Thursday, March 28, 2024

Wisconsin: Second recall attempt against Assembly Speaker

After seeming to fail on their first attempt, petitioners are now launching another recall effort against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

The previous attempt is still in the courts over claims of fraudulently signed names. The Wisconsin Election Commission announced that the first recall will not make the ballot, as petitioners seem to have fallen 945 signatures short. They handed in 11,000 and needed about 7K, so that is a really bad result -- unless due a new question about the districting (which the Supreme Court is now going to rule on). Vos is claiming that there were 300-400 duplicates and half the signatures came from outside the eligible area.

The Daily Kos has a good explanation for the challenge of deciding what district Vos is a part of (this is after the old districts were tossed out by the State Supreme Court). 

Vos, a long-time fixture of this blog, is facing the recall over his refusal to support Trump during the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election results and the decision to drop impeachment efforts against Wisconsin's Election Commission Chair Meagan Wolfe as she has refused to push for the discredited claims of election fraud.

Vos almost lost in 2022 after refusing to back the election fraud claims. Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who has previously targeted Vos, had called for his recall if he didn't support the impeachment of Wolfe. 

New Jersey: Toms River pulls back law that was facing recall effort

A law to restructure Toms Rivers Police Department and hire EMTs was voted down by the council (though the mayor is pushing ahead with the plan). Over 5000 signatures were handed in to push for a recall of the law, they needed 3000.

UK: Scottish Parliament considers recall

The Scottish Parliament is now considering adopting a recall bill, following the revelation that former Health Secretary Michael Matheson racked up an 11K pound bill for roaming charges on his iPad during a vacation. Matheson refuses to resign.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

UK: Another MP resigns in the face of recall effort

One more MP is gone thanks to the recall. MP Scott Benton (Conservative) resigned after being suspended for telling an undercover reporter he'd break lobbying rules for money. Benton has a 35 day suspension ahead and has already been suspended from the Conservative Party. The seat is a close one, so not a good sign for the Conservatives (Labour has done well in recent recalls). Petitioners needed over 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

As with other recalls in UK, a suspension of 10 days from Parliament leads to the ability to start a recall petition. If enough signatures are gathered, the official is automatically removed and a by-election is scheduled. 

California: Petitions approved against California Governor

Petitions have been approved in another recall attempt against California Governor Gavin Newsom. This time focused on the budget deficit and Newsom's role as a campaign surrogate for President Joe Biden. This is the seventh attempt filed against Newsom (including the recall he defeated). 

Petitioners would need 1,311,963 signatures by September 3 to get to the ballot. This is significantly less than the 1,495,709 needed last time (the reason for the drop off is a drop off in voting for governor between the 2018 and 2022 races. The number needed is 12% of turnout).

Newsom is nowhere near the record holder for recall attempts agianst. Unsurprisingly, Jerry Brown is the California State Record holder, with 12 (including AG recall attempts). The Duke (Deukmejian) had 11, Wilson had 8, Schwarzenegger had 7. The immortal Cuthbert Olsen had 5, Pat Brown 3 and Gray Davis only had 3. Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Bird had 9 -- but was kicked out in retention election, not a recall.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Virgin Islands: Supreme Court tosses lawsuit by former Senator over whether official can be expelled absent a recall

The Virgin Islands Supreme Court has tossed out a lawsuit by former Senator Steven Payne Sr. who was expelled for sexual harassment. Payne argued that he could only be removed by a recall vote. 

California: UC Santa Barbara Student Body President facing recall effort led by anti-Semitic groups

UC Santa Barbara Student Body President Tessa Veksler, who has faced a wave of anti-Semitic comments by supporters of the October 7th massacre of Jews, is facing a recall effort. Petitioners need signatures from 10% of voters 327 signatures).

Update: Petitioners handed in 844 signatures, but the recall effort was rejected by the Senate. 

Louisiana: Petitions set to be taken out against St. Tammany Parish Coroner

With St. Tammany Parish Coroner Christopher Tape refusing to step down before his term begins, petitioners are now claiming that they will start a recall effort against him. Tape is facing the recall threat over sex abuse allegations that were dismissed in 2003 over a claim of a violation of a right to a speedy trial. Tape was fired by the previous coroner over claims of violating the confidentiality policy.

Petitioners would need more than 37,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

10 years ago, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan resigned during recall efforts over theft.

Michigan: New petitions taken out against Marquette Area Public School Board members

New petitions have been taken out against Marquette Area Public School Board Member Jennifer Klipp and Jennifer Ray over their vote to remove the high school team nicknames Redmen and Redette, due to their offensive nature. The petition is officially about complaint about expenses, though it seems to be about the name change. Petitioners need 3697 signatures to get on the ballot.

An earlier petition failed to get out of the clarity/factualness hearing. 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Wisconsin: Assembly Speaker Vos continues to assail recall effort, Supreme Court to weigh in

There are now claims that the recall effort against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has fraudulently signed names, as Vos is once again pushing to change the recall law to a malfeasance standard/judicial recall one. 

The Wisconsin Election Commission announced that the recall against  will not make the ballot, as petitioners seem to have fallen 945 signatures short. They handed in 11,000 and needed about 7K, so that is a really bad result -- unless due a new question about the districting (which the Supreme Court is now going to rule on). Vos is claiming that there were 300-400 duplicates and half the signatures came from outside the eligible area.

The Daily Kos has a good explanation for the challenge of deciding what district Vos is a part of (this is after the old districts were tossed out by the State Supreme Court). 

Nebraska: October recall leads to surprising results, as ousted officials appointed to other city jobs

The October 10 recall of Brownville Trustees Natisha Helmick-Winkelman and Terry Vice and the resignation of Trustee Bailey Bindle has led to some interesting results. The two ousted members were appointed to newly created jobs (parks superintendent and utility superintendent and deputy clerk), which is seen as an insult to the residents (the town 140 people).

The issue for the recall was the departure of the water operator and the replacement with Winkelman as well as members being paid $25/hour for village tasks.

Colorado: Two Cherokee Metro District Board set for recall vote on June 4

Recalls against two Cherokee Metropolitan District Board members, Steve Hasbrouck and Linda Keleher, have gotten to the June 4 ballot as a standalone special election. The issue is water quality (the hardness of water wearing out household appliances). 

Petitioners handed in 437 signatures, and (apparently) 428 were verified. Petitioners needed 300.

Ohio: Petitions taken out against University Heights Mayor

Petitions have been taken out against University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan. Petitioners claim it is over inappropriate behavior and defamation as well as a host of other complaints. Brennan argues that it is over the celebration of Juneteenth, which he claims are pushing to turn it into "Diversity Day" while Brennan notes that Juneteenth is a federal holiday, though petitioners deny this.

Petitioners need 1177 signatures in 100 days. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

California: LA Times editorial complains about "undemocratic" recall law

The LA Times is banging the drum on the "undemocratic" nature of the recall -- that the Governor and other state officials can be replaced by someone who wins with a smaller vote total than the official they are replacing and calling for the adoption of a Constitutional Amendment to change the law. The amendment would use either the automatic replacement/by-law replacement (the Lieutenant Governor steps in when there is the removal of the Gov) or what apparently is now seen as the vastly more democratic model of having the governor appoint a replacement. If the governor is removed in the first two years, there's a special election after some time; if it is the last two years, then the LG serves out the term. The special would be an additional cost that takes place after the recall -- which may actually result in even lower turnout. 

As I've written before, this is just begging for disaster. First, it can lead to targeted recalls to remove an official and have an automatic replacement take over without the challenging of running for the seat. In California, where the LG is separately elected (and, prior to the 2000s, frequently from the other party), there may be a desire to test this. The other very likely option would be a multi-official recall, so no appointment will work (and it can just float down to the legislature or lower). If you believe this is unlikely, note that in Wisconsin, the Lieutenant Governor faced just such a recall simply under the concern that the law would be used in such a way that the LG would move up to the Governor's seat in case of a recall. 

One model that is not discussed that would I would recommend to solve the problem is the Queen of the Hill rules that Idaho uses. Under that scenario, the recall does not succeed unless the vote total tops the vote received by the official in the original election. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

California: Woodland School Board Member ousted in Primary Day recall

We still don't have final numbers, but it seems clear that Woodland School Board Member Emily McDonald was ousted in the March 5 recall -- so far it is 892-510. The recall is over statements she made opposing the school's on transgender policy.

Petitioners handed in 1349 signatures (not sure how many were verified) and got 1078. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

California: Alameda DA backers claim signature fraud in recall effort

Following the report that the signature counting is still ongoing, there are now accusations of signature fraud by backers of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. The claims of fraud seem to be focused on non-county petition gatherers (which may be why the recall did not make the ballot and is likely an unconstitutional measure), petitions being left unattended and luring signers to sign an unrelated petition. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Idaho: Kamiah Mayor recall makes the ballot

The recall of Kamiah Mayor Betty Heater has made the ballot. The issue is complaints of fiscal mismanagement and lack of administrative control. No word on timing or how many signatures were needed.

Kamiah faced a recall effort against Councilmembers in 2019 due to their opposition to Heater. The recalls failed due to an administrative ruling after signatures were handed in.

Oklahoma: Enid Commissioner recall scheduled for April 2

The upcoming recall of Enid City Commissioner Judd Blevins has been scheduled for April 2. Cheryl Patterson is running against him.

Petitioners handed in almost 350 signatures and needed a little over 200. They seemed to have gotten 276 valids. 

The recall is over claims that he was the state coordinator for a white nationalist group (Identity Evropa, which was renamed American Identity Movement) and whether he was at the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally. Blevins apologized at a November 21 meeting where the council tabled a censure motion and disavowed any racist group, though he seems to be taking a very different approach now.

Canada: Alberta Recall rules facing complaints and discussion of changes

Alberta's Government is discussing potential changes to the recall law, with Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam, who is facing a recall and is president of Alberta Municipalities, calling for a malfeasance standard. 

Currently, petitioners need to pay $500 and collect 40% of signatures in 60 days. There are grace periods for 18 months after a victory and January 1 to election on the year of the election.

In addition to a malfeasance standard, there is some discussion that the 40% signature rule is too low in small towns. 

So far only one recall has gotten to the ballot, in Ryley, where the official did not stand for the election, and there has been 11 attempts. 

Nebraska: Two Brule Village Board Members survive vote

Brule Village Board Members Michael Gibson and Brian McNeff survived a March 12 recall vote, with 60 percent in their favors. Three board members resigned last year.

The recall was alleged to be about a kitchen sink of complaints including disliking officials and jeopardizing water testing. McNeff claimed it was an attempt to prevent an investigation of the village clerk. The village defaulted on a bond payment which McNeff blamed on the clerk (who has since resigned).

California: Supertight race in Shasta County won't be decided till March 22 -- Supervisor currently surviving recall

The recall results in Shasta County will have to wait until March 22 before new numbers are announced. Currently, Supervisor Kevin Crye is surviving the recall by what looks like 56 votes (4527-4573) with about 900 still to be counted. 

The recall is over the vote to cancel a voting systems contract with Dominion Voting and requiring handcounting, which will cost the county millions. This is part of the fight in Shasta and Crye seems to be connected to the far right groups, one of whom led the successful recall of Supervisor Leonard Moty.

The recall got the ballot after petitioners handed in 5104 signatures and 4929 were verified. They need 4151 valids to get on the ballot. Supervisors questioned the small rejection rate.  

Supporters in Shasta County asked that Governor Gavin Newsom not appoint a replacement if Crye is ousted in a recall and instead allow the voters to choose. As a reminder, in 2022, the state changed the law for local officials who lose a recall election. In that case (unless there is a local law from a charter city), the new law eliminates a replacement election and instead uses an automatic replacement model (with the governor or a specified body making the choice of replacements). The law also explains why there is such a long timeframe until the recall is held (it allows a longer timeframe to tie recalls to general election dates).

Florida: Petitions taken out against Coral Gables mayor

Petitions have been taken out against Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago following the firing of the City Manager and complaints by a commissioner of a "cesspool of public corruption." Lago opposed the ouster of the City Manager. An election last year of two opposition Commissioners has put Lago on the outs with the majority of the commission.

Lago has been the subject of Miami Herald investigative pieces of his ties to a developer who is the subject of federal investigations.

Texas: Dallas City Council member facing recall threats

Dallas City Council member Jaynie Schultz is facing recall threats about her support for a redevelopment project. Petitioners need about 7200 signatures to make the ballot. 

Michigan: Fourth Recall attempt filed against Flint Council President

Once more into the breech in Flint, as a fourth recall effort was filed against Flint Council President Ladel Lewi

In February, petitioners handed in 1099 signatures and needed 751. They got 629 valids, (strangely they originally had 574 -- not clear what happened).

An earlier effort said petitioners missed out by 63 signatures. 1022 were handed in and 722 were validated. They needed 785. However, the clerk's office originally misplaced six pages, which led to a second count and the close numbers. 

Previously, the recall of Flint Councilmember Eva Worthing has gotten on the ballot, as petitioners handed in 546 valid signatures and needed 510. The recall is scheduled for May 7. 

There have also been attempted recalls against Dennis Pfeiffer, Eric Mays and Judy Priestley (with two filed against Priestly). Herkenroder already announced that she is resigning her seat. No word on the other efforts.

The recall is over claims that Mays and another councilmember called a meeting that they others did not attend over the question of applying for a community grant program funding. Mays has also been charged with disorderly conduct for conduct at the council meetings that has apparently gone viral.

There is also claims about approving a Brownfield Plan.

California: Sunol Glen School Board members recall makes the ballot

The recall effort against Sunol Glen School Board Trustees Ryan Jergensen and Linda Hurley has made the ballot and is scheduled as a special election on July 2. The recall is after the board voted to limit the school to only flying US or California state flags. The school flew a pride flag during Pride Month. 

Petitioners handed in 307 signatures for Jergensen and got 300 valids; 306 handed in for Hurley, with 301 valids. They needed 246 signatures to get on the ballot.

Update: A judge rejected an attempt to throw out the recall.

California: Two Orange Unified School Board members ousted in recall vote

While we're still waiting for the final numbers, Orange Unified School Board members Madison Klovstad Miner (27,369-23,877) and Rick Ledesma (27,472-23,659) have both lost their races with down 53-47%. The recall is over the firing of the school superintendent with no explanation.

The school board members are part of a conservative 4-3 majority and the firing was over complaints about policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and critical race theory.

Friday, March 15, 2024

California: Alameda County Reports District Attorney Signatures need to go to full handcount

Alameda County Registrar of Voters has announced that a random sampling method of checking the signatures in the Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price recall effort has not led to a conclusive answer on whether they have enough signatures to make the ballot. The Registrar will now be counting by hand (Props to the Registrar's office for handling it during an election!). However, this leads to some questions. 

Petitioners handed in 123,374 signatures and they need 73,195 valids. Alameda Charter required that the signatures be fully counted in 10 days. The state law for localities (though not for state-level officials) allows for the sample method -- however, Alameda does not seem to have any such provision. Alameda's Measure B, adopting this law (full discussion of what the law does here), seems to be passing, but it is not official and therefore would not appear to be operative. It's not clear to me why they were allowed to do the sampling method, but it's possible that no one will challenge, so that is that. 

The random sampling method that the state uses -- and presumably Alameda uses, though it is not spelled out in the press release -- takes place when there are more than 500 signatures submitted for the recall. Clerks take a 5% sampling of the signatures and determine the number of valid signatures handed in. They then extrapolate -- they multiply the verification rate by the number of total signatures. If the number that comes out leads to valid signatures that would top 110 percent of the minimum number (I believe that would be 80,515 -- 110% X 73,195), the recall automatically qualifies and moves to the ballot. If it is below 90 percent (I believe 65,876), it automatically fails.

If it falls in the golden zone between 90-110 percent, they then hand-verify each signature. Note that the Sonoma County D.A. recall came in at 108%, requiring the manual recount and the LA District Attorney recall came in at 99%. The Sonoma one made the ballot (though the DA easily survived the vote), the LA one ultimately failed

Unfortunately, the memo doesn't provide any guidance on how many signatures were checked or what was the verification rate in their sampling method. The LA County Registrar provided this detail -- perhaps it will show up. It also doesn't explain if they tossed out signatures from out-of-county gatherers, which may explain the high failure rate. If so, that very well may be overturned by the courts, due to the Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. ACLF. Note that recalls are considered a ballot measure by California rules (though not by any case that I know of -- the question is an important for campaign finance issues). 

It sounds like they will take 30 days to count from here, though again, the charter seems to be very different. Note that according to the existing charter, the petitioners may have a 10 day cure period (the language is unclear) if the signatures don't meet the requirements. 

If the pre-existing law is used, it does not appear to allow for a signature strike, whereby signers can withdraw their signature from the petitions (that law was adopted in 2017). Couldn't tell you how it'll play out though. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Wisconsin: Election Commission announces Assembly Speaker recall fails

The Wisconsin Election Commission has announced that the recall against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos will not make the ballot, as petitioners seem to have fallen 945 signatures short. The handed in 11,000 and needed about 7K, so that is a really bad result -- unless due a new question about the districting. The Daily Kos has a good explanation for the challenge of deciding what district Vos is a part of (this is after the old districts were tossed out by the State Supreme Court). 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Wisconsin: Signatures handed in against Wisconsin Assembly Speaker

Petitioners are claiming that they handed in enough signatures to get the recall of Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) on the ballot. They handed in over 11,000 signatures and needed about 7K. Note that Wisconsin has a peculiar law that allows any eligible voter to sign (history discussed here), so there is no requirement that the voter has to be registered (which should make it easier to make the ballot, but I'm not sure that holds true).

Vos, a long-time fixture of this blog, is facing the recall over his refusal to support Trump during the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election results and the decision to drop impeachment efforts against Wisconsin's Election Commission Chair Meagan Wolfe as she has refused to push for the discredited claims of election fraud.

Vos almost lost in 2022 after refusing to back the election fraud claims. Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who has previously targeted Vos, had called for his recall if he didn't support the impeachment of Wolfe. 

A recent court decision has held that the legislature does not have the power to impeach Wolfe.

You have selected Regicide:

Vos would be the sixth (or seventh!) state legislative leader to face a recall vote. The first was California Senate President Pro Tempore David Roberti in 1994. The second was Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon in 2008. The fourth was Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald in 2012. All three of these officials won their races easily.

The third was Arizona Majority Leader Russell Pearce who was kicked out of office on November 2011 in a bitter recall battle over immigration and other issues. Perhaps worth noting is that Pearce lost to a Republican.

The fifth was Colorado President John Morse, who lost over his support for gun control legislation following the Aurora Movie Theater/Dark Knight mass shooting. Morse lost the race, but the Democrats have only gained in the years since. 

There was one other recall of a legislative leader, though the circumstances were so bizarre that it has to be separated out. Without going into too much details about the California recall wars of 1995, Republican Doris Allen backed the Democrats in a closely divided Assembly that had already seen two recall votes. Allen was elected Speaker of the Assembly and served for a little over 3 months, but she stepped down before her recall. She lost her recall race.

California: Oakland Mayor recall claims 13K signatures; Big backer of recall was a major supporter of SF DA one

Ron Conway, a tech billionaire and a major supporter of the San Francisco DA recall, is one of the big backers of the effort against Oakland Mayor Sheng Tao. Petitioners have said that they have collected over 13,000 signatures. They need 24,638. 

The big issue has been crime. Tao has fired the Oakland Police Chief and rejected three possible replacements proposed by a committee. One of the leaders of the recall effort is Alameda County Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte, who served on the Police Commission and was removed by Tao.

Update: More on the funding issue here. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

Oregon: King City Mayor and three councilors ousted

Final results are in and all four King City officials were kicked out. Mayor Jaimie Fender lost with 50.9% against (895-871) and Councilors Kate Mohr (51.5% -- 892-851), Smart Ocholi (50.7% -- 882-871), Laurie Petrie (51.3% -- 901-859), all on the February 13 ballot. The remaining counsel members will have to appoint new members (though there is no quorum).

Petitions were also filed against two other councilors, one of whom, Micha Paulsen, resigned. No signatures were handed in against Marc Manelis after a seeming change of heart.  

The recall is over their vote for a Master Plan and Transportation System Plan, most notably a development plan for Kingston Terrace. One councilor who voted against the Transportation Plan is not facing a recall effort. 

California: Millbrae Councilmembers recall makes the ballot

The recall effort against Millbrae Councilmembers Angelina Cahalan and Maurice Goodman has made the ballot.

The recall seems to be over a plan to convert an Inn to a homeless shelter. 

Florida: Petitions taken out against Sanford Commissioner

Petitions have been taken out against Sanford Commissioner Kerry Wiggins over his vote to purchase a former housing project and turn it into a sports complex. Petitioners claim that Wiggins is neglectful of affordable housing needs. 

Petitioners need 1006 signatures by March 11 for the first stage, then need 15% of the district (which seems like it's around 1500) for the second. 

Texas: No signatures handed in against Dallas Mayor

The recall effort against Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has failed, with no signatures handed in. Petitions were taken out over his party registration switch from Democrat to Republican (after a recent re-election win). Petitioner, a former council candidate, claims to have over 13000 signatures.

Note that the Dallas Mayoralty is a non-partisan election, so Johnson did not run as a member of a party.

Petitioners needed the signatures of 15% of registered voters in the last election in 60 days (103,000 signatures) to get on the ballot. The Secretary of State's office has the county info, so hard to tell how much that is as of yet. The law specifies the city council is subject to a recall, but it notes that the mayor is the 15th city council member (election in the city as a whole). 

Michigan: Signatures handed in against Buchanan City Commissioner

Signatures have been handed in against Buchanan City Commissioner Dan Vigansky over alleged complaints that he called minorities "you people." Vigansky claims that the four other commissioners are part of the recall effort and sees his opposition to a failed school bond issue as a motivating factor.

Petitioners handed in 398 signatures, they need 380 valids.

There is a continuing recall effort against Buchanan Mayor Sean Denison over the indefinite suspension of the City Manager. 

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Georgia: Athens Mayor, Commissioners and Sheriff threatened with recalls

Recalls are being threatened against Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz, 10 District Commissioners and Sheriff John Q. Williams over the high-profile murder of a nursing student by an undocumented Venezuelan immigrant. Georgia is a Malfeasance Standard/Judicial Recall state, so it is not clear that they have the for cause requirement handled.

In 2019, the county issued a statement on welcoming people from all lands and backgrounds as well as denouncing white nationalists and xenophobes. The lead petitioner is apparently well known after being charged in 2016 after he allegedly "became irate when his wife put too much cheese on his grilled cheese sandwich."

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

California: Orange Unified School Board members losing in early recall results

Early results in the Orange Unified School Board recall shows both Madison Klovstad Miner (who helped flip majority control of the board) and Rick Ledesma down 53-47%. The recall is over the firing of the school superintendent with no explanation.

The school board members are part of a conservative 4-3 majority and the firing was over complaints about policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and critical race theory.

Colorado: GOP threatens to recall Secretary of State

Colorado Republicans, including Chairman Dave Williams and Representative Lauren Boebert, are threatening to recall Secretary of State Jena Griswold after the Supreme Court rejected and attempt to prevent Donald Trump from being on the presidential ballot due to a violation of the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment. 

Petitioners would need 636,127 signatures in 60 days. 

Colorado GOP previously used threats for recalls against the Governor and others. It did not go well

California: Some articles with my comments on the Alameda DA Recall (and Measure B)

Here, Here and Here

California: Early Shasta County Supervisor results show recall leading

The early results against Shasta County Supervisor Kevin Crye show the recall leading, 1885-1289.

Update: This one is tightening, but the recall is still in the lead. 

California: Alameda County appears to adopt state's model recall law; unknow impact on the DA recall effort

It looks like Alameda County Measure B, which will change the county's recall law to match the state's local law, will be passing by an overwhelming margin (currently 63% in favor, though it seems like many ballots will still be counted). How the law will impact the recall of Alameda County DA Pamela Price is unknown. It's biggest potential impact is increasing the timeframe until a recall will be held and getting rid of the replacement election and instead having the County Supervisors make that choice. No idea what law will be operative for a potential DA recall though. 

Canada: Op-ed denounces Calgary Mayoral recall as anti-democratic

Here's an op-ed denouncing the recall effort against Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, with the author complaining that the recall is anti-democratic. 

Massachusetts: Marblehead looks to adopt recall provision

Marblehead is voting to ask for a home rule petition to the state legislature which would allow the town to adopt a recall law. The recall law has a very small signature requirement (5% of voters).

Oregon: State Representative who survived recall announces retirement

Following his blowout victory in a recall vote last year, Oregon State Representative Paul Holvey (D) has announced that he is not running for reelection.

Holvey won with over 90% in his favor. The Holvey recall is not a partisan fight, rather it is being launch by one of the most powerful unions in the state, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. Holvey is the Chair of the House Committee on Business and Labor.

The recall is over Holvey's failure to support a bill blocking cannabis employers from interfering with employee efforts to unionize. Holvey believed that it was preempted by federal law. Holvey was a former union representative and he notes that the state's largest union and others are backing Holvey in fighting the recall effort.

Monday, March 4, 2024

California: 123,000 Signatures handed in for the Alameda County District Attorney recall -- is that enough?

Petitioners have announced that they are handing in over 123,000 signatures for the recall of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price and they need 73,195 valids. Are they handing in enough? Recent history suggests that they should succeed, with some room to spare.

I have records of 51 recall efforts where signatures were turned in in California since 2011 (out of 188, of which at least 134 got to the ballot). Among those, all but six seem to have a signature verification rate above 72%, which is quite a bit higher than the 59.5% that it seems the petitioners need for the Price recall (if they actually hand in 123K). The vast majority of the recalls had a signature verification rate above 80%, topping out with a 97% rate for the recent Shasta County recall.

The biggest recalls in the state seem to have a verification rate in the neighborhood of 20%. The 2021 Gubernatorial Recall against Governor Gavin Newsom saw an 81% rate and the 2003 Governor Gray Davis recall saw a rate just over 82%.

In San Francisco, where they used a statistical sampling method to test the signatures, the rate for District Attorney Chesa Boudin was 79% and for three school board members it was 80-81% verified.

In the largest recall outside of the gubernatorial one, the 560,000-requirement against Los Angeles District Attorney GeorgeGascon, 72-73% were valid (the lawsuits are still ongoing).

Among other notable recalls: State Senator Josh Newman in 2018 with a 73.6% rate; Santa Clara Judge with a 71.6% rate; Sonoma County District Attorney, also with 74%, and a Los Angeles Councilmember with a 66% success rate.

The most prominent high failure rate that got on the ballot was the 2008 recall against State Senator Jeff Denham, which had a 58.5% success.

In Alameda County, there is very little to work with. The verification rate for the Alameda portion of the Newsom recall was a very high 88% (albeit, not that many signatures handed in). Recalls against a Dublin City Councilmember and School Board member in 2018 did not get to the ballots, but both saw a 76% rate.

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. Once again, the random sampling method found 25.4 percent invalid (74.60 percent were verified).

We’ve seen some pretty crazy recalls with very high signature failure rates, most notably in New Orleans, where they handed in photo copied duplicates. But that seems to be the exception.

As we can see, failure rates are the norm. 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 or have a wrong address, to signing more than once to signatures not matching, to registering late to living out of district or state or (in rarer instances) using fake names. We probably should just expect the same here.

We have two potential complicating factors. One is that the Alameda County Ballot Measure B would increase the signature requirement to get on the ballot. Presumably, it would not impact this effort (one of the reasons the petitioners are handing it in the day before the ballot measure goes to a vote), but perhaps that would be challenged.

The other factor is Price’s campaign charge that out-of-district petition gatherers are not allowed under Alameda law. This is what the law says, but the U.S. Supreme Court may have overturned this limitation, when it held a similar law related to ballot measures unconstitutional. It is presumed that a similar challenge would fail here, but that’s not certain at all.

So as of right now, and barring court decisions, it would take an extraordinarily poor effort for these signatures not to meet the threshold to get a recall on the ballot.