Author

Abbey Smith

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

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council recall election canceled 3 days before scheduled election date

A recall election seeking to remove Cedric Cromwell and Gordon Harris from their positions as chairman and treasurer of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council in Massachusetts, respectively, was scheduled to be held on September 15, 2019, but it was canceled three days prior to the election date. The tribe’s election committee canceled the recall election after the Wampanoag Supreme Court “declined to offer an advisory opinion requested by the tribal council,” according to The Mashpee Enterprise. Though it did not offer an advisory opinion, the court did release a document on August 22, 2019, saying that it found the recall petitions insufficient as presented.
 
The tribal council had asked the court if the recall petitions met the threshold for a recall election, and they also asked who had the authority to direct the election committee in such matters. “Based on language in that decision it was determined that the [recall] hearing would not take place,” Trish Keliinui, a member of the election committee and a communications manager with the tribe, said. Aaron Tobey Jr., a member of the tribal council and leader of the recall efforts, said the council meant “to stop the election even though it was the will of the people.”
 
Cromwell and Harris were targeted for recall along with vice chairwoman Jessie “Little Doe” Baird in April 2019. Recall supporters cited wrongful conduct, a debt of $500 million owed to the tribe’s financial backer, Baird staying in office after she offered her resignation in January 2019, and Harris missing council meetings in February and April as reasons for the recall effort. The petition against Baird was deemed insufficient by the tribe’s election committee, but the petitions against Cromwell and Harris were approved to move forward with a recall election. None of the three targeted tribal members responded to the recall efforts against them, and Cromwell and Harris did not respond about the cancelation of the recall elections.
 
If the recall elections had been held, recall supporters and recall opponents would have both been able to speak at a hearing prior to the recall votes. For results of the vote to stand, at least “40 percent of the total number of registered voters who voted in the preceding annual election,” would have had to vote in the recall election, according to the Cape Cod Times. To remove the officeholders from their positions, 60 percent of voters would have had to vote in favor of the recall.
 
Additional reading:


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council recall election to be held September 15

A recall election seeking to remove Cedric Cromwell and Gordon Harris from their positions as chairman and treasurer, respectively, of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council in Massachusetts will be held on September 15.
 
Cromwell and Harris were targeted for recall along with vice chairwoman Jessie “Little Doe” Baird in April 2019. Recall supporters cited wrongful conduct, a debt of $500 million owed to the tribe’s financial backer, Baird staying in office after she offered her resignation in January 2019, and Harris missing council meetings in February and April as reasons for the recall effort. The petition against Baird was deemed insufficient by the tribe’s election committee, but the petitions against Cromwell and Harris were approved to move forward with a recall election. None of the three targeted tribal members responded to the recall efforts against them.
 
The tribe’s constitution allows registered voters of the tribe to recall elected officials by turning in petitions with at least 100 voter signatures. Recall supporters and recall opponents will be both able to speak at a hearing prior to the recall votes. Both the hearing and the vote will occur on September 15. For the results of the vote to stand, at least “40 percent of the total number of registered voters who voted in the preceding annual election,” must vote in the recall election, according to the Cape Cod Times. To remove the officeholders from their positions, 60 percent of voters must vote in favor of the recall.
 


Eighteen file to run for four Boise city offices in November

In Boise, Idaho, 18 candidates filed to run for four nonpartisan city offices on the November 5 general election ballot. The position of mayor and three of the city council’s six seats are up for election. The candidate filing deadline passed on September 6, and the withdrawal deadline is September 20.
 
The mayoral election attracted the most candidates with seven filed, including incumbent David Bieter, who was first elected to the office in 2003. Though the mayor’s office is nonpartisan, Bieter is affiliated with the Democratic Party. He served as the Democratic representative of District 19 in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003.
 
District 1 city council incumbent Lauren McLean filed to run for mayor rather than for re-election to her current seat, leaving it open for a newcomer. Six candidates filed to run for that seat. The District 3 seat was also left open for a newcomer since incumbent Scot Ludwig did not file for re-election. Two candidates filed to run for that seat. In District 5, incumbent Elaine Clegg faces two challengers in her bid for re-election.
 
Boise is the largest city in Idaho and the 97th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


El Paso City Council votes 4-3 to hold November special election

On September 3, the El Paso City Council in Texas voted to hold a special election for the council’s District 3 seat. The election is scheduled for November 5, and the candidate filing deadline is on September 26.
 
The special election was called due to Texas’ resign-to-run law, which requires officeholders to resign from their current office in order to run for another. A post saying, “Cassandra Hernandez for mayor of El Paso,” was posted to Cassandra Hernandez-Brown’s public Facebook page in September 2019. Hernandez-Brown said she did not upload the post, but she said one of her supporters did. The post was later deleted. Hernandez-Brown asked her fellow city council members to vote against the resolution calling for a special election, but it passed with a 4-3 vote. Hernandez-Brown was not allowed to vote on the resolution.
 
Hernandez-Brown will remain the District 3 representative on the council until the new member is elected due to a holdover clause in the law. Because of that clause, she is not able to run in the special election, according to District 6 member Claudia Ordaz Perez. Hernandez-Brown was first elected to the city council on June 10, 2017. El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
Five states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas—have resign-to-run laws.
 


13 candidates file for Birmingham City Council special elections

Thirteen candidates filed to run in the October 8 special election for three of the nine city council seats in Birmingham, Alabama. The District 1, 6, and 7 seats are on the ballot. The candidate filing deadline passed on August 23.
 
Former District 1 member Lashunda Scales and former District 6 member Sheila Tyson both left their positions after they were elected to the Jefferson County Commission on November 6, 2018. Former District 7 member Jay Roberson resigned in September 2018 after he moved outside of his district. Following those resignations, Clinton Woods, Crystal Smitherman, and Wardine Alexander were appointed to the District 1, 6, and 7 seats, respectively. The special elections will fill the seats until the next regularly scheduled general election is held in 2021.
 
All three appointed incumbents filed to run for a full term on the council. In District 1, Woods faces two challengers. In District 6, Smitherman faces six challengers, and in District 7, Alexander faces two challengers.
 
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and the 99th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
 


Three Idaho school board members up for recall on August 27

In Idaho, a recall election that could remove Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell from their positions on the Middleton School District board of trustees is scheduled for August 27.
 
The recall effort against Winkle and McConkie began after they voted to accept the superintendent’s personnel recommendations at a board meeting on May 6, 2019. Recall supporters objected to the superintendent’s recommendation since it did not renew the contract of Middleton High School’s principal, Ben Merrill. Board member Kirk Adams was also targeted for recall at that time, but his petition was rejected by the county because he had not served in office long enough to be recalled.
 
The separate recall petition against Blackwell was certified for the ballot on June 14. The recall petition against her said she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics. Blackwell was the only board member to vote against not renewing Merrill’s contract.
 
Winkle said that because the decision to not renew Merrill’s contract was a personnel matter, the board was limited in what they could share with the public. McConkie said she has served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell did not respond to the recall effort against her.
 
In order for the board members to be removed from office in the recall election, a majority of voters must vote in favor of the recall. The number of voters who cast ballots in favor of the recall must also be higher than the total number of people who voted for the officeholders when they were last up for election.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Colorado school board recall scheduled for November 5 as court challenges wrap up

A recall election seeking to remove board President Timothy Braun from his position on the Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 school board in Colorado will be held on November 5, 2019. Board Treasurer Dennis Jones and Secretary Tonya Martin were also targeted in the initial recall effort, but they resigned from office in June 2019.
 
The three members were targeted for recall due to “multiple violations of Colorado state statutes, school board policies and resolutions, Sunshine laws and the Colorado Open Records Act,” according to Patty Waddle, a leader of the recall effort. Braun, Jones, and Martin disputed all of the claims listed on the recall petitions. Braun said Waddle was a disgruntled former employee.
 
The recall election was first scheduled to be held on July 16, 2019, but the election was put on hold after the three targeted board members filed an appeal with the Fourth Judicial District, seeking a stay on the recall election. They said the county clerk had shown favoritism to the recall supporters and should have required the group to start over when their first petitions did not have enough valid signatures rather than giving them a window of time to add additional signatures. Judge Scott Sells disagreed with the board members’ claims and ruled in favor of the county clerk, allowing the recall election to be placed on the ballot. Jones and Martin resigned from the board, but Braun appealed the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court. The supreme court dismissed his appeal on August 9, 2019, allowing the recall election to be scheduled. Because no special election could be held within 90 days of the regularly-scheduled general election on November 5, 2019, the recall election was added to that ballot.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Lee and Lundquist face off in Los Angeles City Council special election August 13

The city of Los Angeles, California, is holding a nonpartisan special general election on August 13 for one of the 15 seats on the city council. John Lee and Loraine Lundquist are facing off after advancing from a pool of 15 candidates in the special primary on June 4.
 
The vacancy on the city council occurred when District 12 representative Mitchell Englander stepped down on December 31, 2018, to work for a sports and entertainment firm.
 
Lundquist received 19.7% of the vote in the primary, while Lee came in second with 18.7%. Lee was endorsed by the L.A. Jobs PAC, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Lundquist was endorsed by The Los Angeles Times and a number of Democratic Party clubs.
 
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Compton school board candidates have until August 9 to file

Three of the seven at-large seats on the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees in California are up for nonpartisan general election on November 5. The filing deadline is August 9. The seats held by board President Micah Ali, Clerk Charles Davis, and member Sandra Moss are on the ballot. Ali was first elected to the board in 2007, Davis was elected in 2013, and Moss was elected in 2015.
 
The district’s 2017 election had four at-large seats on the ballot. Nineteen candidates ran for re-election, including all four incumbents whose terms were up for election that year. All four incumbents retained their seats.
 
In 2015, three seats were up for election. Twenty candidates ran that year, including two incumbents whose seats were on the ballot. Davis also ran for another term, although his term was not up for re-election that year. Davis and Ali won new terms on the board, and Moss won her first term on the board.
 
The Compton Unified School District served 23,452 students during the 2015-2016 school year.
 


Thirteen recall efforts targeting 31 school board members so far this year

Ballotpedia has tracked 13 recall efforts targeting 31 school board members so far in 2019. Three of those recalls have been certified for the ballot, and one recall election was on the ballot on February 19. Both board members were removed from office in that election. Another recall election against one board member was scheduled for July 16, but it was put on hold in June pending court action. A third recall election targeting three board members is scheduled for August 27.
 
As of July 26, recall efforts against 13 board members are still underway, while efforts against nine board members have ended and will not be going to a vote. Three board members resigned after recall efforts were started against them.
 
As of this time last year, four recall elections had been held against seven school board members. Six members were removed from office in the elections, and one was retained. Another seven recall elections were held later in 2018 against 19 school board members. Fifteen of those members were removed from office in the elections, and four were retained. Overall, 33 school board recall efforts targeting 74 board members nationwide were covered by Ballotpedia in 2018.
 
Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials in 2018. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Bitnami