Sunday, February 28, 2021

California: Los Angeles County District Attorney facing recall effort

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is facing a recall effort from victims' rights groups and others over his criminal justice reform plans, including freeing bail; ending cash bail and other efforts.

The San Francisco District Attorney is also facing a recall effort. Petitioners need about 580,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. 

California: Monterey County Sheriff facing recall effort

Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal is facing a recall effort over claims that he has been ineffective and has used the department for personal gain. 

The recall effort appears to include the former Sheriff, who was accused by Bernal of mismanaging and misappropriating union money (which was rejected by the state DOJ). and a campaign consultant, Christian Schneider, who helped run Bernal's 2014 election, than ran the race to replace Bernal in 2018 (which failed). There's a lot more in the article. 

Petitioners would need about 18000 signatures to get on the ballot.

Colorado: Lake County Coroner facing petitions after arrest

Lake County Coroner Shannon Kent is facing a recall effort after his (and his wife's) arrest after leaving a body in funeral facility. The charge is tampering with a deceased human body. Kent is also facing charges for violating bail bond conditions from a 2019 arrest for perjury and misconduct for enlisting his wife as deputy coroner. The state suspended their funeral homes in October 2020 over the cremation of a stillborn baby. Petitioners need 690 signatures in 60 days. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Canada: Alberta house leader pledges to adopt recall law


Washington: Auditor turns down request for more time in Snohmish County Sheriff recall

Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell rejected a petition to give recall proponents against Snohmish County Sheriff Adam Fortney 90 more days to gather signatures. Fell noted that he doesn't have the power and it is up to the Governor or courts. The Fortney recall was approved by the Washington State Supreme Court.

The recall was over his Facebook comments against the Governor's coronavirus pandemic restrictions, as well as hiring officers previously fired for misconduct. (there's also a recall effort over his handling of the jails during the pandemic). Fortney claimed that he "will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights." Petitioners had 180 days to gather 44,494 signatures.

The 6-3 Supreme Court vote accepted three of four charges, tossing out one that he failed to investigate the use of force by an officer. The three members who dissented upheld the recall effort over hiring officers for misconduct. They dissented over whether Fortney could face a recall over inciting people to ignore pandemic restrictions in his Facebook comments. 

Idaho: Plummer Mayor facing March 9 recall vote

 Plummer Mayor Bill Weems is facing a recall vote on March 9. The article is locked off, so we'll have to wait to find out what happened, but this state investigation may have something to do with it.

California: Ventura Supervisor facing petitions, three others threatened over pandemic shutdowns

Petitions have been taken out against Ventura Supervisor Linda Parks over her vote to sue 10 businesses with repeated violations of pandemic restrictions. Three other Supervisors, Matt LaVere, Kelly Long and Carmen Ramirez, who all voted in favor of the suit are also being threatened with recalls. All three were recently elected, so they are still in the 90 day grace period. 

Petitioners need 11,067 signatures. Parks is in her fifth term, and is term limited after 2022. A sepcial election is estimated to cost about $500,000. 

California: Newsom recall proponents using direct mail route

Interesting development here, as the recall petitioners in the California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) recall are said to be soliciting signatures using direct mail. I'm not actually sure what that means. One critical part of the recall law is that the signatures must be witnessed by a circulator. Since this is part of an actual plan, I'm assuming that the recall petitioners and their lawyers have worked a way to do this without having the signatures tossed out in court. 

This has been an issue in recalls elsewhere. The recall effort against the Governor of Alaska has also tried the mail-in route, to seemingly limited success. There was recent talk about a recall in New Jersey that would be signed online, though that seems based on an incorrect reading of the law. 

As a comparison, the UK's new recall law requires petitioners to sign at one of 10 signing stations. 

For Initiatives and Referendums, the National Conference of State Legislatures website claims that Oregon has found a way around witnessing for I&R, (but recalls require a direct witness, according to the Secretary of State's website). The NCSL also notes that "Florida law specifically permits the signing of petitions outside the presence of a circulator." Florida does not have a statewide recall law.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Ohio: Split result in Woodmere Village Council members recall; 3 ousted, 1 survives vote (Update: Clean Sweep -- late returns show all four have lost seats)

Update: Final signatures have been counted and Craig Wade has lost, 91-88.

Woodmere Village Council seemingly saw a split decision, with Council President Jennifer Mitchell Earley (93-80) and members Lisa Brockwell (90-83) and Glenda Todd Miller (89-85) were kicked out, and council member Craig Wade (85-87) survived the recall vote. However, there are still 13 ballots that could be received by the board by March 5.

Replacements will be named by the remaining council. If they can't make a decision, the mayor chooses. 

The recall was over seemingly over the lack of a sidewalk on a road and an out of date website. Perhaps most interesting is a fight over chickens -- one person bought chicks for his children and they kept escaping. The council allegedly took too long in give a special use permit to construct a structure to hold the chicks, so they gave them away. The recall seems to also be about new residents versus old ones in a 900 person village, as well as a battle between the Council President and Mayor.  

California: Is 2 million signatures enough for the Gavin Newsom recall? A look at signature verification and failures rates

As the Gavin Newsom recall effort heats up, the key number to keep in mind is 1,495,709  -- the total amount of verified signatures of registered voters that the petitioners must hand in to get the recall on the ballot.


But as we’ve seen so often with recalls (and petitions in general), signatures will be tossed out. The reasons are usually mundane, which is what happens when you’re collecting signatures on the street and frequently paying people to collect. The problems range from the signers not being registered to signing more than once to living out of district or state or (in rarer instances) using fake names. While most recall attempts fail because petitioners do not hand in any signatures, over the last nine years (2012-2020) I count at least 129 recall attempts throughout the country in which petitioners handed in enough unverified signatures, but the rejection rate resulted in the recall failing to get on the ballot. 32 of these rejections happened in California. So while not an everyday occurrence, signature failures are certainly something to consider.


Because of this potential for signature failure, the petitioners have made it clear that they are shooting for a significant cushion for the recall effort. They are looking to collect 2 million signatures, which would put them 25 percent over the minimum.  Which leads to the natural question – is that enough? Currently, petitioners seem to be getting verification at an 80-83 percent clip, which would work. They would need a little over 1.8 million at that rejection rate. But a look at other recalls and ballot measures may get them a little nervous.


In the past, I've seen articles suggesting that a general rule of thumb is a 10-15 percent failure rate, though I'm not sure where that is from (and the article links are now dead). We actually see a 10 percent number referenced in the law – you just have to scroll down in the Code. State level recalls require all the signatures to be verified. But local recalls use a very different law.


If there are more than 500 signatures submitted for the recall, the clerks can use a random sampling verification technique (take sampling/determine the number of valid/extrapolate to the rest). Using this procedure, if valid signatures top 110 percent of the minimum number, the recall qualifies and moves to the ballot. (If it is between 90-110 percent, they verify each one. If it is below 90 percent, it fails). 


But the 10 percent total is clearly too low. So let's look at what we've seen in California and elsewhere:


Looking at our closest comparison in California, the 2003 Gray Davis gubernatorial recall, the failure rate was just under 18%. That's pretty much where the Newsom effort is now. 


Since then, there have been two state level recalls, both against state Senators. In both cases, we saw a significantly worse result for petitioners, even though the recalls got to the ballot. In 2018, the failure rate for the State Senator Josh Newman recall topped 25 percent (73.66 percent were validated).


The 2008 recall effort against State Senator Jeff Denham, saw a 41.5 failure rate (58.58 percent were validated). This verification was under the random sampling technique (the law was changed in 2018 to remove state level recalls, at least partially to slow the Newman recall effort).


There is another recent recall effort that is also worth considering.  In 2018, Santa Clara JudgeAaron Persky faced a recall, the first against a judge in California since 1932 (and the first in the US since 1982). The judicial district was much larger than a regular state senate one. Petitioners needed 58,634 signatures to get on the ballot. Using the random sampling rules, the registrar found that 3389 of 4727 signatures were valid. Since the petitioners handed in 94,539, this was more than enough to get on the ballot. But the failure rate was over 28 percent (the verification rate was 71.6 percent).


Do initiatives tell us anything on this front? Prop 22 was the most high profile initiative in the 2020 race, as petitioners spent more than $6.4 million to get on the ballot. Petitioners needed 623,212 and handed in 987,813 signatures. Once again using the random sampling method, 22.5 percent were found invalid (77.5 percent were verified). A similar result can be seen in a Proposition that required a higher signature total. Prop. 15, which spent nearly $6 million to get on the ballot, was a Constitutional Amendment, which therefore required 997,139, putting us closer to the amount needed for Newsom. Petitioners handed in 1.75 million. Once again, the random sampling method found 25.4 percent invalid (74.60 percent were verified).


In other states, we see a potentially different picture. The last state to hold a gubernatorial recall, Wisconsin had a very different recall law. As Richard Winger of Ballot Access News pointed out, Wisconsin allows the signatures of any eligible voter in the state, not just any registered voter (as in other states). This makes signature rejection much less likely.


The petitioners in the Scott Walker recall garnered an enormous cushion. They handed in 931,053 signatures and they only needed 540,000. At the end of the day,  900,938 were found valid (4,001 duplicates, 26,114 struck out by staff). This is a 3.2% failure rate. For Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (who appeared on a separate petition), the failure rate was 4%.


The Wisconsin verification also appeared to be different and I am unsure if the fact that Governor Scott Walker effectively conceded the success of the signature gathering portion eliminated the challenges.

In the Senate races in Wisconsin in 2018 we saw some similar numbers. For
 the Senator Galloway petitions, there were 21,022 signatures handed in, and the GAB struck out 1,658. Galloway further challenged 863. The board did not bother looking at the challenged signatures. So the failure rate on the GAB was 7.8%. If we add in the Galloway protests, it is close to 12%. The Senator Wanggaard petitions are a little more complex, as he challenged many more signatures -- if all of his signature challenges had been approved, it would be about a 20% failure rate. From the board's review it was less than 3%. For Senator Moulton, the board threw out 5.7% of the signatures. His challenges would have pushed it up to about 11%. For Senator Fitzgerald, the board tossed out 4.1%. With his challenges, it would be just under 12%.

In the 2011 Wisconsin nine Senate recall races, saw a higher rejection rate, but again it was not clear what was happening. Two petitions posted an alleged 25-27.5% failure rate, there are two (both Democrats) with a 17-18% failure rate, there are three with a 6-8%, and two with effectively zero.


What about the other state legislative recalls of the last decade? We have four to choose from.


In Colorado in 2013, two State Senators lost recall elections. Senate President John Morse (D) saw a 37.5 percent invalidation rate. Colorado historically seemed to have a high invalidation rate, so this wasn’t a surprise. But the second recall was. State Senator Angela Giron (D) saw a 6 percent invalidation rate with only 818 signatures tossed out of 13,466. Petitioners used a new program that allowed them to check the signatures, which explained their accuracy.


In 2011, there were two other recall efforts, with very different verification rates. Arizona Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce recall saw a 42% failure rate. (Arizona also has a historically high failure rate on the local level). On the other hand, the 2011 Michigan State Rep Paul Scott recall had a 9.4% failure rate.


A last example to consider: The 2011 Miami-Dade Mayoral recall, which collected over 100,000 signatures, saw a 16% failure rate.

One other factor to consider is claims of deliberate signature fraud. There are a few examples of signing fraud. Japan just saw a crazy version of this, with the lead petitioner hiring people to simply copy the names out of the registration book. In general, widespread signature fraud appears to be both fairly rare and not that difficult to uncover.


That’s not to say that they won’t be made. The claim of deliberate fraud can certainly ignite a party’s base and help muddy the waters against a recall effort.  Much as in the last election, the Republicans banged this drum repeatedly in the Scott Walker recall campaign, where they claimed that a huge proportion of the signatures would be fake – the so-called Mickey Mouse signature.  However, elections officials claimed to have found only 5 fake names in the Walker petitions: Adolf Hitler, Mick E. Mous, Donald L. Duck, Fungky Van Den Elzen, and I Love Scott Walker Thanks. 


The Davis campaign seems to have had a similar argument, though once again it was the Republican side that made the claim. One of the companies that said they led the petition gathering efforts claimed that Davis forces ran a "blocking" campaign by hiring all the good signature gathering companies. They also intimate that Democrats were planning on submitting deliberately false signatures, though that seems unlikely (and crazy -- more likely than not, if the verification process missed a fake signature, it would have been included in the count).


One last issue that may impact the signature race is the signature removal provision. California now gives Newsom 30 business days to fight fire with fire and collect signatures from signers of the petition asking to have their names removed. This law was adopted during the Newman recall and did not work for him, but it did help out a Newport Beach Councilman. Nevada also saw uses of a similar provision. It may be a long shot, but if the numbers are close, a signature removal effort could make all the difference.


What does this mean for the Newsom recall? It is not clear. The petitioners clearly are feeling quite confident. This could be due to a belief that exhibiting confidence will get more people to sign. Or it could be that they feel they have a better vetting method, so they are removing more of the obvious failed signatures before handing them in. They may also feel that they have better training of signature gatherers, which would likely improve the signature verification rate. 

On the opposite side of the coin, it could be that the strong performance so far was the relatively low hanging fruit of the recall effort, and the last group needed to get over the hump will see a higher failure rate. One of the advantages that the Davis petitioners had was that turnout in the 2002 election was so low, getting on the ballot required an historically small percentage of signatures. That is not the case here, and the last group of signers may be harder to get. 

The track record does suggest that a 25 percent cushion can be enough, but it may make for a closer result than petitioners would like.

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- 80+% signature verification rate so far

Petitioners have had 668,000 signatures verified so far, this article claims that the verification rate is usually 40 to 60 percent, which (as we shall see tomorrow) is incredibly wrong -- I do not think I've ever seen a recall get on the ballot with a 60 percent failure rate. This piece suggests an 83.7% rate, similar to the Gray Davis recall.

Some discussion here on delaying the recall to the next election date.

Here's an NPR interview.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Alaska: Petitioners claim they have 79 percent of signatures needed for recall of Governor

Petitioners in the recall effort against Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) claim they have 56,476 signatures (79 percent) of the 71,252 valids needed to get on the ballot. 

The Supreme Court has already upheld the recall and said that it meets the state's malfeasance standard. There is no time limit for the collection of the signatures. 

If Dunleavy were recalled, there would not be a replacement race. Instead, the Lieutenant Governor (a Republican) would automatically be moved up to Governor.

New Jersey: Toms River Mayor and Councilmembers facing recall robocalls

Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill (R) and Councilmembers Matt Lotano, Kevin Geoghean, Josh Kopp and Maria Maruca are the subject of a robocall asking if the voter would support a recall over three separate issues. Hill has been facing complaints over a proposed rule to reduce the 10-acre minimum zoning requirement for houses of worship. There is also complaints over new apartments and a property tax increase.

The article claims that New Jersey is allowing digital signatures for recalls during the pandemic, though I don't believe this is a correct reading of the Executive Order. According to the article, petitioners need 15,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Maine: Saco City Councilor facing recall petitions

Saco City Councilor Alan Minthorn is facing recall effort over claims that he didn't take a strong enough stand against an apartment complex and zoning issues. Both Minthorn and the petitioners oppose the complex, but there are complaints about other procedural issues during the stages leading up to the project. Petitioners would need 347 signatures (15 percent of registered voters). Petitioners must sign in City Hall itself (similar to the UK version of the recall) and have only 20 days for collecting.

Friday, February 19, 2021

California: Governor Gavin Newsom recall roundup

Trump is discussing getting involved in the Newsom recall effort

Republicans are fighting over how to settle on a candidate 

John Cox has thrown another million into his race

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer releases an internal poll suggesting that Newsom down 47-43%. The poll says that Newsom is only up with Democrats 64-26%, which would be a big problem, though seems extremely optimistic. 

The three-ring circus of a replacement race is noted, as anyone with a dollar and a dream can run -- (okay, $3,5000 + 65 signatures, or 10,000 signatures).

Story on small business owners in favor of the recall effort, with an ending suggesting some of the challenges they will face with the kitchen sink approach

Here's an interview with me on Take Two

Montana: Two Paradise Sewer Board Directors facing petitions

Paradise Sewer Board Directors Sunny Chase and Rick McCollum are facing a recall effort claims that they have held private meetings and haven't kept proper records. The issue seems to be around a large infrastructure project.

Montana is a Malfeasance Standard state, so petitioners have to meet the for cause statutory requirement to get on the ballot.

Nebraska: Signatures verified against St. Paul Mayor; Recall Election still to be scheduled

Petitioners have handed in 305 verified signatures for the recall of St. Paul Mayor Joel Bergman. Petitioners needed 257 signatures.  The issue was Bergman's decision to not retain the police chief. Bergman was first elected in 2018. The recall date must be scheduled in 21 days.

Florida: Airport election proposal leads to calls for recall of State Representative

A proposal to change the way the Punta Gorda Airport Authority Commissioners are elected (moving from a district based election to an at large one) has led to a threat of a recall against State Representative Michael Grant (R). Grant proposed the changes and his daughter, Commissioner Vanessa Oliver, was the sole "no" vote in a resolution opposing the rule. The issue seems to be about privatization of the airport, which Grant supports.

Florida does not have a state level recall law, so it is not clear how they hope to get a recall against Grant on the ballot. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

California: Newsom round-up -- Mail-in ballots approved; false meme spreading about signature checking

California has approved mail-in ballots for the recall

A meme is spreading online complaining how California needs to check signatures for recalls, while falsely claiming that mail-in ballot signatures were not checked. 

Recall will be a "three-ring circus"

Arizona: State Senator facing recall threats over election subpoenas

Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer (R) is facing recall threats from Republicans over a vote against the enforcement of a subpoena of the Maricopa County Elections Department. The Maricopa Supervisors have also been threatened with recalls. Boyer is also facing complaints over a vote against removing names from the permanent elections list. 

California: San Francisco School Board facing recall threats over school renaming; reopen questions

San Francisco School Board is facing recall threats over several issues, including a push to plan for the reopening of the schools, changing admissions for a high school and an extremely controversial decision to change the names of public schools for political reasons and using some odd history, including removing the name of Abraham Lincoln. Mayor London Breed has been particularly critical of the board, and the City Attorney Dennis Herrera has sued to compel reopening. 

The members are President Gabriela Lopez, Vice President Alison Collins and members Jenny Lam, Mark Sanchez and Kevine Boggess, Faauuga Moliga and Matt Alexander, some of whom will not be able to face a recall until June. San Francisco follows state law, which would require 10% of registered voters in the city. so that should be about 51,413 valid signatures for each board member.

Japan: Criminal complaint filed over alleged fraudulent signatures in failed Aichi Governor recall attempt

A criminal complaint has been filed over the use of fraudulent signatures in the recall of Aichi Governor Hidekai Omura. Hundreds of thousands of signatures thrown out because they look to be forgeries (83% of 435,000) and 48% were not listed on voter roles. Petitioners needed 860,000 signatures. According to reports, an advertising company contractor hired people to copy names and addresses onto the petitions.

The recall effort is led by a Holocaust-denier and denier of the Nanking Massacre, Katsuya Takasu, a cosmetic surgeon (who for some reason is on an arts festival committee). The event was an arts festival which included, among other art, a statue of a girl representing Korean comfort women, who were forced into sexual slavery in WWII. Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, who was the organizing committee's acting chairman, also promoted the recall drive. 

Colorado: Montezuma-Cortez School Board Member ousted in recall vote

Montezuma-Cortez School Board member Lance McDaniel was ousted in a February 16 recall vote, 27776-1387 (66.6% for removal). Turnout was reported as low. The recall was over Facebook posts where McDaniel espoused progressive causes and claimed to be antifa and was seemingly upset about a park naming. 

Cody Wells was the only candidate in the replacement race

Pennsylvania: GOP Chair provides perfect quote on the philosophical debate over the recall

Not a recall subject, but it gets to the heart of the philosophical debate over the recall and changing views of the trustee vs. representative (or advocate) model:  

Quote of the Day

“We did not send him there to vote his conscience, we did not send him there to do the right thing, whatever he said he was doing. We sent him there to represent us, and we feel very strongly that he did not represent us.”

— Dave Ball, Washington County Pennsylvania GOP chair, on voting to censure Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) for his impeachment vote to convict Donald Trump.

Monday, February 15, 2021

California: Newsom Recall round-up -- Petitioners claim they have enough signatures

Petitioners are claiming they have over 1.5 million signatures against Gavin Newsom, though they are hoping to get to 1.8-2 million signatures. 

California Congressman suggests that recall law needs to be rethought (in a KGO-TV article I'm quoted in on how California's political recall works).

Former California GOP Chair says that petitioners need to look for someone who can win in a Democratic areas.

Caitlyn Jenner, Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist in 1976,  shoots down rumors of race.

Former Trump DNI Richard Grenell is noncommittal on a run.  

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Illinois: St. Charles School Board members facing recall effort, though there seems to be no recall law

St. Charles Unit District 303 School Board President Nick Manheim, VP Carolyn Waibel and members Jillian Barker, Becky McCabe and Ed McNally and re facing a recall effort, though the district does not actually have a recall law. Petitioners are following the regulations on the gubernatorial recall (though that shouldn't matter). They seem to be hoping for a resignation. One member, Heidi Fairgrieve, is not named. Three of the members are up for election.

The issue is the school board's use of hybrid learning to protect students during the coronavirus pandemic. 

California: Santee Supervisor and Mayor get into tussle over description of Newsom recall proponents

Santee Mayor John Minto is calling for Supervisor Nathan Fletcher to resign after Fletcher called some of the proponents of the Governor Gavin Newsom recall effort extremists and conspiracy theorists, among other terms. Fletcher has rejected Minto's complaints. 

California: Shasta County Supervisors facing recall effort

Shasta County Supervisors Leonard Moty, Mary Rickert and Joe Chimenti and Les Baugh are facing recall threats over their support for restrictions to fight the Covid pandemic (though Baugh appears to be opposed to the restrictions). Here's a vastly more detailed look at the fight, which notes that petitioners would need about 4000 valid signatures. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

California: Republican National Committee gives $250,000 donation to Newsom recall effort

The Republican National Committee has given $250,000 to the recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom (D). I would argue that this is a multi-million dollar kind-distribution to Newsom, as the more this recall is seen as a partisan battle, the better off he is. But, obviously the RNC disagrees. 

California: Biden announces opposition to Gavin Newsom recall

After some earlier confusion, President Joe Biden has clearly come out in opposition to the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom. This is very obviously not a surprise. 

California: Petitions taken out against San Diego Council President over city vacation rental policy

The recall effort against San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell has started over what seems to be a vote on costal height policies and mainly short-term rentals in the city. Campbell has argued that there is simply no possibility of banning short term rentals, which some residents in her district want. Former City Councilwoman Barbara Bry wrote the op-ed and supports the recall effort. Petitioners need 13,553 signatures to get on the ballot. 

Nebraska: Mayor provided campaign finance spending opposing Lincoln Mayor and City Councilmembers

Reports are now out that the mayor's holdover campaign account helped push the fight against the recall effort against Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird (D) and Councilmembers James Michael Bowers (D), Richard Meginnis (R), Jane Raybould (D) and Tammy Ward (D). The effort failed, with petitioners not handing in signatures. A City Council candidate in 2021, Benjamin Madsen, filed the petitions. The source of spending (which in total was about 19.500) seems unsurprising. 

The recall was over the appointment of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director and mask requirements to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  Petitioners needed 21,652 signatures in 30 days to get the Baird recall on the ballot, and 4864 for Bowers, 8009 for Meginnis, 5362 for Raybould and 2495 for Ward. Three Council members were ineligible to be recalled, because they are in the grace period before the 2021 election. 

Comedian Larry the Cable Guy backed the recall, which seems to have garnered some press. Lincoln last had a recall in 2000, when a member of the Rokseby school board was kicked out. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Michigan: Flint Mayor recall rejected by Election Commission for the fourth time

The Genesee County Election Commission has now rejected four recall attempts against Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley on clarity grounds. The same petitioner seems to be filing all the efforts. One was over excess general liability insurance coverage; another was a complaint that he failed to make a state of the city address within a year in office, though this seems to be based on a timing question, as Neeley is gave his speech on December 8 (petitioner claims it is a year from being sworn in, while Neeley argues it was during the calendar year). A third was Neeley being copied on an email from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

Tennessee: Nashville attorney proposing charter amendment to ease city recall laws

An anti-tax attorney is proposing easing recall laws against Nashville city officials, with a charter amendment that will lower the amount of signatures needed to get on the ballot from 15% of turnout to 10%, expand the signature timeframe to 75 days from 30 and ban officials from running to replace themselves in a recall. 

Arkansas: State legislature considering recall constitutional amendment (among group of 43 proposed amendments)

Arkansas's state legislature has is looking at a constitutional amendment which would create a state-level recall law. The amendment HJR1006 is one of 43 proposed constitutional amendments in front of the legislature. The legislature is limited to referring three of these to the voters.

Idaho: Nampa School Board member facing recall vote on March 9th

Nampa School Board member Mike Kipp is up for a recall vote in the March 9th general election. The issue appears to be complaints over Kipp's support for hybrid learning in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic. This complaint seems to be hidden behind a general argument of a lack of representation. 

As noted earlier, Idaho Falls and Pocatello-Chubbuck School Board Members are facing a March 9th recall.

New York: State Senator proposes recall law, with support of GOP Chairman and ex-Governor Pataki

New York State Senator Joseph Griffo (R) has proposed a recall law (which he has been doing since 2009), one that the New York State Republican Party Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy has also been pushing. New York currently does not have recall provisions for any state or local office. 

The impetus for the GOP's support is supposedly the coronavirus pandemic-related use of emergency powers by Governor Andrew Cuomo, though every so often we hear of an attempt to adopt a recall in New York. Former Governor George Pataki is now backing the recall. 

There has been a recent push for a bill allowing for special district recalls. This sounds a little more likely to move forward.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Ohio: A look at the Woodmere Village Council members recall

Here's a further look at the upcoming recall against four Woodmere Village Council members, Council President Jennifer Mitchell Earley and members Lisa Brockwell, Glenda Todd Miller and Craig Wade, rescheduled for February 23. Replacements would be named by the remaining council (2 out of the remaining 3 would choose). If they can't make a decision, the mayor chooses. 

The recall was seemingly over the lack of a sidewalk on a road and an out of date website. Perhaps most interesting is a fight over chickens -- one person bought chicks for his children and they kept escaping. The council allegedly took too long in give a special use permit to construct a structure to hild the chicks, so they gave them away. The recall seems to also be about new residents versus old ones in a 900 person village, as well as a battle between the Council President and Mayor.  

Maine: Three Androscoggin County Commissioners facing recall efforts over anti-mask resolution

Androscoggin County Commissioners Isiah Lary, Brian Ames and John Michael are all facing recall efforts over a resolution stating that the state's mask mandate to fight the coronavirus pandemic is unconstitutional. 

Petitioners need 10% of turnout in 90 days to get on the ballot, which is 710 against Ames (no numbers are provided for the other two).

Alaska: Wrangell Mayor facing petitions for mask mandate fine

Wrangell Mayor Steve Prysunka is facing a recall petition over a claim that he gave insufficient notice of an emergency meeting that imposed a $25 fine for violating a mask mandate to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting was called five hours after Governor Mike Dunleavy sent an emergency cell phone alert about rising infections.

Alaska is a Malfeasance Standard state, so petitioners would have to meet a statutorily delineated violation to get on the ballot, though after the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of the Dunleavy recall attempt, the courts may allow this recall. Petitioners would need 104 signatures.

Prysunka faced an earlier recall attempt in January, but he had not yet gotten out of the 120 day grace period. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Massachusetts: Natick Town Meeting Member arrested for role in Capitol riot not eligible for recall

Natick Town Meeting Member Suzanne E. Ianni, who was arrested for her role in the January 6th Capitol riot is not eligible for a recall. Ianni, a leader of an anti-LGBT group, was photographed inside the Capitol building and charged with unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. There has been petitions against her, but a Board of Selectmen has said that he position is not eligible for the town charter's recall provision.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Idaho: Three Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board Trustees recall set for March 9

The recall attempt against Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board Trustees Jackie Cranor, Janie Gebhardt and Dave Mattson has gotten to the ballot and been scheduled for March 9. Petitioners need 164 against Cranor (they got 227), 206 against Mattson (they got 270) and 351 against Gebhardt (they got 376).

The recall is over the board's decision to continue a hybrid learning model in order to ward off the coronavirus pandemic. The parents wanted full-in school model. There is also complaints about a boundary issue and a decision to retire a Native American mascot. 

Japan: Fraudulent Signatures thrown out in Aichi Governor recall attempt

The recall of Aichi Governor Hidekai Omura had hundreds of thousands of signatures thrown out because they look to be forgeries (83% of 435,000) and 48% were not listed on voter roles. The recall effort is led by a Holocaust-denier and denier of the Nanking Massacre (who for some reason is on an arts festival committee). The event was an arts festival which included, among other art, a statue of a girl representing Korean comfort women, who were forced into sexual slavery in WWII.

Massachusetts: Lee Board of Selectmen recall is dropped

A proposed recall attempt against Lee Board of Selectmen members Patricia Carlino and perhaps others including chair David Consolati seems to have been abandoned practically before it started. The fight was over a toxic dump. The recall seems to be just a Facebook post, though there is still a push against the dump plans. 

California: Candidates enter the recall race; Recall raises money as Newsom gets backer

 Since there's some much news on the Newsom recall, I'm going for the roundup move.

1) Former Trump backers, including venture capitalist and real estate developers and others have raised $3.5 million for the Recall Newsom effort, which should help it get to the ballot, though a drop in the bucket for the race itself. 

2) Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has given some cash to Newsom, though it seems it is for his 2022 race. We'll have quite a bit more on the financial issues. 

3) Let the Great mentioning begin! We've heard about San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and John Simon, but here's far right social media guy Mike Cernovich, former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, former Congressman Doug Ose (R) all tossing their names into the ring.

4) Taking his hat out of the ring is billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, who put in a good chunk of money for the recall effort, but now claims he will not run. 

5) 171 state recalls have been attempted -- only 10 have gotten onto the ballot (3 in the 1910s, 4 in the 1990s, 2 in the 2000s and one in 2018). 

6) A veteran of the Davis and Walker recalls looks at the potential Newsom one. 

7) I'm quoted in a few places, including here, here, here and here

Taiwan: Kaohsiung City Councilor survives recall vote

Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Chieh (or Jie) survived a recall vote on February 6. The was 65,391-55,261 (54-46%) against the recall, with a 41.54% turnout. The vote not only failed due to the support for Huang, but the vote needed 25% of eligible voters (72,892) to vote in favor of the recall, due to its absentee veto requirement.

The recall appears to be revenge for the ouster of Mayor (and Kuomintang former presidential candidate) Han Kuo-yu on June 6.  Chieh was elected as a member of the New Power Party but left as part of the 2014 Sunflower Movement.

Rhode Island: Warwick voter looking into move to add recall election law

Former Warwick City Council candidate Danny Hall, who is leading an effort to push for the resignation of school board members Karen Bachus and Judy Cobden, is looking into how to adopt a recall for the city (among other changes he is suggesting).

Thursday, February 4, 2021

California: Timing of a potential gubernatorial recall -- and the signature-removal rules

One question I've been receiving has been about the timing of a potential  California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) recall.

Unfortunately, I did not look and misstated the law (here's the Secretary of State's handbook on it), though it actually may be close enough to the same timeframe. I cited the local recall law, which requires recalls to be scheduled to be held from 88-125 days after the validation. 

Fortunately, Liz Kreutz from KGO-TV pointed this out (after 10 years writing this blog, I can't say enough about how great local news reporters are). The Governor and other state-level officials have a more compressed timeframe of 60-80 days.  But, due to other parts of the law, it will take quite a bit longer than that. Additionally, a relatively new law gives Newsom a fighting tool to try and prevent the recall --  getting recall petition signers to remove their name. I'll discuss that below.  

The timeframe appears to be:

March 17 -- Petitions must all be handed in

April 29 -- counties have to verify signatures (this is 30 business days after the handed in deadline)

10 Days Later -- Secretary of State has 10 business days to determine that the signatures meet the requirement. One wrinkle is that you five counties to hand in at least 1% of voter turnout in their counties (so, for example, you couldn't just collect in Los Angeles and San Diego and get on the ballot). This is requirement is usually ignored in any explanation, as it will undoubtedly be met. 

30 Days Later -- Recall signers have 30 business days in which they can remove their names (see below for more details). 

10 Days Later -- County officials have to report in 10 business days how many signatures are struck.

30 Days Later -- The Secretary of State contacts the Department of Finance and estimates the cost of the recall, which gives them 30 days to review and comment

60-80 Days Later -- The recall must be scheduled in this timeframe by the Lieutenant Governor. In 2003, the recall was scheduled for the 76th day.

Unless: If there is a regularly scheduled statewide election, within 180 days of certification, they can join the recall with that event. However, there is no statewide election until June 2022.

One point I want to tackle is the removal of signatures. This law traces back to 2017, when there was a hope among Senate Democrats that they could ward off the Senator Josh Newman recall by allowing signers to remove their names. This did not help Newman, as the recall got on the ballot and Newman lost (only to comeback and win in 2020). 

However, it did help Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter in 2017. Beyond some other issues with the signatures, Peotter submitted 205 signature-withdrawal  requests (he actually handed in 1783 requests, it could be 1500 of those were people unsure of whether they signed). Those 205 requests were enough to get the recall off the ballot --  petitioners needed 8445 signatures and ended with 8339.

At least two other states have a signature removal (or signature revoking) law, Florida and Nevada (though Nevada's hasn't been fully decided by the State Supreme Court.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

California: Newsom polls has him around 50%; with many undecided

A Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll puts California Governor Gavin Newsom (R) at 46% for a job approval rating, down from about 66% in September. A Public Policy poll has him at 52%. 

The IGS poll has a 49% opposed to a recall and 36% seeing it as good, with 45%-36% opposing the recall. 

For whatever it's worth, Newsom seemed to outperform the polls in 2018, when he got 62% of the vote. The polls for his opponent (John Cox) seemed more on point.

California: Former San Diego Mayor jumps into potential replacement race

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has announced that he is going to run in any possible replacement race against California Governor Gavin Newsom (and may run in 2022 if the recall doesn't get on the ballot). Faulconer has raised over a $1M. He just finished his term in office in December. At the time of mayoralty, Faulconer was the only Republican serving as mayor of city with over one million people. 

Maine: New Gloucester Selectman resigns after recall makes the ballot

New Gloucester Selectman George Colby resigned (in a zoom meeting) after the recall effort against him made the ballot (it was set to be scheduled for March 30. The recall effort against Colby moved forward after petitioners had 300 signatures verified. They handed in 335 signatures and needed 293 (10% of turnout in the district in the last gubernatorial election) to get on the ballot.

Colby been censured after yelling out racist comments at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance during a recent board meeting (he allegedly said "Liberty and Justice for all, for everyone. Even us white folks!). Recently, an email exchange from 2010 in which Colby allegedly used a racist slur has received attention, though Colby claims that the slur was on a forwarded email chain.  

The lead petitioner was a former Selectman. There is a supermajority provision, which required that 55 percent of voters oppose Colby for the recall to lead to his removal.

New Mexico: Op-ed on the Otero County Commissioner recall/history of recall in New Mexico

Here's an op-ed I wrote for the Santa Fe New Mexican on the recall attempt against Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, who was arrested for rioting at the US Capitol on January 6. I also wrote a bit on the history of the recall in New Mexico. Here's some earlier coverage of the Griffin recall effort.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Michigan: Petitions approved against Shepherd School Board Trustee

Shepherd School Board Trustee Matthew Showalter is appealing the approval of a petition against him.  Showalter is accused of disparaging the name of an opponent's junior varsity football team's player. Showalter apologized for the comment and stepped down as Vice Chair, though has remained on the school board. The petition was originally rejected due to a wrong date.

New Zealand: Leader calls for recall law for Maori wards


California: Sacramento Mayor facing recall threats from Homeless Union

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is facing recall threats from the Homeless Union President after extreme weather destroyed homeless encampments. Steinberg, the former California Senate President Pro Tempore (Majority Leader), is also the co-chair of the Governor's State-wide Task Force on Homelessness. Petitioners would need signatures totaling 10% of registered voters to get on the ballot, which looks to be about 27, 410. 

Update: Petitioners are fighting over whether they have met the requirements to get the petitions. The debate is about which law predominates, the city charter or the state one.