North Dakota school board members removed in recall election

An election to recall two Williams County Public School District No. 8 school board members in North Dakota was approved by voters on February 25. Board President Penny Soiseth and Vice President Curt Sullivan were both removed from office, and Chris Jundt and Sarah Williams were elected to replace them.

Jundt and Williams support dissolving the district and said they were frustrated with the lack of board transparency as well as a plan to secure $12 million to expand Williston High School. They also said the board had chosen not to listen to district residents.

Soiseth said they had listened to district residents. “We’ve had five town hall meetings where people could come in and they could say what they wanted to say. They did have the ability to reach out to us, and I had very few people reach out to me. Transparency, anything that the board has talked about, I have portrayed,” Soiseth said.

Jundt submitted the recall petition on November 4, 2019, with 45 signatures. To get the recall election on the ballot, 24 valid signatures were required.

Ballotpedia has tracked nine school board recall efforts targeting 26 board members in 2020. The Williams County school board recall election was the first to be held this year. A second school board recall election is being held on June 2.

In 2019, Ballotpedia covered a total of 151 recall efforts against 230 elected officials. Of the 66 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 34 were recalled for a rate of 52%. That was lower than the 63% rate and 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

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Additional reading:
Recall campaigns in North Dakota
Political recall efforts, 2020
School board recalls