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Abbey Smith

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

Washington sheriff recall to be held Aug. 3

A recall election seeking to remove Jerry Hatcher from his position as Benton County Sheriff in Washington is being held on Aug. 3. Recall supporters had to collect 13,937 signatures in six months to put the recall on the ballot. 

The recall effort began in July 2020 and was led by the Benton County Sheriff’s Guild. Members of the guild said Hatcher had performed his duties in an improper manner, committed illegal acts, and violated his oath of office. 

Hatcher, who first took office in May 2017, said the guild was refusing to hold deputies accountable. He said the guild would not let him take disciplinary action against employees who committed wrongdoing.

Washington requires recall petitions to be reviewed by a judge before they can be circulated. Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram approved the recall petition against Hatcher on Aug. 20, 2020. Hatcher appealed the decision to the Washington Supreme Court, which ruled on Nov. 6 that the recall effort could move forward and begin collecting signatures. The 13,937 signatures required to get the recall on the ballot was equal to 25% of the votes cast in the last sheriff election. Recall supporters submitted 16,552 signatures on April 23. The Benton County Auditor verified 14,215 signatures, allowing the recall to be put on the ballot.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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71 candidates file for 13 municipal offices in New Orleans

The filing deadline to run for office in New Orleans passed on July 16. The city is holding general elections for mayor, sheriff, assessor, coroner, civil district court clerk, criminal district court clerk, and seven city council seats on Nov. 13. A primary is scheduled for Oct. 9.

A total of 71 candidates filed to run for these 13 seats. The races for civil district court clerk and coroner were both canceled when the incumbents were the only candidates to file. Both were automatically re-elected to their positions.

The mayoral race attracted 14 candidates, including incumbent Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D). She was first elected to the position in the general election on Nov. 18, 2017. In her bid for re-election, Cantrell is running against four Democrats, one Republican, four independents, and four candidates who indicated they had no party preference in the primary election. 

Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate does, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

Democratic mayors oversaw 64 of the 100 largest cities at the beginning of 2021. New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana and the 51st-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Additional reading:

City elections in New Orleans, Louisiana (2021)

Partisanship in United States municipal elections (2021)

United States municipal elections, 2021

United States mayoral elections, 2021



Wisconsin county supervisor loses recall election

A recall election seeking to remove Thomas Schaefer from his position as the District 10 representative on the Dodge County Board of Supervisors in Wisconsin was held on July 13. Schaefer was defeated by Daniel Siegmann, who had filed the petition against him. Siegmann received 538 votes (77.2%) to Schaefer’s 159, according to unofficial results.

Prior to the election, Siegmann told the Daily Citizen, “I found that Dodge County citizen’s best interests regarding our liberty and especially our money, to a large extent, have been and continue to be neglected by many supervisors. I saw that we as citizens of Dodge County needed to become more closely involved with its system of government to help bring back proper emphasis to protect individual liberty and practice common sense fiscal responsibility.”

In response to the recall, Schaefer said, “My actions as a county supervisor as listed in the recall petition do not rise to the level of a recall. If the resident was so dissatisfied with my performance, he could run in April 2022 as my, and all 33 supervisors’ terms, are up at that time. I have, and always will, represent the district, not one individual or group.”

Schaefer ran unopposed in the last regular election for his seat on April 7, 2020. He received 674 votes, and there were 35 write-in votes.

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Additional reading:

Recall campaigns in Wisconsin

Political recall efforts, 2021

County commission recalls



New Mexico Supreme Court allows recall effort against Otero County commissioner to move forward

New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Vigil on June 28 affirmed a lower court’s ruling to allow an effort to recall Couy Griffin (R) from his position as the District 2 representative on the Otero County Commission to move forward. Once the recall petitions are signed by the lower court justice who initially approved them, recall supporters will be given 90 days to collect 1,574 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 the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.



Recall election for metropolitan district board in Colorado to be held June 29

A recall election seeking to remove three members of the Buckhorn Valley Metropolitan District No. 2 board in Colorado is being held on June 29. Members John V. Hill, Anna Maria Ray, and David Garton Jr. are on the ballot.

When listing their reasons, recall supporters said that the district was in payment default for bond debt and that the board “contracted with its own developer-management entity which has failed to satisfactorily maintain the non-potable water system for irrigation.” They also said there were numerous conflicts of interest.

In response to the recall effort, Hill said the Great Recession hit the development hard. He said that the district was in default for bond debt because the development was only half-built. Because of that, property tax revenue to pay off the bond was only half of what it was meant to be and could not cover the bond payments. 

Recall supporters had until Feb. 25 to collect 300 signatures in the district to get the recall on the ballot. They collected 378 signatures.

At the time the recall effort started, the board had four members—Hill, Ray, Garton, and Scott Green—and one vacant seat. Green resigned from the board in February 2021. The remaining board members appointed Erin Gallimore and Nicholas Viau—both members of the recall committee—to the vacant seats.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 231 recall efforts against 289 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.

Additional reading:

Ballotpedia’s Mid-Year Recall Report (2021)

Recall campaigns in Colorado

Political recall efforts, 2021

Special district recalls



Ballotpedia’s mid-year recall report shows school board recalls on the rise

In the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

For the first time since 2015, school board members drew more recall petitions than any other group. A total of 48% of officials who faced recall campaigns in the first half of 2021 were school board members. City council members—the officials who drew the most efforts from 2016 to 2020—accounted for 25% of officials. Between June 2016 and June 2020, school board members accounted for 15% to 27% of officials named in recall efforts.

For the fifth time in the past six years, California had the most officials facing recall efforts of any state with 78. However, Alaska had the most recalls per 100,000 residents with 0.55. By that metric, California had the 10th-most recalls with 0.11 per 100,000 residents.

Last year, Ballotpedia began tracking recalls related to the coronavirus and government responses to it. As of this report’s publication, 77 such recall efforts had been tracked throughout 2020 and 2021.

In this report, Ballotpedia also highlighted five noteworthy recalls: the effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the two efforts against Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem (R), the effort against Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, the two efforts against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and the effort against six of the nine school board members in the Loudoun County school district in Virginia.

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Voters reelect mayor and 5 of 7 city council members in Jackson, Miss.

The city of Jackson, Miss., held a general election for mayor and all seven seats on the city council on June 8. A primary was held on April 6, and a primary runoff was held on April 27. The filing deadline for this election was Feb. 6.

Democratic Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba won re-election with 69.3% of the vote in the general election, defeating Republican candidate Jason Wells and independent candidates Les Tannehill, Charlotte Reeves, and Shafeqah Lodree. Antar Lumumba first took office in 2017.

In the city council elections, Ward 1 incumbent Ashby Foote (R) and Ward 2 incumbent Angelique Charbonet Lee (D) won re-election after running unopposed. Ward 3 incumbent Kenneth Stokes (D), Ward 6 incumbent Aaron Banks (D), and Ward 7 incumbent Virgi Lindsay (D) won re-election after defeating one opponent. 

Democratic newcomers Brian Grizzell and Vernon Hartley won election to the Ward 4 and 5 seats, respectively, after running unopposed in the general election. Grizzell and Hartley advanced from both the primary and primary runoff. Hartley defeated incumbent Charles Tillman (D) in the Ward 5 primary runoff, while Grizzell defeated Jacqueline Amos (D) in the Ward 4 primary runoff. Ward 4 was an open seat after incumbent De’Keither Stamps (D) decided not to run for re-election.

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Recall effort against supervisors in Shasta County, California, approved to circulate petitions

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors in California has been approved to circulate petitions. District 1 representative Joe Chimenti, District 2 representative Leonard Moty, and District 3 representative Mary Rickert were named in the notices of intent to recall. Recall supporters have until Sept. 29 to collect more than 4,000 petition signatures per member to get the recall on the ballot.

Recall supporters said the county supervisors betrayed the public trust, did not defend the county from state government overreach in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and irresponsibly handled county finances.

Chimenti defended the board’s actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and stated, “Unlike many other counties around California, this board has never enacted any ordinance and we have never burdened law enforcement with enforcement responsibilities pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Recall supporters submitted notices of intent to recall on April 30. After the notices and petitions were approved, supporters were given 120 days to collect signatures equal to 20% of registered voters in each district the supervisors represent. The petition against Chimenti needs 4,392 signatures, the petition against Moty needs 4,308 signatures, and the petition against Rickert needs 4,432 signatures.

Moty and Rickert were both re-elected to four-year terms on the board in Nov. 2020. Moty received 51% of the vote, defeating two challengers, and Rickert won re-election unopposed. Moty was first elected to the board in 2008, and Rickert was first elected to the board in 2016. Chimenti was first elected to a four-year term on the board in 2018, defeating incumbent David Kehoe with 55% of the vote.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 279 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 election for Sonoma County district attorney scheduled for Sept. 14

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in California voted on May 25 to schedule the recall election against District Attorney Jill Ravitch for Sept. 14. The candidate filing deadline is July 1.

The recall effort began in October 2020. Recall supporters said Ravitch had ignored issues of inequality, injustice, and fire safety; failed to hold corporations accountable for environmental issues; prevented the release of police body camera recordings; disproportionately incarcerated minorities; and abused her powers to pursue personal vendettas.

In response to the recall effort, Ravitch defended her record and said, “I’m so proud of the work the District Attorney’s Office does, and it’s such an honor to lead a dedicated group of professionals who work hard every day to ensure justice. […] These allegations strike not just at me but the work my office does, and that’s unfortunate.” The Sonoma County Democratic Party published a statement on March 9 saying it was opposed to the recall effort.

Ravitch took office as district attorney in 2011. Prior to the filing of the notice of intent to recall, Ravitch had announced that she would not seek re-election when her term ends in 2022.

To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had to submit 30,056 signatures in 160 days. The county verified 32,128 signatures, which was sufficient to schedule a recall election.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 279 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 effort against Los Angeles District Attorney approved to circulate petitions

An effort to recall George Gascón from his position as the Los Angeles County District Attorney in California has been approved to circulate petitions. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters must collect 579,062 signatures from registered voters in the county by October 27.

The notice of intent to recall said Gascón had abandoned crime victims and their families, disregarded the rule of law, weakened sentencing requirements for violent crimes, and reduced sentences on hate, gun, and gang crimes.

Gascón was elected to a four-year term on Nov. 3, defeating incumbent Jackie Lacey with 53.5% of the vote. He campaigned on policies of “not seeking the death penalty; not prosecuting juveniles as adults; ending cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies; and no longer filing enhancements that trigger stiffer sentences for certain elements of crimes, repeat offenses or being a gang member,” according to KTLA 5. Gascón said the opponents of his policies were fearmongers. “They continue to follow the playbook of the ‘80s and ’90s,” Gascón said. “It’s a simple message, right? Scare the heck out of people, and hopefully that will work for you.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced his support of the recall. Fourteen cities in Los Angeles County had passed votes of no confidence in Gascón as of May 20, 2021.

In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 227 recall efforts against 279 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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