Sunday, November 28, 2021

Switzerland: Geneva voters adopt recall law

Geneva voters approved a recall law, with 92% of the voters casting ballots in favor of the constitutional amendment. It seems that the law requires a vote of the cantonal parliament in order to go to the vote. It seems like it may only be used for corruption issues. Other cantons in Switzerland have had the recall since 1848, though it is different in each place and is rarely used. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

California: A look at recall reform proposals

Quite a bit late on this, but things get in the way. There's been a lot of discussion on recall reforming in the state, including Senate hearings. I co-wrote a detailed analysis with David Carrillo, the Executive Director of the California Constitution Center at UC Berkeley Law School on some possible reform proposals. I'm generally a fan of the Wisconsin/New Election model and quite opposed to the most consistent proposal -- the "automatic replacement."

Additionally, here a recall reform interview, here's another article by David Carrillo and Stephen Duvernay. Here's material on the Senate hearings here and here.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

My Op-ed in the Hill on School Board Recalls

Lots of coverage in recent weeks over school board recalls, including quite a bit on the San Francisco School Board Recall, including some effort at separation from the other two targeted officials by board member Faauuga Moliga

I've written this op-ed in the Hill. I note that conventional wisdom coalesced around the idea that the Democrats were hit hard on Election Day due to school issues. But recalls tell a very different tale. So far, there have been 244 recall attempts against school board members in the US this year -- more than triple past years. Only 17 made the ballot and eight resigned. Of those 17, 15 officials survived the vote. All of those recalls focused on the pandemic protection procedures failed. 

California: Kevin Faulconer considering a run in 2022 for Governor


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Massachusetts: Southwick Selectman facing petitions

Southwick Selectman Russell Fox is facing a recall threat over a vote to allow a Carvana facility in town and claims of retaliation against volunteers who opposed the project. 

Update: No signatures were handed in.

Florida: Amendment proposed to expand recall law to include county officials

Florida Senator Joe Gruters (R) and Representative Jayer Williamson (R) are trying to get a constitutional amendment to expand Florida's recall law to include county officers. Currently only municipal and charter county officials face recalls (20 of 67 counties are under county charters). The recall would not hit state officers.

Massachusetts: Monterey Select Board member facing petitions

Monterey Select Board Member John Weingold is facing recall petitions seemingly over battling with other board members. Weingold is called "a law-and-order stickler" who leaves meetings over Open Meeting Law violations. He is also boycotting meetings until the chair steps down. There is also a battle over whether there was a violation of the law by scratching out a name on the petitions. 

Nebraska: Petition taken out against Papillion La Vista School Board member

Petitions have been taken out against Papillion La Vista Community School Board member Valerie Fisher, seemingly over her support for actions to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. She has been on the board for 22 years and won Nebraska's School Board member of the year award in 2019. Petitioners need 7229 signatures in 30 days to get on the ballot. The other board members are up for reelection next year.

Virginia: Signatures handed in against one Loudon School Board member; May face recall trial

Signatures were handed in against Loudon School Board Member Brenda Sheridan. They handed in 1850 and need 803. 

There were attempts against Atoosa Reeser, Beth Barts, Leslee King, Denise Corbo and Ian Serotkin, though King has since died and Barts resigned on November 2 after petitioners handed in signatures. Sheridan needed the smallest number of signatures of any of the members. The recall effort was supposed to be over complaints about alleged inappropriate reading materials in the school. The petitioners claim they are fighting against "Critical Race Theory." The recall petitions seem to have been focused on complaining about school closing to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Petitioners need between 850 to 11,600 signatures to get on the ballot. Loudon has faced discussions about recalls in recent years as Virginia is one of the most prominent states to move politically. Last year, Loudon County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall  is facing recall threats from the Young Republicans over her participation in a recent rally against police violence. The Young Republicans statement includes a reference to a violation of the 14th Amendment. 

If a recall got on the ballot, it would presumably covered by the state's Recall Trial law. The actual complaint seems to be an open meeting violation (the group joining a separate Facebook group). 

Kansas: Labette County Commissioner recall over windfarm scheduled for December 7

The recall against Labette County Commissioner Brian Kinzie has been scheduled for December 7. Petitioners handed in 1582 signatures and needed 1202. The recall is over his support for a windfarm. Kansas is a Malfeasance Standard state, so the recall was over complaints of open meeting act violations.

Arizona: Liberty School Board member resigns, other recall fails to get on the ballot

Thanks to Ballotpedia for this one -- From earlier in the year, but Liberty School Board members Suzanne McEvoy after petitions were taken out over her support for measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners also tried to recall Board member Mark Aguire, which did not get the signatures. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

California: More on Los Angeles Councilman recall

More on the Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin recall including an LA Times editorial calling into question the need for it one month before his election. 

California: Los Angeles D.A. recall gains new steam over prisoner release

Here -- the individual was released six years into a 50-year sentence.

Missouri: Kansas City council recalls fail

The recall efforts against Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Councilmembers Brandon Ellington, Andrea Bough, Kevin O'Neill, Lee Barnes and Katheryn Shields have all failed, needing about 13,700 for each and reportedly gathering less than 4000.

An earlier effort to recall Councilman Eric Bunch over his statement in favor of cutting the police budget also failed. 

North Dakota: Recall effort against State Representative appears over due to redistricting law

The recall effort against North Dakota Representative Dwight Kiefert (R) seems to be over, due to a weird turn in the redistricting. The new redistricting law requires Kiefert to run in 2022 in a three incumbent race for two seats. North Dakota gives a one-year grace period at the end of the term, so a recall wouldn't be allowed.

Kiefert was facing petitions over his vote to remove Representative Luke Simons (R) over "his alleged inappropriate behavior, which included 'creepy comments to female legislators and staffers."

Petitioners needed 1764 signatures in one year to get the recall on the ballot. It is led by District 24 GOP Treasurer Shane Anderson. The local party (but not the state party) censured Kiefert over his vote, which they claimed he was owed due process. In disagreement was the rest of the legislature, which voted by more than two-thirds to kick Simons out.

Apparently, Kiefert is expecting recalls against other House Republicans who voted to kick Simons out. There is an unofficial "ultra-conservative Bastiat Caucus" in the legislature, which included Simons and former state Representative and local party chairman Dan Johnston. 

Michigan: Third petition attempt approved against three Alma commissioners

The third recall petitions against Alma Vice Mayor Roxann Herrington and Commissioners Nick Piccolo and Audra Stahl, has been approved. A judge overturned an Election Commission ruling approving holding that the language was not factually accurate (and the Election Commission rejected another). The recall is over a vote that will allow a former nursing home to be converted into a temporary shelter for young male refugees. Petitioners will now need to submit a revised petition.

Petitioners will need 745 signatures in 60 days.

Oregon: Newberg School Board members facing petitions over Superintendent firing

Newberg School Board members Dave Brown and Brian Shannon are facing petitions over the firing of the Superintendent. Petitioners claim that they have enough signatures for Shannon. 

Ohio: Hudson Mayor recall effort "paused"

The recall effort against Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert has been paused. The recall was after he called for school board members to resign or face criminal charges for allowing the book "642 Things to Write About" to be assigned. The claim is that the book has prompts that are child pornography, an argument that the county prosecutor has rejected. Three school board members were recently reelected. Petitioners would have needed 3095 signatures to get on the ballot.

Alaska: Petition language approved against a third Anchorage Assembly member

Petition language has been approved in another recall attempt against Anchorage Assembly Member Jamie Allard.  The recall efforts is over the same reasons that the recall elections against Assembly member Meg Zaletel and Assembly Chair Felix Rivera got on the ballot (both of them easily beat back the recalls): 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). Petitioners seem to be opposed to masking requirements. There is a fourth reason based on an odd open meeting violation (Allard replied to all Assembly members in an email).

Allard actually voted against the requirements but is still being targeted by the same group.

Petitioners needed 2530 signatures. 

Allard previously faced a recall effort that failed after she posted on Facebook defending vanity license plates with the words "fuhrer" and "3reich." Allard also alleged wrote that the words "are simply German words with no offensive connotation." She also said alleged wrote that "progressives have put a spin on it and created their own definition." 

Governor Mike Dunleavy has since removed Allard from the state's Human Rights Commission. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Op-ed in the Hill on expanding the recall to the presidency

Here by Douglas Mackinnion -- not much chance of it passing. 

Hawaii: Signatures to be handed in for Maui Mayor recall

Petitioners are going to hand in over 22,000 signatures against Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino over mandates designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners have also claimed some other issues (water needs/housing/transparency), but the story suggests that it is clearly a COVID recall.

Petitioners need 21,586 signatures (20% of registereds) in 30 days. 

I do not know of a single recall that has gotten to the ballot in Hawaii. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Wisconsin: Two Somerset school board members resign in the face of recall vote

Two Somerset School Board members, Patricia Jo Forsberg and Katie Thurmes, resigned in September after a recall was set to get on the ballot. The recall was over their support for actions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Wisconsin: Sparta School Board member resigns over threats

Sparta School Board member Eric Solberg resigned after being targeted in a recall over his vote to reinstate a mask mandate to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Solberg blamed threatening emails about being watched as the reason for his resignation.

Member Nancy Sikorsky is still facing petitions. The vote was 4-2, with the other members in their first year grace period. 

Petitioners need at least 1679 signatures to get on the ballot (though the number may actually be more).

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

California: Recall against Los Angeles City Councilmember (and former Senate President Pro Temp) temporarily dropped

The recall effort against Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon has been temporarily dropped, though it may be brought up in January. The issue is over homeless issues and building tiny home villages. From social media posts, the lead petitioner appears to be from the right. Petitioners need about 20,500 signatures in 120 days.

de Leon is the former State Senate President Pro Temp (before he was term limited) and ran against Dianne Feinstein for the US Senate in 2018. 

de Leon is the third Council member to face a recall threat, as both Mike Bonin and Nithya Raman have been targeted. Homelessness has been cited in both of those cases, though Bonin has been targeted over other reasons before.

Michigan: First petitions against Lansing City Councilmember rejected

The first petition filed against Lansing City Councilman Brandon Betz has been rejected by the Election Commission due to clarity issues. The recall effort is over vulgar text messages he sent to a Black activist.  Betz has been stripped of committee assignments and "asked to consider resigning by the Ingham County Democratic Party." Petitioner needs about 2500 signatures to get on the ballot. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Michigan: Language approved in recall against Sidney Township Board Member

Petitions have been approved against Sidney Township Board member Jed Welder. This was the third attempt to get the language approved. The issue was a vote in favor of a wind farm. 

Washington: Pierce County Sheriff facing recall threats

There's new discussion about a recall effort against Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer following a an indictment for a misdemeanor criminal charges of false reporting and making a false statement and a report from a former US attorney. Troyer allegedly followed a Black newspaper delivery man around his neighborhood, then called 911 an claimed the delivery man threatened to kill him.  Petitioners would need 105.831 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Washington is a Malfeasance Standard state, so a judge would have to sign off on the petitions. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Missouri: St. Louis Alderman facing recall effort

St. Louis Alderman John Collins-Muhammad is facing a recall effort over his support for an $81 million development proposal. Petitioners need about 1300 signatures. 

The last successful recall was against Alderman Tom Bauer in 2005 (there have been four successful ones). Collins-Muhammad and Alderman Brandon Bosley tried a recall effort against former Mayor Lyda Krewson, but no signatures were handed in.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Arizona: Four Scottsdale School Board Members facing petitions

Four Scottsdale School Board members, Jann-Michael Greenburg, Julie Cieniawski, Libby Hart-Wells and Patty Beckman,  are facing recall petitions for their votes in favor of masking mandates to protect children from the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners need 20,935 by December 18 to get on the ballot.

Petitioners have also called for Greenburg to resign after he has been accused (by them)  of having a google drive with information about some of the parents leading the recall effort. 


Colorado: Signatures handed in for Weld (Windsor-Severance) School Board members

Petitioners have handed in over 6500 (3250 per candidate) signatures for the recall of  Weld (or Windsor-Severance) School Board President Jennifer Lieber and Director Regan Price. Petitioners need 3120 signatures to get on the ballot. If signatures are rejected, petitioners have three days to cure. A recall would be scheduled for March or April if they get enough signatures.

The issues seems to be focused the school board's adoption of masking protocols to protect against the coronavirus pandemic, though there are other generic complaints about transparency as well. 

Update: Lieber resigned in November. Petitioners did not hand in enough valid signatures to get Price on the ballot, as they turned in 3160, but only 2315 were found valid.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

California: Petitioners hand in over 39,000 signatures in Los Angeles Councilmember recall

Petitioners have submitted over 39,000 signatures for the recall against Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin on the ballot. Petitioners need about 27,000 signatures by November 10.

This recall attempt is supposedly over the homeless issues, though petitioners were previously talking about his support for the shutdowns to prevent further damage from the coronavirus pandemic. Bonin previously faced a recall effort in 2017-2018 over his road diet plan -- the DOT's removal of 9.4 miles of traffic lanes to prevent pedestrian deaths. 

Bonin is up for re-election in December, with a primary in June. If the recall got on the ballot, the vote would likely take place in April or May, though that would not effect the re-election vote in June. Bonin won his 2017 re-election run with 71% of the vote.

The last recall in Los Angeles was Councilman Art Snyder, who survived the vote in 1984. The last one to result in removal was Councilman Meade McClanahan in 1946. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Oregon: Some signatures in Yamhill County commissioner recall may be tossed out over possible error

Some signatures collected in the Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer recall effort over possible errors in the firm. Petitioners handed in 8903 signatures and need 6873. 1500 of these signatures were on e-sheets that needed the written approval by the county clerk's office. The issue is still being debated.

The recall is over ending development of a trail and demanding a special election for Urban Renewal District. Three past commissioners, including the commissioner who Berschauer defeated, support the effort.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

California: San Francisco District Attorney Recall makes the ballot; Scheduled for June 7, 2022

The recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has gotten on the ballot, with petitioners handing over 83,484 signatures and needing 51,325 valids. There is no word on how many signatures were valid (they used a statistical sampling method of 4174 signatures and found that it would meet the requirement). The recall election has been set for the June 7th primary date. There is no replacement race. The mayor would select any replacement. 

This (and the three school board officials scheduled for February) are the first recalls in San Francisco since 1983. This would be the second recall of a District Attorney in California in two years, as the Sonoma County DA survived a vote on September 14. That may have been the first recall of a District Attorney in California since 2001 (in Marin County).

I looked at the recall of District Attorneys in some more depth in this piece in the Recorder and why there are so few D.A. recalls in the US.

District Attorney recalls are quite unusual. Until the Sonoma County D.A., I counted only four recalls against attorney positions in 10 years (with one other official resigning). The only one that took place in California was in 2013 against San Bernardino City Attorney Jim Penman. Penman, who represented the city but did not try criminal cases like a District Attorney, lost the vote. 

 One book that looks at recalls in California until 1930 mentions notes that there was only one District Attorney recall that led to an ouster up to that point, the Kern County D.A. in 1917. A San Francisco D.A. also faced a recall in 1917, but he survived the vote easily. 

Notably, there are fewer District Attorneys, usually only one per jurisdiction, as opposed to the multi-member city councils and other legislative bodies. District Attorneys usually faced less controversy and were more the crusading "tough on crime" types. But since the 2017 Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner election, there has been a change in who has run for the office. The Boudin recall (and the attempt against Los Angeles D.A. George Gascon) appears to be a reaction to this success.

The recall (San Franciscans for Public Safety) is led by local Democrats Mary Jung (the former chair of the local Democratic Party) and Andrea Shorter. The pro-recall side has raised about $1.6 million, while the anti-recall forces have raised about $800,000.

A first recall effort against Boudin failed, with petitioners claiming that they were1714 signatures short (though that is before verification, so it could be a lot less).

This first recall was led by former Republican Mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg (though Greenberg said he was replaced as head of the effort). It was considered the "Republican" recall. The recall is 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. 

Michigan: Judge overrules Election Commission, tossing out petitions against three Alma commissioners

A judge overturned an Election Commission ruling approving petitions language against Alma Vice Mayor Roxann Herrington and Commissioners Nick Piccolo and Audra Stahl, holding that the language was not factually accurate. The recall is over a vote that will allow a former nursing home to be converted into a temporary shelter for young male refugees. Petitioners will now need to submit a revised petition.

Petitioners will need 745 signatures in 60 days.

Nebraska: Leyton School Board recall set for January 11

A recall election date has been set for Leyton School Board President Suzy Ernest and Secretary Roland Rushman on January 11, 2022. Petitioners needed 138 signatures, they got 138 on the dot for Ernest and 148 for Rushman. 

The recall seems to be about placing a Superintendent on paid leave without board approval (the superintendent is now back in office), offering an interim superintendent a contract (that person is now facing child abuse charges) and signing an asbestos removal bid before a board vote. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Massachusetts: Monterey voters looking for recall

Monterey's voters are asking for an recall provision (which requires the legislature to allow it). Select Board member John Weingold is one target of recall proponents, which can current be launched with signatures from 15% of residents.  The complaint is over repeated claims of a hostile work environment. 

There is accusations of an official crossing off names from the petition. 

Note this stat on recalls in Massachusetts. I'll have to look into this: 

"Beyond all of this, there are facts, and former Town Clerk Barbara Swann — who noted her doctorate in political anthropology and 30 years studying politics in this town — wanted everyone to know what they were getting into with this election recall, should it be approved. 

Out of 351 communities in the state, 170 have the recall law, she said, and 47 have had recall elections since 2010. Of those that held recalls, 19 were tabled, and only five officials were defeated. 

 “So you have a 50-50 chance even if you get the signatures [for the recall petition],” Swann said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. If it does, our state would be moving ahead on many things.”

More on School Board recalls

Lots more on the school Board recalls and more -- including news that Democrat is State Senator Scott Weiner has backed the recall against the SF School Board.

Michigan: Petitions taken out against Lansing City Councilmember

Petitions have been filed against Lansing City Councilman Brandon Betz over vulgar text messages he sent to a Black activist.  Betz has been stripped of committee assignments and "asked to consider resigning by the Ingham County Democratic Party." Petitioner needs about 2500 signatures to get on the ballot. 

Wisconsin: Stevens Point School Board recall effort fails

The recall effort against Stevens Point School Board members Ann Vang, Barbara Portzen, Christina Scott, Gee Pope and Jeffrey Ebel failed. with petitioners unable to turn in the 7033 signatures needed. The recall was over their support for policies looking to protect the schools from the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan: Petitions approved against two Scio Officials

The recall petitions have finally been approved against Scio Township Supervisor Will Hathaway  and Jane Vogel on the second try. Petitioners need 2439 signatures to get each of the officials on the ballot. The recall seems to be about a vote to double Hathaway's salary. There was also a recall effort against Trustees Alec Jerome, though no word on what happened to that one.

Nebraska: Alvo refuses to schedule recall election against two village board members

A lawsuit has been filed against Alvo after the town board voted 5-0 against scheduling a recall for Board Members Larry Langer and Robin LaPage (both of whom voted). The recall seems to be over a tire scrapeyard, which was previously owned by Langer.

California: Chico Mayor and Councilmember facing petitions

Petitions are being taken out against Chico Mayor Andrew Coolidge and Council member Sean Morgan. The issues seems to be a hodgepodge of complaints about spending and behavior, though Morgan suggests that the petitioners are in favor of widespread cannabis dispensaries and needle distribution. Petitioners need 2424 signatures in 90 days against Morgan.

California: Three Lucia Mar School Board Trustees recall efforts fail

The recall effort against Lucia Mar School Board Trustees Don Stewart, Colleen Martin and Dee Santoshas failed, with petitioners not handing in any signatures (they claim to have gotten 6000 a piece). They needed 8302. The recall was over the board's policies to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners claim that the board took too long in reopening, while the board has said they simply followed state guidelines.

California: Manteca Mayor recall effort fails to turn first stage of signatures

The recall effort against Mateca Mayor Ben Cantu failed its first step, with petitioners not turning in signatures from 20 registered voters and an affidavit of notice of service. The recall is over a kitchen sink of complaints about poor hiring, lawsuits and homeless issues.

Cantu previously faced a recall effort over municipal financial issues and the replacement of the City Manager, who then fired the police chief.

Petitioners would need 7687 signatures to get on the ballot.

Manteca last had a recall in 1982, when three council members were kicked out.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Michigan: Sand Lake Trustee kicked out in recall over social media policy; Two other officials facing recall efforts

Sand Lake Village Trustee Rachel Gokey was kicked out of office on Election Day, beat by Jack Christensen, 88-29. The recall was launched over her refusal to sign the council's social media policy. 

Trustees Marcia Helton and Stacy Rudicil are facing recall efforts over votes on the paying a special assessment to the Kent County Drain Commission and (for Rudicil) voting to end the DPW Supervisor's employment contract. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Kansas: Nemaha School Board member appears to survive recall vote

It looks like Nemaha School Board member Amy Sudbeck survived a November 2 recall vote, 15-68. The recall was over her support for continued masking policy to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners handed in 8 valid signatures -- they only needed 5. 

Kansas is a Malfeasance Standard state, so petitioners are claiming that Sudbeck prevented them from making healthcare decisions for their children. 

Wisconsin: All four Mequon-Thiensville Board of Ed members easily survive recall vote

All four Mequon-Thiensville Board of Education members easily survived their recall vote on November 2. Wendy Francour beat Cheryle Rebholz (58.75-41.20%), Chris Schultz defeated Scarlett Johnson (58.93-41.05%), Akram Khan beat Kristopher Kittell (58.16-41.76%)  and Erik Hollander defeated Charles Lorenz (59.85-40.11%).

The recall was over distance learning plans to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Though the plans were for the last school year, and petitioners had an election in April, they seemed to focus on it now due to what they claim are results published from opening meeting request. 

Petitioners needed about 4200 signatures in 60 days.

Missouri: Nixa Mayor survives recall vote

Nixa Mayor Brian Steele overwhelmingly survived his recall election with 75% in his favor (808-2458). Turnout was much higher than Steele's original victory (he won 648-19). The recall was over Steele's support for the city's mask mandate to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners handed in 97 signatures, with 73 valid. They needed 67.  The recall cost was estimated to be $10,000-$15,000.