Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Virginia: Six Loudoun County School Board members facing petitions

A recall effort has been launched against six members of the Loudoun County School BoardBeth Barts, Denise Corbo, Leslee King, Atoosa Reaser, Ian Sertokin and Chair Brenda Sheridan. Barts has also been censured by the school board. The issue seems to be claims that the school board is looking to punish parents who oppose the teaching of Critical Race Theory. Petitioners need 1127 signatures for Barts.

California: Newsom Roundup -- New polls show 56% support Newsom; Davis speaks! and Tarantino references

A New Public Policy Institute of California poll has the recall at 56-40% with Davis surviving. 

Former Governor Gray Davis discusses the recall effort.

Are Latino voters key to the recall effort? Hopefully, we'll look into this a bit more in the coming months.

Richard Grenell, Trump's Ambassador to Germany, who has flirted with a replacement race run, tweets a comparison of anti-Vaxxers with of Holocaust victims (using a scene from Inglorious Basterds).

Democratic Strategist/Gray Davis Advisor Garry South looks at the dropping numbers for Republicans in California and why this has led to recall pushes.

A look at some of the strange possibilities that could come up in the recall election phase, including potential ballot measures.

How the recall works (I'm quoted in this one). 



California: Five Mount Diablo School Board Trustees facing petitions over school reopenings

Five Mount Diablo School Board Trustees, President Cherise Khaund, VP Debra Mason, Keisha Nzewi, Linda Mayor and Erin McFerrin, are facing petitions over complaints about the speed of school reopenings following the coronavirus pandemic. 

Petitioners would need between 5,000 to 7.000 signatures for each official in 120 days. 

Arizona: State Representative facing recall effort files to run for Secretary of State

State Representative Mark Finchem (R), who is facing a recall effort over his alleged support for the Capitol Hill riots on January 6th and the attempted overthrow of the presidential election, has now filed papers for a potential run for Secretary of State.

The recall will required 24,774 signatures in 120 days. 

Ohio: Editorial argues against constant recall threats in Newton Falls

Editorial calls out constant recall threats in Newton Falls.

Petitions seems to have been turned in against Councilwoman Sandra Breymaier (D), with the complaint of unprofessionalism, name-calling against the mayor and a vote in favor of smart meters. Breymaier claiming that Mayor Ken Kline (R) is behind the recall effort. Breymaier notes that she is a swing vote on the Council. Kline denies he is behind the recall effort. Petitions have 211 signatures (not certain from the article how much is needed. The number is 51% of the turnout). 

Newton Falls has an interesting history with the recall. 

California: More on the funding of the recall effort against San Francisco District Attorney

More on the leading backer of the San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin recall effort, with a third of the money so far put up by "PayPal Mafia" investor David Sacks -- though that is only $25K of $75K raised

New Jersey: Obit talks about North Bergen recall battles

Worthwhile obit here of a former Hudson County Surrogate Joseph Ryglicki, who was a key player in some of NJ's most famous recalls. North Bergen Mayor Peter Mocco was removed in a recall in 1978, but won reelection in a same day race. Ryglicki led a failed recall effort in 1980. In 1985, Mocco's allies removed Mayor Anthony DiVincent in a recall vote. 


Colorado: New Colorado GOP Chair appears not as focused on recalls as the last one

The new Republican Party Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown is taking a step back from the party's push for recalls under past chair Representative Ken Buck (who famously said in his acceptance speech in 2019 that "We need to teach them how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L." Unfortunately for him, the Democrats, who went from winning two presidential elections in the state between 1952-2004 to winning the last four straight, seemed to be focused on learning other words, such as blowout). 

Burton Brown was a leader in the recall effort against State Representative Tom Sullivan that failed, as did all the other recall efforts. 

Burton Brown noted: 

“I think that recalls can be an effective solution,” she told The Sun earlier this year. “We’ve seen them be effective in Colorado in the past. That specific recall, I’ll just say, I learned a lot from. Recall would not be a major strategy I would focus on as state party chairman. I think if any recalls happen, they need to be extremely selective and extremely strategic and there are better strategies to get our candidates in office.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Washington: Pierce County Sheriff facing petitions over profiling allegations

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer is facing petitions after he allegedly profiled a Black newspaper delivery man. 

Colorado: Lake County Coroner recall effort leads to request for a change of venue for trial

The ongoing recall effort against Lake County Coroner Shannon Kent has led to a change of venue motion by his attorney to move his trial to a jurisdiction where he would not be facing the voters. 

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. 

Minnesota: Outside counsel hired to examine Blue Earth City Council recall effort

An outside counsel is set to be hired to determine if a recall effort against Blue Earth City Councilman John Huisman should be allowed to go forward. Petitioners claim to have more than the 250 signatures needed to get on the ballot. Minnesota is a malfeasance standard state and the petition needs to hit a statutorily delineated reason to get on the ballot. Minnesota has a very high hurdle.

The recall effort claims that Huisman violated the First Amendment for signing a letter calling for a program to be removed from KBEW radio. 


Friday, March 26, 2021

California: Newsom recall roundup -- Pelosi throws cold water on Democrats in the replacement race

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backs Newsom and says no Democrat should run in the replacement race

The 18 member Jewish Legislative Caucus (all Democrats) backs Newsom before the first born fast

Where should the Recall Newsom forces look for votes? I'm quoted and mention that the rural/red areas ain't gonna be enough and they need to make inroads in LA and with some traditional Democratic voters

And here's a Bloomberg quick take on the recall

Tennessee: Signature requirement debate over charter amendment seeking to ease Nashville recall laws

14,000 signatures have been handed in by an anti-tax attorney who is also 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. 

There is a debate over how many signatures are needed. The city says that they need 31,212 signatures based on the November election. Petitioner Jim Roberts claims they should use the August election and the number would be 12,142.

Nebraska: Petitions taken out against David City Mayor over masking mandate to battle coronavirus pandemic

Petitions have been taken out against David City Mayor Alan Zavodny over complaints about the mask mandate signed to stop the coronavirus pandemic. Zavodny named the mask mandate after a disabled young man hospitalized for COVID-19 issues. Petitioner needs 275 signatures by April 14.

The petitioner, Gerald Kosch, cited the economic damage of the mask and questioned the coronavirus itself. Specifically:

"As far as (Zavodny's) concern for the injured kid and his coronavirus, I don't think he understands what the coronavirus is. The coronavirus is nothing more than the common cold," Kosch said to The Banner-Press." 

and

"What about the people who lost income because of that? … I don't know of anybody in general but you've seen it happen," Kosch said to The Banner-Press.

California: San Francisco District Attorney recall starts; top backer Silicon Valley Executive

The former PayPal Executive is so far the biggest donor to the effort. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

California: Newsom Roundup -- Can Newsom resign and cancel the recall? Poll out looking good Newsom and more chatter about replacement candidates

Will the Democrats regret not having a top-tier replacement election candidate? (Spoiler alert! No). Will anyone jumping in regret it? Let's look back -- Oh, Oh, yes

In the same piece, Alexandra Pelosi floats the idea of Newsom resigning and be replaced by his Lieutenant Governor and the recall being cancelled. That's not how the law works. In some states, you can resign within five days of the recall being approved. Not California -- the recall goes to the ballot whether or not the official resigns

A Probolsky Research polls shows Newsom up 53-35% among likely voters (53-46% among all voters). Only 2/3rds of Democrats are in Newsom's camp -- a number he needs to increase, while independents break his way 43-41% (compared to 55% in favor of the recall in the Davis race).

QAnon and other conspiracy theories are unsurprisingly getting involved in the recall effort. 

Alaska: Podcast interview with petitioner on Anchorage Assembly Chair recall set

Here's an podcast interview with one of the leaders of the recall effort against Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera, which is set for the April 6th General Election. Rivera has filed a lawsuit to toss out the recall effort.

The write-up notes the purchase of a hotel for a shelter as an impetus, though previously stories seem to focus on the claim that Rivera didn't stop a meeting which, due to the size of the audience, violated the emergency order limiting crowds during the coronavirus pandemic (there may have been 17 people at the meeting, which had a limit of 15).

Petitions have been rejected for Assembly members Meg Zaletel, Austin Quinn-Davidson and Kameron Perez-Verdia. New petitions are being reviewed for Quinn-Davidson and Perez-Verdia.

California: Op-ed in the California Recorder on the District Attorneys recall; Podcast on Legal Talk Network

I wrote this piece in the Recorder (an American Lawyer publication) on the District Attorneys recalls in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sonoma County and why there are so few D.A. recalls in the US.

And here's a Podcast interview I did, though focused on LA DA Gascon.

Washington: Three Seattle School Board members facing petitions over COVID pandemic opening

Petitions have been filed against three Seattle School Board Emily Cherkin, Jennifer Crow and Beverly Goodman over complaints that the school did not transition fast enough to in-person teaching during the coronavirus pandemic. There are also complaints about shrinking play areas, selling school property and data protection.

Washington is a malfeasance standard state and the Superior Court first has to approval the charges before it moves forward.

Update: A look at how the Seattle School Board elections work

California: Recall proponents starting documentary on Shasta County Supervisors effort

Restaurant owners who are pushing for a recall against Shasta County Supervisors Leonard MotyMary Rickert and Joe Chimenti and Les Baugh have putting out a new documentary series on it (though Baugh does not seem to be a target in this story). They are facing recall threats over their support for restrictions to fight the Covid pandemic (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. 

California: Elk Grove Mayor facing recall effort

Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen is facing a recall effort led by the Elk Grove Hmong Americans after Singh-Allen allegedly made derogatory comments about the Hmong community. Singh-Allen defeated Steve Ly in 2020 -- Ly was apparently the first Hmong mayor in America. Petitioners need about 11,000 signatures by October 21 to get on the November ballot. 

Update: Here's a response from Singh-Allen

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

California: Tom Steyer in the mentioning category for a replacement race

We've been talking about a big time Democrat getting into the replacement race and I'm not sure that Tom Steyer qualifies. Steyer was a candidate for President where he spent $131 Million for no delegates and a little over 250,000 votes. He has now commissioned a poll with himself as the replacement candidate. As I mentioned earlier, there could be a heavy penalty for the candidate who jumps into the race. 

California: Demystifying the Plurality Voting Conundrum

Thanks to Professor Rick Hasen at the Election Law Blog for running this as a guest post. Just going to include the text here:

Attention is now being paid to one factor of the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) – the way the recall operates and whether it is “fair.” California’s recall law uses a one-day, two-step process. There is an up or down vote on whether Newsom, where he needs to win a majority (or a tie) to stay, combined with a concurrent vote on the replacement candidate, which only counts if Newsom loses. The replacement candidate only needs a plurality to be elected. Newsom is not allowed to run to replace himself. The result of this structure is that Newsom’s replacement can win office with a tiny fraction of the vote that Newsom received in losing office.

Despite the fact that there were 135 candidates on the replacement ballot, this did not occur in the 2003 gubernatorial recall, when Arnold Schwarzenegger received almost 200,000 more votes in the replacement race than Gray Davis/No on Recall received. However, over the last 10 years, there have been at least five instances where the elected official who was kicked out in the recall outdrew the winner of the replacement race, including one last year in Santa Ana, as well as the most recent state-level recall election, State Senator Josh Newman in 2018. 

The issue of whether a recall victor should be able to receive fewer votes than the removed official is not new. Recall laws across the country have seen attempts to solve the problem of how to choose a new candidate. Idaho uses a “Queen of the Hill” provision (the amount of votes in favor of the recall has to top the votes received by the official in their victory). Some local jurisdictions, as well as other countries, require what I call an “absentee veto” – where total voter turnout in a recall needs to be higher than a set percentage of the population in order for the recall to count. 

Variation in recall laws has always been the rule, not the exception. The early comprehensive study of the recall in California (Bird & Ryan’s book published in 1930) notes that in the cities of California alone “…there has developed such a variety of treatment of all the features of the law that it is difficult to think of any possible innovation left untried.” (58) 

In the 19 (or possibly 20) states in the US that allow recalls against Governors or state level officials, the primary divisions in recall structure are 

1) a Yes or No vote or just a new election; 

2) a replacement race or filling the position in the matter set out by the law (i.e. the Lieutenant Governor takes over) ;

3) whether a replacement race should be the same day as the recall or held on a different day. 

The differences breakdown as follows by state:

Yes or No, Same Day Replacement: California, Colorado 

Yes or No, Different Day Replacement, Georgia, Illinois (though primary may be the same day), Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island

Yes or No, replaced by Lt. Governor: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan (only for the Governor, changed in 2012. All other recalls in the state use the New Election model), Oregon (No Lieutenant Governor, replaced by the Secretary of State), Washington.

New Election: Arizona, Nevada (if no other candidate runs, then it seems it is a yes or no vote), North Dakota, Wisconsin

Recall Trial: Virginia (probably doesn’t impact the Governor, may hit other state officials).

Even within these divisions, there are variations. In some places, candidates are allowed to run in the replacement race, which has led to the odd result of a candidate being defeated and then replacing themselves. 

The Yes or No with a new election may seem unfair, but the most recent states to adopt the recall (Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Georgia and Montana) have all opted for this method with a replacement race. 

States have also changed their laws over time. Oregon moved to the automatic replacement model (actually, filling the replacement by law rather than election) in the early years of having the recall; Michigan made this change for Governor back in 2012. 

Even California, which has had the same provision since 1911, seemingly had a New Election structure in one of its most important early recalls, against state Senator Edwin Grant. Contemporary reports claim that Grant lost by 531 votes to his predecessor Eddie Wolfe. None of the stories seem to explain the discrepancy in how the recall law worked, though it is likely that the election simply used San Francisco’s charter law New Election provision.

It may seem unfair that Newsom or any other official can lose their position to a replacement who gains fewer votes. But California voters have had 110 years to change this structure. The legislature has not been that shy in tinkering with recall laws – as we saw in 2017 with the adoption of a signature removal law. Other states like Oregon and Michigan have seen their recall model changed. It may be difficult, but if California voters really wanted the law changed, they could have done it. The structure, put in place with more than 76% of the vote in favor, should be respected.  

California: Newsom Recall Roundup -- new poll on the recall, discussion of possible Democratic candidates

A new Emerson poll shows that about 38% of voters would vote for the recall (about the same as vote against Newsom in 2018). 55% want a change in the next election. So far, the pro-Recall numbers seem pretty static in every poll I've seen. 

Some discussion on whether a big name Democrat will jump into the replacement race -- I discussed this in the last post.

People waking up to the plurality rule (Newsom can lose the recall and win more than his replacement) -- I'll have quite a bit more on this soon. 

Washington Monthly piece on Newsom and the politics of rage.

A pro-recall look from the right (Hoover Institute) saying why it is about the pandemic response.

Here's a conversation I had with the Legal Talk Network

California: Will a big name Democrat jump into the replacement race? The cautionary tale of Cruz Bustamante

Some early chatter on whether a big name Democrat will jump into the replacement race, as the great naming has begun. We'll see what happens, but as long as Newsom is ahead, any serious name may be scared away.

Democrats see Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante's decision to get into the replacement race in the Gray Davis recall as a disaster (Garry South, Davis Advisor, suggested it cost Davis 5%). Bustamante paid a price in his political career -- he lost the Insurance Commissioner race in 2006, which combined with Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, the gubernatorial candidate, were the last two Democrats to lose in a major statewide race. Bustamante, who got under 38% of the vote, has the unfortunate distinction of having the worst showing of any Democrat in a statewide race (not including Board of Equalizers) since at least 1994, when the top two law was passed.  

In the Colorado recalls in 2013, Democrats didn't run any replacement candidate. Hard to say that it mattered. In 2018 in the Josh Newman recall a Democrat did run, to no avail.

The one recent example I can think of this strategy working was a two-day recall in 2011/2012 in Michigan against State Representative Paul Scott (i.e., the replacement race was months later).


Idaho: Boise's North End Neighborhood Association recall appears to succeed

Five members of  Boise's North End Neighborhood Association may have been ousted . The NENA is the oldest of the 34 neighborhood associations.  Members facing the recall are Acting President Sarah Foregger, Carlos Coto, Daniel Foregeer, Tory Spengler and Sitka Koloski. 87 percent voted to remove every member of the board with near a 670-70 vote. Turnout was considered high.  

California: SF School Board member facing additional recall threats over tensions

San Francisco School Board member Alison Collins, already part of the group facing recall threats for a proposal to rename schools, is now facing issues for earlier posts she wrote about tension with Asian students. 

Alaska: Wrangell Mayor petitions rejected by city

The City rejected a petition seeking the recall of Wrangell Mayor Steve Prysunka 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 petitioner, former Mayor Don McConachie Sr. has said that he will not appeal but will run for office.

The meeting over mask mandating 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 had 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 needed 104 signatures.

Prysunka faced an earlier recall attempt in January, but he had not yet gotten out of the 120 day grace period. Interestingly, the article notes that no recall can be filed for 6 months now that this one has been rejected. 

Colorado: Buckhorn Valley Metropolitan District Board Members recall appears to get on the ballot

The recall in the town of Gypsum's Buckhorn Valley Metropolitan District Number 2 (BVMD) seems to have gotten on the ballot, as board members facing a recall effort are President John Hill, Anna Maria Ray, David Garton, Jr. and Scott Green (a fifth seat is open). Petitioners needed about 300 signatures to get on the ballot (40 percent of voters). They handed in 378. 

The issue is developer control of the community (petitioners claim the developers of the area have too much control of the board and its decisions). The cost seems to be about $65,000-$70,000.

Pennsylvania: State Representative files recall bill

State Representative Martina A. White (R) has introduced a bill (H.822) which would bring the recall back to Pennsylvania, though with serious limits. The bill is a proposed Constitutional Amendment allowing recalls against the Governor, AG, Treasurer, Mayors, District Attorneys and Auditor General. It oddly leaves out the legislature (though both Illinois and Rhode Island also leave the legislature out of the recall law). The idea is that these officials have executive authority. 

The state's recall law was struck down in 1976 by the State Supreme Court. 

The proposal would require 25% of turnout. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

California: Is signer party identification a red flag for petitioners in the Newsom recall?

The recall proponents looking to oust California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) have been justly crowing about handing in an estimated 2,117,730 signatures (they need 1,495,709 valids and that seems like enough of a cushion based on past failure rates -- barring an impressive signature strike effort).

However, in what may be an "It's not what you want" stat, Dave Gilliard, a Republican recall strategist, tweeted that the breakdown of signers was 64.1% Republicans. 25.3% No Party Preference; 9% Democrat; 1.6% Other. The signers were evenly divided by gender, with 49.48% of signers listed as Female. 

It does not seem that there was a breakdown of the 2003 Gray Davis petitions by party breakdown, but there are exit polls that show how voting went -- and recall proponents would need some different numbers come election day. In 2003, almost 25% of Democrats reportedly voted to oust Davis, and 55% of Independents went that way as well (91% of Republicans voted for removal, which shouldn't be a surprise). California is also a vastly less Republican state than it was in 2003. 

I do realize this is comparing apples to oranges -- the percent numbers are measuring two separate things, (one if percent of signers who are Democrat, the other percent of Democrats who voted one way) but it does show that a good number of Democrats and independents were needed to succeed.

The one stat that is a particular positive for petitioners is the nearly 50% Female signers. Back in 2003, the recall did 7% better among men than women. The gender gap between the parties has widened significantly since then.

It could very well be that Democrats and independents will behave very differently at the ballot box than at the signing phase (one is an obviously vastly more public rejection of the party). But that is a stat that suggests the petitioners have some serious work to do.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Nebraska: Petitions taken out against Valparaiso Trustee

Petitions have been taken out against Valparaiso Board of Trustees member Mike Blazek for what seems to be about the drainage project done on his property, allegedly by a village employee. Petitioners need about 104 signatures (45% of turnout). 


California: Former Republican Congressman says he will run in a recall effort

Doug Ose, a former Republican Congressman, has announced that he will run for Governor in a recall effort against Gavin Newsom. Ose was in office from 1999-2005 and ran for Governor in 2018, but dropped out. 

California: Petitioners hand in 2,117,730 signatures in Gubernatorial recall effort

The petitioners report that they have handed in 2,117,730 signatures in the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom (D). They need 1,495,709 valid signatures, so as long as their signature failure rate tops a little under 30%, they will get on the ballot (here's a look on failure rate).

Dave Gilliard, a Republican recall strategist, tweeted that the breakdown of signers was 64.1% Republicans. 25.3% No Party Preference; 9% Democrat; 1.6% Other. The signers were evenly divided by gender, with 49.48% of signers listed as Female. 

Alaska: Alaska Governor looks at recall effort and suggests that it may likely get on the ballot

A new interview has led Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) to say that he is operating on the assumption that the petitioners in the recall effort will get the signatures. Petitioners 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.

Louisiana: Recall effort against Governor fails

The recall effort against Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) has failed, with petitioners handing in 26,679 signatures (one parish is still outstanding).  Petitioners needed over 600,000 signatures in 180 days. This was the first gubernatorial recall threatened since  Louisiana loosened its recall laws. The state formally required 33 1/3 % registered voter signature to get on the ballot. Now, it is only 20% (not turnout, like in California or Wisconsin).

The recall was over Edwards' mask mandate to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

California: Can the Newsom recall backfire

 Well, we've discussed this at length (and I'll probably write more on that), but here's one more take

Minnesota: Meeting held on recall efforts against Six Red Wing City Council members over police chief firing

A group seeking the recall of six Red Wing City Council members, Dean Hove, Andy Klitzke, Evan Brown, Becky Norton, Erin Buss and Laurel Stinson, held a meeting discussing the efforts. The recall effort follows the firing of the Police Chief (the vote was 6-1).

Minnesota is a malfeasance standard state, so petitioners will need to show a statutorily specific reason for the recall. There has been only one recall that I've seen in Minnesota since 2011, and it is likely there hasn't been another one since the state-wide adoption of a recall law in 1996. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Arizona: Superior Court Judge tosses out Kingman Mayor recall over signature issues

A Mohave County Superior Court Judge has tossed out the recall of Kingman Mayor Jen Miles, which hasn't been scheduled but the enough valid signatures were found to have been handed in. The judge found that the petitions were "not attached to a 'time-and-date-marked copy',,, and some petitions were not personally witnessed by the circulator.

Petitioners seem to have handed in 2367 signatures, of which 1512 were valids. They needed 1384. The recall is over a vote to continue the mask covering requirement to combat the coronavirus pandemic until October 20, 2020.

No word on the recall efforts against Councilmembers David Wayt, James Scott Stehly, SueAnn Mello Keener and Ken Watkins, though petitioners had an extra week to hand those in, so it could be we are waiting (petitioners need 1438 signatures for the council members).  Two other councilmembers who voted against the protective mask requirements are not facing recall efforts.

No word yet on whether the petitioners will appeal. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

California: Newsom Roundup -- a look at how the signatures are verified

Here's a good look at how the signatures are verified -- note that California appears to have a looser proof standard than many states and therefore a higher approval rate. 

Is Gavin Newsom  a fan of the blog? He notes on CNN that California has the easiest gubernatorial recall law in the US.

Accentuate the partisanship and let's start talking about the money -- Politico also looks at who is running the Newsom effort.

Here's my podcast interview with San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli.

Arizona: Petitions taken out against House Speaker over pandemic shutdown, Republican election loss in state

Arizona House Speaker Russell Bowers (R) is facing a recall effort from a further right group over not calling a special session during the Coronavirus pandemic (presumably to overturn the governor's shutdown procedures) and the "failure to protect the integrity of the 2020 election" by a group looking to overturn the results of the election.

Petitioners need 22,331 signatures by June 17. 

Here's a lot more on it with some of my comments on whether the recall can be helped by a petition drive taking place at the same time. Reminds me of the crypto-initiative issue. 

Arizona: Petitions taken out against State Representative

 Petitions have been taken out against State Representative Mark Finchem (R) over his alleged support for the Capitol Hill riots on January 6th and the attempted overthrow of the presidential election. The effort had been facing questions after the Chair of the Casa Grande Democrats, Ralph Atchue stepped back from the effort to let professionals run it. Representative Athena Salman (D) has also introduced a resolution to expel Finchem. Finchem accepted more than $6000 from Trump in Recount legal consulting. After facing an ethics complaint, Finchem filed ethic complaints against nearly all Democrats in the state legislature, which went nowhere. 

Petitioners would need 24,774 signatures in 120 days. 

California: Newsom Recall Round-up -- Did someone dropped the appellate ball? Plus, polls show some alleged negatives (but probably really positives) for Newsom

Did the Secretary of State drop the ball in not appealing the ruling allowing 120 more days to get signatures? Democratic consultant Garry South says yes. The issue appears to be the SoS' willingness in allowing more time for two initiatives. 

Newsom says he will appoint Black woman to any potential opening in Dianne Feinstein's seat, pushing the obvious partisan angle to play in a very Democratic state. 

New poll has Newsom up 42%-38% in recall vote. The polls seem to show a straight line on the removal vote, so far, not topping 40%. I suspect the negatives may be the most important topline finding in any poll here. 

More stories on the recall -- I'm quoted in the Guardian one. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Kentucky: New law lowers signature totals for school board tax increase recall election

Kentucky does not appear to have recall elections of individuals, but they do have laws that allow for a recall of a school district tax increase. A new law was passed that lower the signature requirement for a school district tax recall to 5000 signatures from the current requirement of 10% of total voters. A Jefferson County recall failed to get on the ballot because of the 35,517 signatures needed. 

Canada: Alberta considers new recall bill that seems to remove local officials by just handing in signatures

The newest recall proposed legislation in Alberta has an odd issue, as it includes procedures for the recall election of MLAs (60 days to collect 40% of eligible voters), but the portion dealing with local officials and school board members do not include an actual vote. They will be removed by the handing in of signatures. 

This column criticizes the recall law as setting to high a bar and claiming it is a betrayal of the old Wildrose Party, which had pushed for a recall law in Alberta. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

California: Camarillo council members facing recalls over BLM support

Camarillo Vice Mayor Shawn Mulchay and Council member Susan Santangelo are facing petitions over their support for Black Lives Matter protests. There are also claims that the two wanted to defund the police, though that is denied, Petitioners need 9475 signatures by April 15. Since 2018, Camarillo moved from an at large system to a district-based one, though apparently all Camarillo residents would be able to vote in a recall. 

Update: Here's a letter looking for a signature removal effort. 

Idaho: Does the March 9 Idaho recall results show evidence in how pandemic-focused elections will turn?

What is the electoral impact of the pandemic and the shutdown? This is important for the Gavin Newsom recall, but also for the longer term scope of 2022. As we've seen with the 87 recall attempts in 2020, the pandemic unleashed a good deal of voter anger, and a good portion of that was on the right side of the aisle. 80 of those recalls were started by voters who were opposed to the shutdown requirements designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Last year we saw only two officials actually face the voters and one of them (Oregon City’s Mayor) opposed masks and social distancing. Both of these officials, a school board member in White Pine, Idaho and the Mayor of Oregon City, Oregon, were removed. Three other school board members, two in West Ada, Idaho and one in Appleton, Wisconsin resigned. The West Plains, Missouri Mayor is scheduled to resign, but he has stated that it is not over his position in favor of protective measures. The Auburn, California Mayor died in a plane crash while signatures were being collected. A recall against Commissioner in Enid, Oklahoma (and one in Norman, thought that had other issues involved as well) were thrown out by the State Supreme Court case.

But now we have some new results and while these are small jurisdictions, they may shine some light on the issue.

A small subset of recall elections in Idaho on March 9th gave us a first glimpse of how voters may feel on the downslope of the pandemic and how elected officials who supported shutdowns may be treated. School boards were targeted in the recall efforts and they are well represented here. While obviously this is a small sample of low population jurisdictions, it may point out that any fever for recalls over the shutdown could be waning. 

For the Newsom effort, we should keep in mind that Idaho is practically the mirror image of California. All state level officials are Republican -- the last Democratic Senator was elected in 1974, the last Governor in 1986.  The state legislature is veto-proof dominated by Republicans. Perhaps most importantly, the state voted for Donald Trump by 30%, almost the exact opposite of California's 29% for Biden. 

Idaho seems to be a perfect place to see voters kick out their elected officials over the pandemic. And on Tuesday March 9, seven officials in five separate jurisdictions faced recall votes. But all survived their vote. One recall (the mayor of Plummer) seemed to have nothing to do with the pandemic. The others, especially the five school board members did. 

Idaho has an interesting provision in its recall laws, one that, for lack of a better term, we will copy Congress and call it a "Queen of the Hill" law. In Idaho, a recall is an up or down vote on the elected official. But for it to succeed, not only do you need a majority of the vote in favor of recall, you also need the vote total to top the amount of votes the candidate won in the last election. As an example, Idaho Governor Brad Little won election in 2018 with 361,661 votes. If he faced a recall not only would they need to have a majority vote to remove, that majority would have to be at least 361,662 voters.  

This law only came into effect in the Plummer recall. All the other recalls were significant victories by the candidates. 

All three Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board Trustees, Jackie Cranor (677-708)  Janie Gebhardt (674-959) and Dave Mattson (782-1055), survived the recall vote.  

Idaho Falls School Board Trustee Elizabeth Cogliati survived a recall vote, with nearly 60% in her favor.  183-272. The recall would have failed unless 221 people voted for removal. 

Nampa School Board member Mike Kipp survived a recall vote 436-497 (46.7% - 53.3%). 

Hagerman City Mayor Alan Jay survived a recall vote, 116-129. The complaints seem all over the place, including a Covid pandemic issue, but there are complaints about enforcement of the city codes and alleged misappropriation of funds. They needed 162 votes. 

Is this just some small subset of the population? Or is this a real statement that voters may have been upset enough about the shutdowns to sign petitions, but now are not willing to kick someone out over it?

*** Just some point about the nomenclature. As opposed to the Queen of the Hill rule (used when several amendments are trying to impact a law, so the one with the most votes wins), a King of the Hill provision is when the last vote is the one that counts, no matter if an earlier one gets the most votes. I have used the phrase Absentee Veto provision (where a recall vote must exceed a certain turnout number -- say 30% of the electorate must vote, making it more valuable to sit it out than to vote against. This provision is used frequently overseas).

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Ohio: Late results now show clean sweep in Woodmere Village Council member recall with 4 ousted

After counting seven outstanding ballots, Woodmere Village Council member Craig Wade has now lost his seat, 91-88, joining Council President Jennifer Mitchell Earley (93-80) and members Lisa Brockwell (90-83) and Glenda Todd Miller (89-85). Wade seemed to have survived on the election day vote (85-87). 

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: State Senator who lost recall and returned proposing two laws to impact signature gathering

State Senator Josh Newman (D) who lost a recall in 2018 only to comeback and win election in 2020 is proposing two bills to make recalls a bit more difficult (neither will impact the Newsom recall effort). 

One bill will give the recall target access to the name of signers, with some privacy protections.  

The second bill would ban paying signature collectors per signature (rather than by hour -- this is type of law exists in other stats). Actually, according to what I've read, paying by signature has been around since basically the beginning of direct democracy in California. In the early days, veterans and widows were considered the best signature gatherers. 

India: Call for adopting of recall notes presences of device in 920 AD temple inscriptions

There has been a push for the recall law in India for a number of years. This article notes that the ancient Tamil Nadu system had a recall law.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Oregon: Oregon City elected interim Mayor to rest of term of recalled mayor

Oregon City has elected interim Mayor Rachel Lyles Smith to a full term to replace Dan Holladay who lost a recall vote with over 68% voting for his removal. Lyles Smith, who was serving after moving up due to her role as President of the Oregon City Commission, won 42-29%. Turnout was 27% a drop of half from the recall.

Holladay faced the recall over his opposition to the stay at home order to fight the coronavirus pandemic and his complaining about the protests following the killing of George Floyd. They got over 2400 signatures. They need 1828 signatures. The previous two mayors (who supported Holladay) have signed a letter calling the behavior "disturbing." The cost would be between $30,000 - $60,000.

This is the first mayoral recall to get on the ballot in Oregon City history (it is Oregon's oldest city).

Colorado: Column looks at how delay in lawsuit in Westminster Mayor and Councilmembers recall effort would push any election to November

Here's a good column looking at the lawsuit which had been filed seeking to overturn a city clerk's ruling throwing out signatures in the recall effort against Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison and Councilmembers Anita Seitz, Kathryn Skulley and Jon Voelz. The recall was over water bills.

The litigation may help push any election till November. 

Petitioners needed 25% of turnout, which is 5009 signatures for Atchison and 6,098 for the three council members. Skulley's signatures missed by 61; Atchison by 282; Voelz by 635 and Seitz by 757.

Petitioners are represented by former Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R). They are claiming that the petitions were unlawfully thrown out because it was missing an informational page or because they were placed behind page one of the official petitions. Petitioners claim that the clerk allowed other packets to be corrected.

California: Newsom Roundup -- Petitioners claim to have over 2,060,000 signatures

Petitioners claim to have 2,060,000 signatures for the recall

Experts offer some comments

Thursday, March 11, 2021

10 Years of the Recall Elections Blog

Welp, might as well at least acknowledge this: 

10 years ago today, the Recall Elections Blog bounced into existence. I whiffed on starting a website, and of course I was about five years too late to the blogging revolution, but it sounds like I got the timing right (normally, I'm off by about a century or two).

We're now on the cusp of a second gubernatorial recall.  We've covered 18 of the 39 state legislative recalls in US history, the first judicial recall in the US since 1982, and close to a thousand recall elections (and over 150 resignations). Clearly, the recall is out of its Bermuda Triangle and once again having its moment.

I've been asked why I've focused on the recall, and well (might as well get some bragging in) in the last 10 years, I've written 213 op-eds on subjects far and wide, among them: the Electoral College, Voter Turnout; Third Parties; The Return to the 1880s; the Growth of the VP; One-Termers; Presidential and VP Selection; Conventions; So, so many articles against Iowa and New Hampshire; Gerrymandering; Congressional Leadership changes; Presidential communications; the folly of our Presidential succession system; The "First Round Draft Picks of American Politics";  NY's return to power, it's toxic judicial selection methods and the challenge of us electing natural born hayseeds as Mayor; why Joe Biden would be likely to get the Democratic nomination (not my headline); how my actual job is like a magic show and (most meaningfully) my grandfather's WWII experience and the Counted Remnant

But of course, the recall has been a focus -- many articles have been on the recall (so far, I've written pieces in 38 states and 5 continents -- anyone got a connection to the Antarctica Herald-Tribune?). Perhaps the most unusual of these involved my historical research on Wisconsin's recall, leading to a story about Harry Houdini's Tefillin.  And yet, once again, why the recall? I think I've explained it in a number of outlets how the recall shows the growth in more democratic procedures in government (for good or ill) and the success of the delegate/advocate/representative model of elected government. It also allows us to examine how technological changes impact the process and how voter anger works in practice. But, perhaps as important, I do think it may tell us a bit more about the political process and where we are going than observers realize. The death of local newspapers -- and the unfortunate sole focus on national issues to the detriment of local ones -- has led commentators to miss out on some of the biggest changes that have shaken the political world. The recall is one window into this. 

I do want to thank the readers and the many journalists, academics and fellow bloggers who have supported this endeavor over the years. Some names to note (and sorry for whoever I've left off), starting with arguably the biggest inspiration to starting the blog -- Election Law Blogger Rick Hasen; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert, Daily Kos' David Nir, PoliticalWire's Taegan Goddard, History News Network's Rick Shenkman, Ballot Access News' Richard Winger, Volokh Conspiracy's Eugene Volokh and LA Times' Mark Barabak. In the Wisconsin recalls, The Guardian's Richard Adams nicely nominated me for a proposed "wonk of the wonk awards" and then Politico's (now NYT, but forever Room8) Ben Smith ranked me among the "everything on the internet" and Chicago Magazine listed me as a Recall Junkie. So those were all fun. 

Did I plan for it to last this long? Well, if you're starting a blog on Recall Elections, long-term planning is probably not going to be your thing. What can we expect in the future? More Simpsons jokes, more Dylan/The Hold Steady/Springsteen/Neil Young references? Obviously. More money? Kinda of doubting that one. More people calling me crazy for spending time on this? Undoubtedly. But certainly a lot more disappointed officeholders.  


Washington: No signatures handed in by deadline in Snohmish County Sheriff recall

No signatures were handed in for the recall of Snohmish County Sheriff Adam Fortney. Previously, Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell rejected a petition to give recall proponents 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. 

California: Petitions approved against San Francisco District Attorney

Petitions have been approved for the recall effort against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin over complaints over lenient treatment of criminals. Recall efforts kicked into high gear after a convict who was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle and violating probation was released without bail and then ran over two women while running a red light. Boudin had previously served as McAlister's defense attorney when he was a deputy public defender. 

The stories say 51,000 signatures are needed, but the numbers seemed to be a little higher when I looked. It should be 10 percent of registered voters, which should equal 52,1988 valid signatures, though perhaps there was a drop-off in registered voters.

I have a bit more to say on District Attorney recalls (note there are ongoing efforts in Los Angeles and Sonoma County), but I'm waiting to see if I can place my op-ed on the subject. 

Ohio: Signatures handed in against Newton Falls Councilwoman

Petitions seems to have been turned in against Councilwoman Sandra Breymaier (D), with the complaint of unprofessionalism, name-calling against the mayor and a vote in favor of smart meters. Breymaier claiming that Mayor Ken Kline (R) is behind the recall effort. Breymaier notes that she is a swing vote on the Council. Kline denies he is behind the recall effort. Petitions have 211 signatures (not certain from the article how much is needed. The number is 51% of the turnout). 

Newton Falls has an interesting history with the recall. 

Idaho: Plummer Mayor survives recall vote due to "Queen of the Hill" provision

Plummer Mayor Bill Weems survived a recall vote 71-66 against him, but recall supporters needed the total vote to top the amount he received in his initial election (78 votes) -- I'm now calling this a "Queen of the Hill" provision.

The recall seems to be about his behavior in off, and this state investigation may have something to do with it, though the articles aren't clear about the precipitating factors. 

Idaho: Idaho Falls School Board member survives recall vote

Idaho Falls School Board Trustee Elizabeth Cogliati survived a recall vote, 183-272. The issue was the hybrid alternate day schedule the board adopted by a 3-2 vote in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The vote followed widespread social distancing guidelines. Because of Idaho's recall law (requiring the vote against the official to top the amount needed to elect them to the position), the recall would have failed unless 221 people voted for removal. 

Signatures were also handed in for the recall against Chairwoman Lara Hill, though the didn't meet the requirement. Petitioners needed 481 valid signatures for Hill and 280 for Cogliati. 

There was also an attempt against Trustee Hillary Radcliffe, but because she was appointed to the position, the signature total needed was over 1400, so it seems to have failed.

One of the leaders of the recall effort is State Representative Bryan Zollinger (R), who apparently wanted students in school four days a week. Zollinger had supported Hill in her campaign.

Idaho: Hagerman City Mayor survives recall vote

Hagerman City Mayor Alan Jay survived a recall vote, 116-129. The complaints seem all over the place, including a Covid pandemic issue, but the focus seems to be about enforcement of the city codes and alleged misappropriation of funds. 

Idaho requires the vote in favor of the recall to top the number of votes Jay received when he won office -- so that is 162 (First Past the Post would not have been enough), so the recall sounds like it was unlikely to succeed. 

Idaho: Nampa School Board member survives recall vote over hybrid learning/COVID pandemic prevention provisions

Nampa School Board member Mike Kipp survived a recall vote 436-497 (46.7% - 53.3%). This is another rejected effort over hybrid learning. Kipp was criticized for his support for hybrid learning in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The 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.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Idaho: Three Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board Trustees survive recall vote

All three Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board Trustees, Jackie Cranor (677-708)  Janie Gebhardt (674-959) and Dave Mattson (782-1055), survived the recall vote.   

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

Idaho has what I call a "Queen of the Hill" requirement, where the recall needs to top the vote of the last time the official was up for a removal (so no first past the post win).  Last time, Cranor got 279 votes, Mattson 278 votes and Gebhardt  is 417.

North Dakota: Horace Council members ousted in recall vote

Both Horace Council members David Fenelon and Bryan Schmidt were ousted in recall votes on Tuesday (no word yet on the total. Naomi Burkland, and Jeffrey Trudeau are reported to have replaced them. The recall was over rising special assessments and a more general complaint about not representing the popular interests (the city is apparently growing). 

The results seem to be Burkland 376, Trudeau 317, Fenelon 212, Schmidt 210 (and losing candidate Zachariah Lee, 96). 

Monday, March 8, 2021

California: Newsom recall roundup -- petitions claim over 1.950 Milion signatures

Petitioners are claiming that they have 1.950 million signatures 

Bernie Sanders comes out against the recall effort

Newsom announces sports reopening

Republicans looking to raise false alarms about signature removal -- here's my comments on this. I do wonder if there's some "working the refs" involved here.

Idaho:Three Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board Trustees to be held tomorrow

March 9th is the recall election against Pocatello/Chubbuck School Board Trustees Jackie Cranor, Janie Gebhardt and Dave Mattson. Idaho has a absence veto requirement, so petitioners need to top the vote of the last time the official was up (so no first past the post win). Cranor  got 279 votes, Mattson 278 votes and Gebhardt  is 417.

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. 

Idaho: Hagerman City Mayor up for recall vote on March 9th

Today is also a recall vote against Hagerman City Mayor Alan Jay. The complaints seem all over the place, including a Covid pandemic issue, but the focus seems to be about enforcement of the city codes and alleged misappropriation of funds. 

Idaho requires the vote in favor of the recall to top the number of votes Jay received when he won office -- so that is 162.  So just First Past the Post finish will not be enough. 

North Dakota: Horace Council recall to be held on March 9

We'll be seeing a recall today (March 9th) for Horace Council members David Fenelon and Bryan Schmidt. The two are facing three challengers, Naomi Burkland, Jeffrey Trudeau and Zachariah Lee. The recall is over rising special assessments and a more general complaint about not representing the popular interests (the city is apparently growing). This will be a special election.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

California: Sonoma District Attorney recall effort faces questions over individual contribution limit

There's a significant spending issue in the recall effort against Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch. Developer Bill Gallagher is reported to have spent over $295,000 on the recall effort, which is way over the county's limit of $3350 for individual contributions (there is no limit for a state recall effort, but county's are able to put forward their own limit). Gallagher's lawyer claims the law is unconstitutional and has said that such laws have been struck down in other jurisdictions in the state. 

The recall effort is led by the owner of two senior care homes where 20 residents were abandoned in a fire when staff fled. The Oakmont Senior Living company settled for $500,000. The petition attacks Ravitch for ignoring fire safety issues. Petitioner would need about 30,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Ravitch has already announced that she is not running for reelection.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Colorado: New recall attempt filed against two Berthoud Trustees

A new attempt to recall Berthoud Trustees Maureen Dower and Jeff Hindman over complaints about negatively impacting the relationship with the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, especially regarding the Black Lives Matters protests, a decision to stop printing notices in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor (calling it biased) and for a vote to fund a Park and Recreation Center using certificates of participation.

A former Sheriff's deputy and former Mayor Steve Mulvihill are among the petitioners.

Petitioners need 304 signatures for Hindman and 420 for Dower in 60 days.

Colorado: Petitions taken out against Rio Blanco County Commissioner

Petitions have been taken out against Rio Blanco County Commissioner Gary Moyer over complaints of verbally abuse and misusing his power against employees, as well as trying to eliminate the Dispatch Center and a lack of transparency. 

Petitioners need 747 signatures in 60 days. This is apparently the first recall attempt in Rio Blanco County history.

Taiwan: First stage of signatures hit for legislator

The recall effort against Taiwan Legislator Chen Po-Wei (pro-independence Taiwan Statebuilding Party) is advancing to the second stage. Petitioners handed in 3744 valid signatures and needed 2912. Petitioners now need to get 29,113 signatures in 60 days. A vote would require 25% turnout (72,281) to succeed (as well as actually winning that vote). 

Chen is the first member of his party to win a seat, beating a local dynasty in 2020. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

South Dakota: Initiative proposed for statewide recalls

South Dakota is looking at adopting a recall law by initiative -- unfortunately the article is paywalled, so I can't really see it. Interesting enough, South Dakota was the pioneer in direct democracy, but never took the recall on statewide.  

California: Newsom Recall round-up -- petitioners claim 1.92 million signatures

Petitioners claim they have 1,927,000 signatures

The Orange County move to blue proves ominous for recall proponents -- the Davis recall got 73% of the OC vote; now, polls show the recall losing in the former GOP stronghold 48-52%

Kern County has 48K signatures

School deal unlikely to help Newsom -- though it is only talking about petitioning. Will voters remember when September ends?