Sunday, January 17, 2016

Virginia: Petitions going against Montgomery County Clerk; She claims that petition-signers could be committing perjury

Montgomery County circuit court clerk Erica Williams is facing petitions after she declined to appoint four of nine deputy clerks, with a fifth refusing an appointment. Williams was just reelected to an eight-year term in November. Readers may remember that Virginia has a very unusual recall provision. Rather than an election, they have a "recall trial" where if enough signatures are handed in, a judge then decides whether the official violated a law and, if guilty, kicks the official out of office.

Perhaps just as interesting as the petition is Williams defense -- she is claiming that petition-signers could be committing perjury if they sign the petition that has "false statements." This is the second time in two weeks (the first was in Floresville, Texas) that an official facing a recall threat claims that signers could be prosecuted. I have a very hard time believing that anyone could be prosecuted for signing a valid petition.

Petitioners claim that they have collected 300-400 signatures. Petitioner would need 1848 signatures (10% of turnout).  The lead petitioner is the spokesman for the Montgomery County Republican Committee, and Williams is a Democrat, so there's also that.

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