Author

Abbey Smith

Abbey Smith is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at abbey.smith@ballotpedia.org

Idaho library district trustees retained in recall election

A recall election seeking to remove four of the five trustees of the Priest Lake Library District board in Idaho was defeated by voters. The effort sought to recall Debbie Sudnikovich, Laurel Smith, Nancy Bushman, and Lori McReynolds after they voted to fire library director Beverly Richmond in September 2019. All four trustees retained their seats.

The election was held by mail-in ballot. Voters had to request their ballots by May 19, 2020, and they had until June 2, 2020, to return their ballots.

Rosemary Yocum, leader of the recall effort and a former trustee of the library district board, said the trustees violated state law because they fired Richmond without cause. Yocum said Richmond was not an at-will employee and that the board broke statutes governing open meetings and executive sessions. The recall petition also said that the four trustees had treated district citizens in a condescending manner and had failed to fulfill their duties of office.

In her response to the recall, McReynolds said Richmond was an at-will employee. She said their decision was made with the best interest of the community in mind. Sudnikovich said the former library director had been under review since November 2018 prior to her being let go. She said improvements to employee morale and the library’s management and atmosphere reinforced that, “the decision to terminate the former director was both reasonable and appropriate.”

The recall effort was initially approved for the March primary ballot, but it was taken off after an order from the district board did not get filed in time for that election. It was instead scheduled for May 19. The May 19 election was then changed to a mail-in ballot election and extended to June 2 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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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California school board recall to be held Tuesday

A recall election seeking to remove Leanne Ibarra and Jose Lara from their positions on the El Rancho Unified School District Board of Education in California is scheduled for June 2, 2020. The election is being conducted by mail-in ballot in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The candidate filing deadline passed on March 6; Allan Maciel and Joseph Rivera filed to run for Lara’s position, and Esther Mejia filed to run for Ibarra’s position.

Although Ibarra is still contesting the recall effort, Lara resigned from his seat effective February 5, 2020. At a school board meeting on January 21, Lara said he was leaving in order to focus on his family while his son recuperated from an illness. His name will still be on the recall election ballot, and if a majority of voters cast ballots to retain him, the school board will appoint his replacement.

The recall effort began in May 2019. Recall supporters listed a number of concerns with the board, including a vote to notify 23 administrators they could be fired or reassigned, a vote to demote, transfer, or release six administrators, and the alleged mismanagement of a $200 million bond. In an interview with the Whittier Daily News, Lara responded and said, “The community of Pico Rivera has been driven along a misinformation campaign. They’ve only heard one side of the story.”

Lara was first elected to the five-member board on November 5, 2013, and Ibarra was first elected on November 6, 2018. Before Lara resigned, he and Ibarra were members of a three-person majority on the board, according to the Whittier Daily News. The third member of the majority, Gabriel Orosco, was not included in the recall effort since his term is up for election in 2020. The other two board members support the recall effort. To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had to collect at least 6,509 signatures by October 23, 2019.

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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Arizona court clerk voted out of office in recall election

A recall election seeking to remove Cindy Woodman (R) from her position as Graham County Clerk of the Superior Court in Arizona was held on May 19, 2020. Heidi Torrio (R) and Marianne Clonts (R) filed to run against Woodman in the election. Torrio received the most votes with 67%, according to unofficial election night results. Clonts received 27%, and Woodman received 5%.

The recall effort started in September 2019. Recall organizers cited high turnover and lack of institutional knowledge as reasons to circulate petitions. They also cited a court ruling that found Woodman was derelict in her duties. Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel signed an order on October 11, 2019, that placed the Graham County Clerk of the Court’s Office under the direct supervision of Judge Michael Peterson. Woodman was prohibited from conducting clerk’s duties but continued to receive her full salary.

Woodman declined to comment on the recall effort, but Graham County Republican Party Chairman John Duane Rhodes spoke in support of her. Rhodes said that Woodman inherited a hostile work environment from her predecessor and that he believed she had done a good job despite the lack of training provided to her from the county.

To get the recall on the ballot, recall organizers had to collect signatures from at least 2,697 registered voters. They submitted 3,147 signatures on November 18, 2019, and enough signatures were deemed valid to schedule a recall election.

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.

Additional reading:


Four of five trustees up for recall in Idaho library district

A recall election seeking to remove four of the five trustees of the Priest Lake Library District board in Idaho is on the ballot on May 19, 2020. Trustees Debbie Sudnikovich, Laurel Smith, Nancy Bushman, and Lori McReynolds were targeted for recall after they voted to fire library director Beverly Richmond in a 4-1 vote in September 2019.

Rosemary Yocum, leader of the recall effort and a former trustee of the library district board, said the trustees violated state law because they fired Richmond without cause. Yocum said Richmond was not an at-will employee and that the board broke statutes governing open meetings and executive sessions. The recall petition also said that the four trustees had treated district citizens in a condescending manner and had failed to fulfill their duties of office.

In her response to the recall, McReynolds said Richmond was an at-will employee. She said their decision was made with the best interest of the community in mind. Sudnikovich said the former library director had been under review since November 2018 prior to her being let go. She said improvements to employee morale and the library’s management and atmosphere reinforced that “the decision to terminate the former director was both reasonable and appropriate.”

The recall effort was initially approved for the March primary ballot, but it was taken off after an order from the district board did not get filed in time for that election. It was instead scheduled for May 19.

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.


Nebraska’s primaries to conclude May 12

The statewide primary for Nebraska is on May 12, 2020. In reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, every eligible voter received an absentee ballot application by mail. In-person locations are expected to remain open as planned. The filing deadline to run passed on March 2.

Candidates are running in elections for the following offices:
  • U.S. Senate (1 seat)
  • U.S. House (3 seats)
  • Public Service Commissioner
  • State Board of Regents (2 seats)
  • State Board of Education (4 seats)
  • State Senate (25 seats)
  • State Supreme Court (2 seats)
  • State Court of Appeals (2 seats)
Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas:
  • Douglas County
  • Lancaster County
  • Omaha
  • Westside Community Schools

Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Nebraska’s primary is the ninth statewide primary to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next primary is on May 19 in Oregon.

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Colorado sheriff recall approved for June ballot

A recall effort seeking to remove Lance FitzGerald from his position as Ouray County Sheriff in Colorado has been approved for the ballot. The recall election is being conducted by mail-in ballot. Voters will receive ballots by June 11, 2020, and must return them by 7 p.m. on June 30, 2020.

FitzGerald was targeted for recall after he was arrested on DUI allegations on November 27, 2019. The Ouray County Republican and Democratic parties created a recall committee together to lead the effort. The recall petition stated that county citizens did not have confidence that the sheriff could “uphold the duties and responsibilities of his elected position.” FitzGerald did not respond to the recall effort.

Recall supporters had 60 days to collect 768 signatures from eligible Ouray County voters. They submitted 1,082 petition signatures in March 2020. The county verified 914 of the signatures in April 2020, allowing the recall to move forward. FitzGerald had 15 days to file a protest against the recall petition. If he had, a hearing over the recall petition would have been held. Because he did not, the recall election was scheduled.

FitzGerald was sworn into office in January 2019. He ran as an unaffiliated candidate and defeated Republican Joel “BB” Burk by 11 votes in the 2018 election.

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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25 of 26 Florida state judges file for retention

State court justices in Florida had until April 24, 2020, to file to run for retention. The terms of 26 Florida state court justices—one supreme court justice and 25 appellate court justices—are set to expire in January 2021. The retention elections are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

A retention election provides voters with the option to vote “Yes” in favor of keeping a certain judge on the bench or “No” in order to remove them from office. A judge must receive a majority of “Yes” votes in order to be retained. Both the supreme court and the appellate court justices are elected to six-year terms.

Florida Supreme Court Judge Carlos Muñiz filed for retention. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed Muñiz to the seven-member court on January 22, 2019.

Twenty-five of the 64 Florida District Courts of Appeal justices are up for retention in 2020, and all but one of them filed to run. Florida Third District Court of Appeal Judge Vance Salter did not file for retention. He was sworn into office on June 27, 2007, and will serve until his term ends on January 4, 2021.

A total of 288 state court seats are up for election across the United States in 2020. Thirty-five states are holding state supreme court elections, and 82 of the nation’s 344 state supreme court seats are up for election. Thirty states are holding intermediate appellate court elections for 206 seats.

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Filing deadline for St. Louis special elections is April 20

St. Louis, Missouri, is holding special elections for two of the city’s 29 board of aldermen seats on May 19, 2020. The filing deadline is April 20. Winners of the special elections will serve until the next regularly-scheduled general election on April 6, 2021. The two seats are up for special election due to the resignation of one board member and the death of another.

The Ward 4 seat was previously held by Democrat Samuel Moore. He was first elected to the seat in 2007 and held it until his death on February 25, 2020. When Moore was last up for election in 2019, he defeated three challengers in the Democratic primary with 53.5% of the vote. He won the general election unopposed.

The Ward 12 seat was previously held by Democrat Larry Arnowitz. He was first elected to the seat in 2011 and held it until his resignation on March 3, 2020. When Arnowitz was last up for election in 2019, he defeated two challengers in the Democratic primary with 74.3% of the vote. He went on to win the general election unopposed.

St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri and the 57th-largest city in the U.S. by population.



Signatures verified in Idaho county commissioner recall effort

A recall effort seeking to remove two of the three Lincoln County commissioners in Idaho was approved for the ballot on April 6, 2020. The recall election for Rick Ellis and Roy Hubert is scheduled for August 25.

The two commissioners were targeted for recall after they voted to build a new courthouse in a different location in the county. Recall supporters said they were seeking to recall Ellis and Hubert due to a “willful disregard for the wishes and desires of the public” and “deliberately ignoring the results of two public surveys regarding the renovation of the courthouse.”

Ellis said the issues surrounding the courthouse started when the community took a survey detailing what they wanted in regards to renovations. He said that the survey results showed that “they wanted to renovate the existing courthouse and build a new, approximately 12,000 square foot annex.” He said that the same survey showed that residents would vote in favor of a bond for that project. However, when it came time to vote, he said, “fifty-one percent showed up to support the bond, and it failed. Because it took a super majority of 67 percent to win.”

Recall supporters had to submit petitions with 442 signatures in April 2020 to get the recall on the ballot. They submitted 608 signatures on April 3, and the county verified 563 of the signatures on April 6.

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.



Candidate filing period for state and local races to end in Arizona, North Dakota, and Oklahoma

The major-party filing deadlines to run for state elected office in three states are coming up in the next week. Arizona’s and North Dakota’s filing deadlines are on April 6, and Oklahoma’s filing deadline is on April 10.

In Arizona, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Corporation Commission (3 seats)
  • State Senate (30 seats)
  • State House (60 seats)
Ballotpedia is also covering Arizona local elections in the following areas, though the filing deadline for these offices is not until July 6:
  • Phoenix
  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Glendale
  • Gilbert
  • Scottsdale
  • Maricopa County
  • Pima County
  • 42 school districts
In North Dakota, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Treasurer
  • State Auditor
  • Commissioner of Insurance
  • Public Service Commissioner
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • State Senate (23 seats)
  • State House (47 seats)
  • Supreme Court (1 seat)
In Oklahoma, prospective candidates may file for the following state offices:
  • Corporation Commissioner
  • State Senate (24 seats)
  • State House (101 seats)
Ballotpedia is also covering Oklahoma local elections in the following areas:
  • Tulsa
  • Oklahoma County
  • Tulsa County
  • Cleveland County
  • Canadian County
  • Osage County
  • 25 school districts (the filing deadline for these elections was December 4, 2019)

Arizona and Oklahoma are also holding retention elections for their state supreme courts and their state intermediate appellate courts on November 3, 2020.

The primary in Arizona is scheduled for August 4, the primary in North Dakota is scheduled for June 9, and the primary in Oklahoma is scheduled for June 30. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R) has authorized counties to conduct the June 9 primary entirely by mail in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The general elections for all three states are scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Arizona’s, North Dakota’s, and Oklahoma’s statewide filing deadlines are the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on April 21 in Michigan.

Arizona, North Dakota, and Oklahoma all have Republican state government trifectas. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.



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