Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nevada: Ely City Council recall fails under bizarre circumstances

A crazy result in Ely. Recall petitions against five city council members, Sam Hansen, Marty Westland, Randy Lee, Dale Derbidge and Bruce Setterstrom and Mayor Melody Van Camp were ruled to have failed. Petitioners need 25% of turnout (for three of them it was 215, the other three 198). Again, in Nevada, anyone who signed the petition must have voted in the election where the seat facing a recall was last contested.

The issue that prompted the recall was itself incredible -- the council got into the Nevada Northern Railway's office for an audit (the council claims the railway owes the city money) -- a County Commissioner climbed in through a second story window. The also fired railroad board members.

Petitioners handed in signatures in December. The article doesn't list how many were gathered against each council member, but the most was against Setterstrom, who had 289 handed in. Only 182 were found valid against him (meaning there was a 37% rejection rate). The rejection rate against the other two who they checked, Hansen and Lee, found a lower rejection rate (they came out with 194 and 201 valid signatures).

But it is the other three recalls that were so odd. The Secretary of State found that the county clerk no longer had the voting records from the 2011 elections. Because Nevada requires the signers to have voted in the last election for that office, there would be no possible way to verify the signatures against Van Camp, Westland and Derbidge. So, due to administrative failure, there is simply no way to get a recall going against those officials -- or anyone that has a similar failure.

Presumably, this decision can be appealed. But, once again, the responsibility, and more importantly, the cost, will be foisted upon the petitioners.

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