Author

Abbey Smith

Abbey Smith is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Filing deadline for Detroit elections is April 20

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Detroit, Michigan, is on April 20. Prospective candidates may file for the following nonpartisan offices:

• Mayor

• City Council (9 seats)

• Clerk

• Board of Police Commissioners (7 seats)

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 3 and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

All 18 offices up for election in 2021 were last up for election in 2017. Mayor Mike Duggan won re-election against one opponent in the general election with 71.6% of the vote. City Clerk Janice Winfrey also won election to a new term that year, as did eight of the nine city council members who ran for re-election. Three of the seven members of the Board of Police Commissioners also won re-election.

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan and the 19th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

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District court allows recall effort against New Mexico county commissioner to move forward

New Mexico Twelfth District Judge Manuel Arrieta ruled in favor of an effort to recall Couy Griffin (R) from his position as the District 2 representative on the Otero County Commission on April 8. If Griffin does not appeal the decision to a higher court, recall supporters will be given 90 days to collect approximately 1,661 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. 

New Mexico allows recalls at the county level for “malfeasance or misfeasance in office or violation of the oath of office by the official concerned.” Those actions must have occurred during the official’s current term of office in order for a recall effort to be approved to circulate petitions.

Recall supporters said Griffin had used the office for personal gain. Griffin said the allegations against him were baseless and politically motivated.

Griffin, who founded the organization Cowboys for Trump, was arrested in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17, for his alleged role in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He was charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority,” according to the Alamogordo Daily News. Griffin was released from federal prison on Feb. 5.

After Griffin was arrested, District 1 Commissioner Gerald Matherly (R) and District 3 Commissioner Vickie Marquardt (R) called for his resignation as did New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D). Griffin said he would not resign. He said he was accused of crimes but not convicted. “I just want those that have already come to the conclusion that I’m guilty, I just again ask you to put the brakes on a little bit and let the legal process take place,” Griffin said.

Griffin was elected to the three-member commission in 2018, defeating Democratic candidate Christopher S. Jones with 65% of the vote.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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Recall against San Francisco school board members approved to circulate petitions

The San Francisco Department of Elections approved petition circulation to begin this week in the effort to recall part of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. Three members—Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga—were named in the recall paperwork. Recall supporters have until September 7 to collect 51,325 signatures.

Recall supporters said they were frustrated that schools in the district remained closed for nearly a year in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also criticized the board for spending time voting to rename 44 district buildings. On February 21, López announced that the board was putting the building renaming on hold in order to focus on re-opening schools.

All three board members named in the recall petitions were first elected to the board on November 6, 2018. They received the most votes in the at-large election and defeated 16 other candidates. The other four members of the board were not eligible for recall at the same time as López, Collins, and Moliga since they had not served in their current terms for six months yet. They were either elected or re-elected to the board on November 3, 2020.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 276 elected officials. Of the 50 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 30 were recalled for a rate of 60%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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New Jersey statewide filing deadline is April 5

The filing deadline to run for elected office in New Jersey is on April 5, 2021. In New Jersey, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:

• Governor

• Lieutenant Governor

• New Jersey State Senate (all 40 seats)

• New Jersey General Assembly (all 80 seats)

Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following counties:

• Essex County

• Hudson County

The primary is scheduled for June 8, and the general election is scheduled for November 2.

New Jersey’s statewide filing deadline is the fifth of six to take place in the 2021 election cycle. The last statewide filing deadline is on May 21 in Washington.

New Jersey has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Democrats have a 25-14 majority with one vacancy in the state Senate and a 52-28 majority in the state House. Democratic Governor Phil Murphy was elected to office in 2017.

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Virginia statewide filing deadline is March 25

The filing deadline to run for elected office in Virginia is on March 25, 2021. In Virginia, prospective candidates may file for the following offices:

  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Attorney General
  • Virginia House of Delegates (all 100 seats)

Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following cities:

  • Chesapeake
  • Norfolk
  • Richmond
  • Virginia Beach

The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 8, the Republican convention is scheduled for May 8, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021.

Virginia’s statewide filing deadline is the fourth to take place in the 2021 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on April 5 in New Jersey.

Virginia has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the House of Delegates with a 55-45 majority and the state Senate with a 21-18 majority with one vacancy. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam was elected in 2017.

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All 5 Idaho school board members retain seats in March 9 recalls

Recall elections in three Idaho school districts—Pocatello-Chubbuck, Idaho Falls, and Nampa—were held on March 9, 2021. A majority of voters in all three school districts voted against the recalls, defeating the efforts and allowing the board members to retain their seats.

Three school board members—Zone 1 representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 representative Dave Mattson—were on the ballot in Pocatello-Chubbuck School District No. 25. The recall effort began in September 2020 after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the issue of hybrid learning and other issues. The school district released a statement saying that the board weighs a number of factors when making decisions and that majority opinion does not always rule.

In Idaho Falls School District 91, Zone 4 representative Elizabeth Cogliati was on the ballot. The recall effort began after the board of trustees voted 3-2 on September 30, 2020, to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction five days a week to a mix of in-person and online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cogliati voted in favor of the change in instruction along with two other board members who were also targeted for recall. The other recall efforts did not make the March 9 ballot. Superintendent George Boland said the goal for the change in instruction was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. Recall supporters said the district’s online classes were low quality and putting students at a disadvantage.

In the Nampa School District, Zone 2 representative Mike Kipp was on the ballot. The recall effort started after Kipp cast the sole dissenting vote against allowing sports to resume during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said that they were not being represented on the board and that their voices had not been heard at board meetings on multiple occasions. In response to the recall effort, Kipp said, “I have done my best to listen well to all input from teachers, students, patrons, our superintendent, other district leaders and all relevant experts. I then seek to utilize that information in determining my vote.”

In order for the recall elections to be successful, two things would have had to happen: 1) a majority of voters would have had to vote in favor of the recall; and 2) the total number of votes cast in favor of recall would have had to be equal or greater than the number of votes that first put the board member in office.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 224 recall efforts against 269 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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Recall elections to be held in 3 Idaho school districts

Recall elections in three Idaho school districts—Pocatello-Chubbuck, Idaho Falls, and Nampa—are scheduled for March 9, 2021. Five board members are facing recall across the three districts.

  1. Three school board members—Zone 1 representative Jackie Cranor, Zone 2 representative Janie Gebhardt, and Zone 5 representative Dave Mattson—will be on the ballot in the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District. The recall effort began in September 2020 after the board unanimously voted to continue using a hybrid teaching model for middle school and high school students for the remainder of the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said the board was not fully representing the electorate on the issue of hybrid learning and other topics. The school district released a statement saying that the board weighs a number of factors when making decisions and that majority opinion does not always rule.
  2. In the Idaho Falls School District, Zone 4 representative Elizabeth Cogliati is on the ballot. The recall effort began after the board of trustees voted 3-2 on September 30, 2020, to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction five days a week to a mix of in-person and online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cogliati voted in favor of the change in instruction along with two other board members who were also targeted for recall. Those other recall efforts did not make the March 9 ballot. Superintendent George Boland said the goal for the change in instruction was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. Recall supporters said the district’s online classes were low quality and putting students at a disadvantage.
  3. In the Nampa School District, Zone 2 representative Mike Kipp is on the ballot. The recall effort started after Kipp cast the sole dissenting vote against allowing sports to resume during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recall supporters said that they were not being represented on the board and that their voices had not been heard at board meetings on multiple occasions. In response to the recall effort, Kipp said, “I have done my best to listen well to all input from teachers, students, patrons, our superintendent, other district leaders and all relevant experts. I then seek to utilize that information in determining my vote.”

In order for the recall elections to be successful, two things must happen: 1) a majority of voters must vote in favor of the recall; and 2) the total number of votes cast in favor of recall must be equal or greater than the number of votes that first put the board member in office.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 224 recall efforts against 269 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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Judge rules Idaho school board recall qualifies for ballot

A district court judge ruled on February 22, 2021, that a recall effort against Idaho Falls School District 91 board of trustees member Lara Hill had successfully qualified for the ballot. A recall election against board member Elizabeth Cogliati is already scheduled for March 9.

The recall effort against Cogliati and Hill began after the board of trustees voted 3-2 on September 30, 2020, to move high schools in the district from in-person instruction five days a week to a mixture of in-person instruction two days a week and online instruction the other three days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cogliati and Hill voted in favor of the change in instruction along with trustee Hillary Radcliffe, while trustees Paul Haacke and Larry Haws voted against it.

Superintendent George Boland said the goal for the change in instruction was to reduce the number of coronavirus cases and related quarantines and absences at the high schools. The school district had reported 90 coronavirus cases among students and staff between the beginning of the school year and October 9, 2020. Recall supporters said the district’s online classes were low quality and putting students at a disadvantage.

The recall effort initially sought to recall all three board members who voted in favor of changing to hybrid instruction. The effort against Radcliffe did not collect enough signatures and did not submit the petition by the deadline.

Signatures for the recall of Hill and Cogliati were both submitted on December 28, 2020. The Bonneville County Clerk’s Office verified enough signatures to put the recall against Cogliati on the ballot but found that the petition against Hill did not have enough valid signatures. Recall supporters filed a lawsuit against the county clerk, alleging that nine signatures that had been rejected should have been verified. The court ruled in favor of the recall supporters.

Hill’s recall election had not been scheduled as of February 24. After March 9, the next county election dates scheduled are May 18 and August 31.

Recall efforts against school board members started in three other school districts in Idaho in 2020. All of the efforts named their school board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for recall. The effort in the West Ada school district did not go to a vote but saw two members resign from their positions. The recall effort against Aaron Proctor in the Whitepine School District went to the ballot on November 3 and was approved with 57% of the vote, resulting in Proctor’s removal from office. The recall effort against three board members in the Pocatello-Chubbuck school district was approved for the ballot, and the elections were scheduled for March 9.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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Voters recall Colorado school board member

A recall election seeking to remove Lance McDaniel from his position as the District A representative on the Montezuma-Cortez School District Board of Education in Colorado was approved by voters on Feb. 16, 2021. Cody Wells was elected to replace McDaniel on the board.

The recall effort started in July 2020. Recall supporters said McDaniel had shown a “lack of leadership and has proven to be a poor role model for our children,” regarding several of his social media posts. The petition stated, “We need school board members that understand leadership and the power of mentoring, and know not to voice their personal, political, or social opinions that could influence children.”

McDaniel said he was not concerned about the recall effort. “When it gets down to it, I’m a loudmouth liberal, and they don’t like that,” he said. McDaniel said he stood by his social media posts. “The conservatives don’t like the fact that there are some more progressive people in the town,” he said. McDaniel was one of seven members on the board of education. He was appointed to his position in 2018.

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters of the effort had to submit 1,126 signatures in 60 days. The number of signatures was equal to 40% of the citizens in the school district who voted in the last school board election. Recall supporters submitted the signatures by the deadline, and Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell determined enough signatures were valid. Before a recall election could be scheduled, four challenges were submitted against the petition, saying the petition was “baseless, frivolous and infringes on Mr. McDaniel’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.” A hearing on the challenges was held on Nov. 19, and the challenges were denied on Nov. 23. Hearing Officer Mike Green said that the recall petition met the statutory requirements. The filing deadline for successor candidates was Jan. 8.

Three other school board recall elections have been scheduled so far this year. All three are in Idaho and are being held on March 9.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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Washington Supreme Court rejects recall petition of county sheriff

A petition seeking to recall John Snaza from his position as sheriff of Thurston County, Washington, was ruled to be legally and factually insufficient by the Washington Supreme Court on February 11, 2021. This court ruling ended the recall effort.

The recall effort started after the sheriff’s office released a statement on June 24, 2020, saying “it would be inappropriate for deputies to criminally enforce” the state’s mandate to wear a mask in public places. Recall supporters said the sheriff’s statement was impeding the efforts of state and city governments as well as emergency and hospital officials to protect the public. Snaza said it was his intent to educate people about the law rather than arrest them.

The recall petition was initially approved for circulation on July 29, 2020, by Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton. Snaza filed an appeal against that ruling with the state supreme court. If Snaza’s appeal had been rejected, recall supporters would have had 180 days to collect 23,027 signatures to get the recall on the ballot.

Two other sheriff recall efforts were appealed with the Washington Supreme Court in 2020. Both appeals were rejected, and the recall efforts were allowed to circulate petitions.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.

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