Sunday, November 3, 2019

Arizona: Judge rejects Payson Mayor recall's signature gathering amount, resulting in Mayoral recall being thrown off ballot

The recall attempt against Payson Mayor Tom Morrissey is now off the ballot, as the judge ruled that petitioners actually needed significantly more signatures. Petitioners handed in 974 signatures, 821 valids, and thought they needed 770. The Judge ruled that they need 1225.

The controversy is that Morrissey ran unopposed last time. The recall law requires 25% of turnout at the last election for that office. Morrissey claims that they should use the primary race. Petitioners used Morrisey's last contested election in 2020. The Judge felt Morrissey's point won out. No word yet on whether this case is going to be appealed.

There are also recall attempts against Councilmembers Suzy Tubbs-Avakian, Janell Sterner and Jim Ferris over their votes to  fire a town manager and spend and transparency issues.

Opponents of the recall are claiming that the non-recall facing councilmembers "voted against God, out taxpayers at risk in supporting a $43 million prep school project and are trying to bring Chinese and Canadian immigrant students to town to claim taxpayer-funded benefits." Morrisey has said he has nothing to do with the flyer.

In addition, Councilman Steve Smith is now facing petitions over claims that he causes discord at meetings.

Smith was appointed to the seat in a controversial move -- the appointment in between the election for the rest of the council and their inauguration, so there was debate over who should have made the appointment. Smith has since opposed Morrissey and other council members, including filing open meeting violations claims.

Petitioners need 1638 signatures to get the other three recalls on the ballot. Petitioners claim they have over 900 signatures for Ferris, Sterner and Tubbs-Avakia.

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