

New Jersey: Fundraiser for Vineland mayoral recall effort


Tennessee: A look at the Chattanooga recall


Colorado: Supreme Court reverses Center recall ruling; reinstates recall decision

Seems to be a significant ruling on secret ballots in Colorado. Colorado's Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court ruling that tossed out a recall result in Center that resulted in the ouster of the mayor and two council members over a water rate hike (one additional council member survived the recall vote).

Right after the vote took place, a district court struck down the results and held that the recall was invalid due to the use of numbered stubs on the absentee ballot that were improperly removed (actually, not removed) -- thereby (in the eyes of the lower court) compromising the integrity of the recall. The ballot counters would have theoretically been able to compare the numbers and see how a specific voter voted. 

The Supreme Court's ruling provides a nice look back on the history of voting buying (which is what the prohibition on marked ballots set out to address). However, the Supreme Court rules that the official doing the counting has to mark the ballot, and it is specifically not referring to the stubs. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wisconsin: Secret investigation on the recall allowed to proceed

Check out this detailed report from Jason Stein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- A Wisconsin Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a motion to stop a secret investigation into 501(c)(4) spending in the recall and also revealed that the Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (a Republican) took five months to decline a request by the Milwaukee County District Attorney (a Democrat) to lead the investigation.

This is part of a win some/lose some -- This ruling comes after a previous decision that stopped subpoenas against conservative groups from their actions in the recall.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Utah: Op-ed in favor of recall law


California: Escondido councilwoman facing recall petitions over settlement of voting rights lawsuit

Escondido Councilwoman Olga Diaz is facing a recall effort over redistricting. Diaz is the only liberal on the council, and the settlement of a voting rights lawsuit pushed her into the district (Republicans outnumber Democrats 4-3 in that district), saying they’re frustrated Diaz is representing their neighborhoods under the city’s new election districts. The town previously used an at-large system -- and Diaz is apparently the only supporter of the new district-based system.

Massachusetts: Lancaster recall law pushes forward

The push to adopt a recall law in Lancaster took a step forward, as petitioners got enough signatures to force a town meeting to vote for a recall. At that point, they will ask the legislature to approve a recall. There is one selectman being targeted.

California: A look at the leader of the Salinas Councilman recall

This is the recall against both Salinas Councilman (and former school board member) Jose Castaneda and Union School District trustee Meredith Ibarra, a board member who sided with Castañeda when he sat on the school board.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Montana: Judge halts Bridger Canyon Rural Fire District Recall

The recall against Bridger Canyon Rural Fire District Trustees Colleen Carnine, Mike Conn, Margaret Foster, Dennis Guentzel and Dave McKee has been stopped by a District Court Judge, who ruled the language did not meet the official misconduct standard. Petitioners handed in 108 valid signatures. No word if there will be an appeal.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Op-ed -- In Jersey anything's legal as long as you don't get caught

Here's my op-ed in the Week on the hurdles facing a recall of Governor Chris Christie. The article runs through most of the challenges, including the massive amount of signatures needed (significantly more than were needed against California Governor Gray Davis). New Jersey's law has a very high signature threshold (25% of registered voters), which has resulted in very few recalls in the state.

One point that I briefly touch on is that I suspect that New Jersey may a stricter standard on signatures than other states (Wisconsin's law is arguably the easiest -- it allows all eligible voters to sign, signers don't have to be registered). In the past, I've noticed that certain states (Arizona, Colorado) seem to throw out signatures with a higher frequency than others. If you scroll down one article, you will see a high profile petition in West New York  (it is a town in NJ) that had 40%+ signatures tossed out. That is a very bad sign for a Christie attempt -- if that is any indication, petitioners would be looking at needing over 2 million signatures just to get on the ballot.

New Jersey: Uncertainty following decision tossing out West New York signatures

Petitioners are "weighing their options" in the recall attempt against West New York Mayor Felix Roque and members of the Board of Commissioners. The town clerk tossed out ore than 40% of the petitions -- petitioners handed in 6,400 signatures. The decision was upheld by a Superior Court Judge.

Tennessee: First openly gay councilman in the state facing recall threats over domestic partner benefit law

Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson is facing recall threats over the council's support for a domestic partner benefit law, though there is discussion in the article that Anderson is specifically being targeted due to his position as the first openly gay councilman in Tennessee. Petitioners claim they need 1,800 signatures in 75 days.

Note that a domestic partner benefit law sparked a very controversial recall attempt in El Paso, Texas that was thrown out by an appellate court.

Here's a little bit on Chattanooga recall law, which we discussed heavily in 2012.
If the election commission approves the wording on the petition, this would become the first attempt to recall an elected Chattanooga official since the City Charter was changed in November 2012. 
Residents voted then to make recall rules match state standards, which require signatures from 15 percent of the city's registered voters. The change came after a failed two-year battle to recall former Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Michigan: Holt Board of Education plans lead to recall threats

A plan by the Holt Board of Education to switch buildings between seniors and freshmen, has led to recall threats.

Wisconsin: Senator who faced recall threats in the past retiring

Senator Dale Schultz, a moderate Republican who faced recall threats over his votes on mining, is not running for recall election.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Michigan: New Buffalo recalls set for May 6

The recalls against two New Buffalo Mayor Migs Murray and Mayor Pro Tem Ray Lawson is set for May 6. Petitioners got 188 signatures for Murray and 190 for Lawson. They needed 144.

California: Dinuba Mayor recall gets on the ballot; two city council recalls fail

Dinuba mayor Janet Hinesly, who represents Ward 2 on the city council, will be facing a recall on June 3rd. Petitioners needed 289 signatures, they submitted 328 and got 296 verified.
Petitioners also handed in signatures for the recall of Councilman Aldo Gonzalez -- needing 374. They handed in 412, but 48 were found invalid. Petitioners didn't hand in for the Councilman Mike Smith recall.

New Mexico: 82,436 signatures needed in Bernalillo County Treasurer recall

Petitioners would need 82,436 (1/3rd of turnout) signatures to get the recall of Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz on the ballot over his investment strategies. Apparently, they don't have a set time frame.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Idaho: Odd technicality kills Lake Pend Oreille School Board/Gun Control recall

A very odd procedural error -- which may have been assisted by a poor reading of the statue by county employees -- has scotched the recall effort against Lake Pend Oreille School Board Chairman Steve Youngdahl. Youngdahl was facing a recall over his proposal to arm school staff (and specifically, the data he used to support his argument).

Petitioners handed in their signatures in two stages. The handed in 99 valid signatures on December 20, and another 8 on December 24 (I believe they needed 105). According to the petitioners, the county employees "didn't initially see a problem with this approach..."

However, the Secretary of State ruled that petitioners have to hand them all in at once (a position that is clearly supported by the plain reading of the statute). This is a very different rule than Idaho has for non-recall petition signatures.
"Unlike other petitions for which multiple signature pages may be submitted during the signature-gathering period, this law does not allow for additional signatures to be submitted once the clerk has verified them,” Bonner County Clerk Ann Dutson-Sater said in a letter to recall supporters.
The article notes that petitioners do not seem interested in recirculating petitions.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

California: Modoc recall scheduled for April 8

This is against Supervisor Jim Willis.

Michigan: Chase Township Supervisor recall looking for language approval

An attempt to recall Chase Township supervisor Ken Shoemaker has begun, but the first petitions have been rejected for "improper wording." A new petition has been submitted. The article notes that members of the Township board are involved in the recall.

Massachusetts: Lancaster petitions set to be handed in

Petitions are being handed in against Lancaster selectmen Jean Syria and Susan Smiley, with petitioners claiming to have over 200 (with 131 verified) and shooting for 250. The petition calls for a Special Town Meeting, which is followed by a 100 signature petition for the recall.

The issue is vote against renewing the town Administrators contract.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ohio: Bipartisan team pushes for state recall law

I'm waiting to see the law, but an interesting development, as two of the most ideologically opposed legislators are working together for an Ohio recall law.

Utah: More on the proposed recall law


Lumbee Tribal Chairman facing recall threats

Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks is facing recall threats. Petitioners need 10% of turnout. He would be replaced by the Vice Chairman

California: Moreno Valley mayoral recall makes the ballot

Moreno Valley Mayor Tom Owings will be facing a recall. Petitioners handed in 5,632 signatures, with 4,452 found valid. They needed 3,544. The recalls against three council members have stalled. The issue is claims of corruption.

The council has to schedule a recall by February 11.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oregon: Coburg Mayor, Councilors facing petitions over wastewater project

Coburg Mayor Jae Pudewell and Councilors Jerry Behney and Brian Pech are facing petitions over their support for a $26.5 million wastewater project (which appears to be at the end stage). In 2011, Mayor Judy Volta survived a recall over this very issue.

Massachusetts: Recall against Provincetown Selectman moves forward

The recall attempt against Provincetown Selectman Austin Knight moved forward with petitioners handing in 66 signatures (62 certified). Petitioners now need 292 signatures. There is already an announced candidate -- a former selectman.

Oregon: Recalled Lowell City Councilor suing recall leaders

Lowell City Councilor Pam Bryant, who lost a recall by 26 votes on December 10, is suing two members of the Recall for Lowell’s Future Committee.

The complaint alleges:
the defendants presented a series of false statements that “were intended to mislead voters in the recall election and cause Ms. Bryant’s defeat,” and that this action is in violation of the Oregon Corrupt Practices Act.

Colorado: Clerks asking for reimbursement for state Senate recalls

County Clerks are asking for reimbursement from the state for the September recalls -- Pueblo County is looking for $270,000 and El Paso is asking for $150,000. The Secretary of State dismissed the request, though he says that he isn't opposed if the legislature provides the funds. Both of the new Senators support the request.

Colorado: Two Peak to Peak Charter School recall fails due to supermajority requirements

The recall against two Peak to Peak Charter School Board of Directors failed, due to a supermajority requirement. Voters needed to get 66 percent. The vote against board member Greg Richards was 361-217 (62.5%) and against Thomas Willetto 339-238 (58.8%). Not too many jurisdictions use the supermajority recall, so interesting to see it in action.

The issue was the firing of the school principal.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nebraska: Central City School Board member kicked out

It looks like Central City School Board Member Kent Malm, who served for 25 years, has been removed in a vote today. Reports say the vote went 666-372. Malm was removed for the firing of the football coach. Two other board members faced recall threats, though an administrative ruling killed their recalls. 

Oregon: Sherwood recall fails to hand in signatures

Signatures were not handled in by the deadline in the recall attempt against two Sherwood city councilors, Matt Langer and Dave Grant.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nebraska: Vote tomorrow in Central City School Board recall

Ken Malm is facing a recall over the firing of a High School football coach.

Colorado: Leader of Senator Angela Giron recall running for county clerk


Kentucky: Signatures handed in to recall Scott County Board of Education property tax

3,800 signatures have been handed in for a recall of the Scott County Board of Education’s 10.64-cent property tax increase. Petitioners need 2100 valids to get on the November ballot.

“We’ll be going through each page and checking every one” of the signatures, Assistant Court Clerk Brooke McDaniel told Chuck Bradley, Mike Bradley, Dwight Offutt and Kevin Sames when the four submitted an eight- to 10-inch thick stack of petitions.
“We’re gonna have a lot of fun,” she joked about the tedious process she, county Elections
Coordinator Amber Hoffman and other clerk’s office workers have ahead of them.
The petition reviews will seek to confirm that the signatures are from registered voters.
Signers also are required to sign petitions that identify specific voting precincts in which they live.
Chuck Bradley said the petition-drive organizers obtained about 3,800 signatures during the 41 days the documents were circulated. The organizers submitted the petitions four days before their deadline. If 2,100 signatures are certified by the clerk’s office as valid, the school board is required either to schedule a special election or to place the recall question on the November 2014 general-election ballot.
The drive started on Nov. 13, one day after the school board voted unanimously to increase its property tax rate from 47.2 cents per $100 assessed value to 57.84 cents.
The levy would increase the 2013 property-tax bill on a home valued at $150,000 by about $160. School board Chairman Roger Ward expressed confidence about the future of plans for the proposed high school, which would house about 1,500 students.
“The Scott County School Board is responsible for ensuring our students and staff have the financial and physical resources they need for a first-class education,” Ward said.
“We welcome attention to the needs of our students and we are confident that the plans for a second high school will ultimately be affirmed by the citizens we serve,” he added.
Vice Chair Jo Anna Fryman said she understood why people signed the petition.
“Yes, it’s a big tax increase,” she said.
But she noted that a five-year trend of repeated reductions in state funding to local districts has forced districts across the state to boost their levies.
“The state won’t give us the funding to do what we have to do,” Fryman said.
The tax increase would permit the school district to immediately launch construction of a complete high school that would be opened in 2017. It would ease overcrowding in the existing Scott County High School that promises only to worsen as the county continues its pattern of explosive growth, advocates say.
If the tax increase is recalled, the new high school will have to be built in phases and won’t be finished until 2022 at the earliest, district officials say.
Both Fryman and board member Haley Conway said they support the right of county voters to decide whether the tax increase stays in place.
“I wanted it to go to a vote. I want the people to decide how they want their money spent,” said Conway, a long-time advocate of the new high school’s construction.
“They want to know their money’s being spent wisely,” he said.
Fryman agreed.
“Ultimately, it’s the people’s choice... I would want to have my voice heard, if I felt like that,” she

Michigan: Over 700 signatures handed in for Benton Harbor recall

Petitioners have handed in 700 signatures to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, over the vote to put an income tax on the ballot. Petitioners need at least 393 valids.

New Jersey: Judge tosses out attempt to overturn signature rejection in West New York

Looks like this is the end of the line for the West New York recall.

Wisconsin: Subpoenas quashed in John Doe investigation

The John Doe investigation took a big hit, following a quashing of the subpoenas against conservative political groups. Apparently, the subpoenas were sent to Friends of Scott Walker, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Inc., the Wisconsin Club for Growth, and Citizens for a Strong America.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Arizona: Sunnyside recall set for May 20

The Sunnyside Unified School District against Board President Louie Gonzales and board member Bobby Garcia will be held May 20. The recall will be held by mail and cost $98,000 (based on 30% voter turnout).

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Jersey: The high hurdles of the Christie recall

I'll probably try to write an op-ed on this if I have the time, but here's an MSNBC article discussing the challenges facing any attempt to recall Governor Chris Christie. Here's an old post of mine dealing with this specific question -- and why New Jersey is one of the toughest states to get that recall on the ballot.

Michigan: Four to face recalls in New Haven

The upcoming (May 6) New Haven recalls will include Village President Jammie Kincaid and Trustee Daniel Stier, Jaremy Davis and Jennifer Podgurski. The issue was originally about approval of a landfill.

Colorado: Accusations of signature forgery in Morse recall

Really bad idea -- accusations of forging 13 signatures. As we've seen, prosecutors take this seriously.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Oregon: Rainer City Council recall investigation closed with no action


Iowa: Official recalled in California in 2005 wins House seat

Post-Script to an earlier story. Stan Gustafson won a special election for an Iowa House seat. Part of the campaign saw the release of the news that Gustafson lost a recall in California in 2005, when he served on the Los Osos Community Services District board.

Two US Airline Pilots Association Officers survive recalls

Even unions have recalls -- the US Airline Pilots Association President Gary Hummel and VP Stephen Bradford survived recall votes. The two were elected in 2012 (they represent US Airways pilots). The executive committee authorized a recall election with a 9-2 vote, but the two both won.  

Wisconsin: $400,000 in ads were used to attack recall in 2012 race


Utah: New proposal for recall law following Attorney General scandal

Another attempt is being made to adopt a recall for governor, state auditor, state treasurer, and attorney general’s office. Legislators would be exempt (as they are in Rhode Island). The plan does not include the specifications on how the recall will operate.

Arizona: Benson Councilman facing petitions

City Councilman Jeff Cook is already the target of a recall effort, with petitioners looking to get 166 signatures. Cook was originally elected in May 2013.

Benson was already the home of a recall effort against City Council Ron Brooks last year, which was dropped for some odd reasons. Cook cites his opposition to Brooks as one of the sources of the recall effort.

Massachusetts: Provincetown Selectman facing petitions over election law violations

Provincetown selectmen chair Austin Knight is facing petitions over a election law violation last April. The former police chief encouraged on-duty police officers to vote for Knight and distribute his campaign signs from a police station.

Petitioners need 10% of registered voter within 20 days (not clear how many signatures are needed, but they are targeting 300). The fact that so many voters are out of town appears to be a hurdle. Provincetown last had a recall in 1995.

Monday, January 6, 2014

California: Salinas City Councilman recall fails

The recall attempt against Salinas City Councilman Jose Castañeda failed -- petitioners handed in 1740 signatures. They needed 1449, but only 1326 were found valid.

Arizona: Sunnyside recall attempts make the ballot

The recall attempts against Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board President Louie Gonzales and board member Bobby Garcia is going to the ballot. Petitioners handed in 2100 signatures, and got 1455 and 1417. They needed 1345 for each. The issue was the board members' support for the local superintendent, who is facing charges of questions credit card uses, unpaid taxes, a license suspension and bankruptcy filing.

California: Dinuba mayor recall petitions handed in

Petitions were handed in against Mayor Janet Hinesly. Petitioners handed in 328 signatures, they need 289.  Petitions are still out against Council member Aldo Gonzalez and Mike Smith.Advertisement

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Massachusetts: Non-renewal of Town Administrator leads to Lancaster recalls

Selectmen Jean Syria and Susan Smiley are facing a recall for their 2-1 vote to not renew the contract of the Town Administrator. Petitioners are pushing two separate petitions, one of which would call for a Special Town Meeting (needs 200 signatures) and the second, calling for a recall, will need 100 signatures.

Colorado: Additional details on the Peak to Peak School Board recall

The former principal (whose firing led to the recall) claims that she was removed because she told staff to stop stamping the hands of students who ran out of money in their lunch account.

Iowa: State House candidate acknowledges losing recall

Interesting story here -- A Republican candidate for an Iowa state House seat, Stan Gustafson, has acknowledged that he was recalled and removed from a previous position in California. Gustafson was the president of the Los Osos Community Service District, when he approved a new sewer plant. He was kicked out in 2005 with 51% against.

Michigan: Petition language approved against Jerome Township officials

Petitions were approved against three Jerome Township officials, Supervisor Stuart Bloomfield, Treasurer Laura Grubaugh and Trustee Ron Lowry, over a 1 percent property tax. The debate (it was a 2-1 vote). The issue was a question of clarity over tax and fees.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Colorado: No charges against stunt voting in recall election


New Mexico: Split vote in Tucumcari recalls

Unofficial results are in for the first recalls of the new year -- Tucumcari City Commissioner Jimmy Sandoval  was ousted 60-50, and Commissioner Dora Salinas-McTigue survived the vote 42-49. Turnout was said to be low.

The recall was over the commissions decision to fire the City Manager, who was then reinstated two weeks later.

Petitioners also sought the recall of Commissioner Ernest Dominguez, but due to timing, that recall would have to be scheduled for March.

Update: Sandoval was replacement (appointed by the council) was Amy Gutierrez, who Sandoval beat by one vote in his election.

New Mexico: Clovis commissioner facing petitions from previous opponent

Another member of the Clovis government is facing recall threat -- this time against Commissioner Randy Crowder. The lead proponent of the recall is Jan Elliot, who lost to Crowder in his 2012 race 1060-518. The recall claim is based around about her request for information about an ad hoc committee examining the city's economic development procedures. Petitioners needs 322 signatures (20% of turnout) in 60 days.

There is already a recall being undertaken against Commissioner Bobby Sandoval. Clovis was also the city where Mayor David Lansford faced recall threats after calling President Obama "the carnal manifestation of evil," and credited his election to a CIA conspiracy.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Oregon: Recalled Rainer Councilwoman files complaint against Senior Center Board

Judith Taylor, the Rainier Councilwoman who was kicked out in a recall on December 17, filed a complaint with the IRS accusing the Rainier Senior Center board of violating political campaign laws.

Taylor claims that members were encouraged to sign the petition during membership meetings and lunch services.