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Tyler King

Tyler King is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Mayor and city council recall effort underway in Lincoln, Nebraska

An effort is underway in Lincoln, Nebraska, to recall Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and city council members James Michael Bowers, Richard Meginnis, Jane Raybould, and Tammy Ward. Petitions were filed with the Lancaster County election commissioner on October 26. Each official is given 20 days to submit a statement of defense, after which the election commissioner has five days to approve the petitions for circulation. Recall organizers will then have 30 days to gather signatures.

The recall effort is organized by a group called LNK Recall in response to the appointment of Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director Pat Lopez on August 17, 2020. The Lincoln City Council suspended city charter rules that give the public an opportunity to weigh in on the appointment, allowing for an immediate vote to appoint Lopez as health director.

Petition language against Baird states, “Mayor Baird sought out and obtained open-ended authoritarian control and used it to attack our liberty, usurp legislative authority, silence our voices, misuse our police, destroy our small businesses, sow discord in our community and allowed vandalism in our city. We the people do hereby intend to stop her assault on the citizens and Good Life of Lincoln.”

Petition language against the council members states, “City Council ignored them (Lincoln citizens) and voted to suspend councils own rules anyway, in order to cancel the remaining required hearing and vote immediately, silencing the voice of Lincoln citizens.”

In response to the recall effort, Baird said, “I am focused every minute on doing the job that the people of Lincoln elected me to do. Right now, that includes working with the City Council and our Health Department to lead the city through an unprecedented global pandemic. I am not going to be distracted by a small group of people who want to divide our community.”

The number of valid signatures required to force a recall election is 35% of the total votes cast for the office in the last general election. To put the recall elections on the ballot, petitioners would need 21,652 valid signatures against Baird, 4,864 valid signatures against Bowers, 8,009 valid signatures against Meginnis, 5,362 valid signatures against Raybould, and 2,495 valid signatures against Ward.

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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Signatures submitted for recall effort in Avon, Colorado

An effort in Avon, Colorado, to recall Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes and Councilmembers Amy Phillips and Tamra Underwood was initiated in August 2020. Recall organizers had until October 12 to submit 496 valid signatures for each official. There were about 600 signatures submitted against Hymes and Underwood on the day of the deadline. On October 19, Avon Town Clerk Brenda Torres announced that not enough valid signatures had been submitted. Torres found 425 signatures valid in the recall effort against Underwood. There were 445 signatures validated against Hymes. Recall organizers have until November 3 to challenge Torres’ decision.

The recall against Phillips was found invalid because she is up for re-election on November 3.

The recall effort was initiated in response to the Avon Town Council deciding to leave in place a 2% real estate transfer tax, which collects $2.5 million annually. In a press release sent to Vail Daily, the recall committee organizing the effort said that the tax “puts Avon property sellers at a huge disadvantage when compared to our neighboring communities.”

In response to the recall effort, Hymes said, “Two of the people involved in this recall ran for election last time. They could have run candidates in the 2020 election, but they didn’t think they could succeed, so they’re choosing this backdoor way. They are wasting an enormous amount of town resources in pursuit of this.”

Underwood said about the recall effort, “I essentially find it nothing but an intimidation and bullying tool to discourage people from running for council in Avon, in particular female people running for council in Avon.”

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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Signatures verified for municipal recall effort in Granite Shoals, Texas

An effort in Granite Shoals, Texas, to recall Mayor Carl Brugger and Councilman Bruce Jones was approved for the ballot after petitioners submitted enough valid signatures. The recall election against Jones will be held on May 1, 2021. Brugger resigned on Oct. 13, 2020, four days after the signatures were verified.

Brugger cited the recall effort as a reason for his resignation. He wrote in his resignation letter that he hoped that stepping down would reduce tensions in the city. Brugger was first elected in 2015 and would have been unable to run for re-election in 2021 due to term limits.

The recall effort was initiated by the Citizens’ Rights Group of Granite Shoals in August 2020 in response to a unanimous vote by the city council on Aug. 4 to give City Manager Jeff Looney a $37,000 raise and four weeks of vacation. On Aug. 11, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Davant made a motion to rescind the pay increase. The motion was seconded by Councilman Ron Munos, but the motion failed by a 5-2 vote. Brugger, Jones and Councilmembers Libby Edwards, Steve Hougen and Will Skinner voted against the motion.

Davant defended the decision to vote in favor of a raise for Looney. He said, “He’s done an excellent job. He has 34 years of experience, and he has a good education. We did a survey with a third party. They came back with midpoints, minimums, and maximums. When we looked, Jeff Looney was at rock bottom. I know people are critiquing us. It’s easy to pick cities in West Texas (to compare to Granite Shoals). Those cities aren’t adjacent to Austin and to us, and they don’t have the cost of living we have here.”

Recall organizers were required to submit valid signatures equal to 6.5% of the city’s registered voters—152 signatures—to force a recall election. On Oct. 9, 2020, City Secretary Elaine Smith announced that 186 signatures were found valid out of the 221 signatures handed in.

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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Mayoral recall election to be held in Oregon City, Oregon

A recall election is taking place on November 10 against Mayor Dan Holladay in Oregon City, Oregon. Recall organizers started the effort to recall Holladay in June after he made social media posts about police violence.

Holladay also faced criticism in April for planning to go against the stay-at-home orders issued by Governor Kate Brown in response to the coronavirus pandemic by allowing businesses in Oregon City to reopen.

Recall organizers had until September 21 to submit 2,400 valid signatures to put the recall election on the ballot. Signatures were submitted in two batches, and the total came to 3,451 signatures. On October 1, City Recorder Kattie Riggs announced that 3,037 signatures had been verified. Holladay was then given the opportunity to resign or to submit a statement of justification by October 6. Holladay submitted a statement of justification, which read:

“STAND WITH DAN — NO RECKLESS RECALL

“SERVING YOU: I’ve served as your Oregon City Mayor and Commissioner one decade with YOU THE CITIZEN as my boss. OUR DIVERSE COMMUNITY AND RESIDENTS COME FIRST.

“SIX YEARS OF CITIZEN SUCCESS: NEW LIBRARY, POLICE AND COURTS FACILITY and VOTE NO ON RECALL and we will continue my leadership for new public works facility.

“PUBLIC SAFETY. I will always stand with our excellent police officers.

“KEEP OC WORKING: Oregon City has TOP RATED ROADS: Under me as your Mayor we have delivered the best services.

“KEEP OC ON BUDGET: We’ve won awards for our financial budgeting and audits annually.

“WE WON: Great American Main Street award in 2018(the only city in Oregon to have won this award.)

“RELATIONSHIPS FOR OC SUCCESS: I have built strong relationships with the local, county, state leaders.

“RULE OF LAW: I will always stand up for the rule of law and equal treatment for ALL citizens.

“FREE CITIZENS: We all have rights to believe and say what we believe and not be ridiculed, canceled or recalled for fighting for our citizens first.

“HELP ME HELP YOU KEEP OREGON CITY A GREAT PLACE:

“VOTE No on the RECKLESS RECALL”

On June 22, Adam Marl, the campaign manager for the Committee to Recall Dan Holladay, issued a statement on the recall effort. His statement read: “The mayor’s dismissive responses to current events have put the spotlight on his past actions in office that have not received the scrutiny they deserve. When the citizens voiced their concerns, he deliberately limited constructive dialogue between his colleagues and constituents. Since then, issues of corrupt business dealings and multi-million dollar lawsuits have come to light, which prompted his fellow commissioners to censure him on two counts and order an independent investigation. Mayor Holladay has lost the faith of the city that he is attempting to lead, with even his fellow commissioners calling for his resignation. His refusal to resign for the good of the city has prompted this nonpartisan grassroots campaign to lead the concerted efforts of those who believe in a better future for Oregon City. We will fight with resolve, and will fight to win.”

The number of valid signatures required to force a recall election in Oregon is 15% of the total number of votes cast in the public officer’s electoral district for all candidates for governor at the last election at which a candidate for governor was elected to a full term. Signatures are required to be turned in no later than 90 days after the petition is filed.

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 a 57% rate for 2018 and 2017 recalls, respectively.

Additional reading:



State legislative special election runoffs to be held in Mississippi October 13

Special election runoffs are being held on October 13 for two seats in the Mississippi State Senate and two seats in the Mississippi House of Representatives. General elections took place in each district on September 22, with the top two candidates advancing to the runoff. Candidates in Mississippi state legislative special elections run without party labels on the ballot.

* In Senate District 15, Joyce Meek Yates and Bart Williams are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant after Gary Jackson (R) resigned on June 30. Johnson cited health concerns in his announcement that he would be retiring. He had represented District 15 since 2004.

* In Senate District 39, Jason Barrett and Bill Sones are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant on July 15 after Sally Doty (R) was appointed as the executive director of the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff. Doty had represented District 39 since 2012.

* In House District 37, David Chism and Lynn Wright are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant after the resignation of Gary Chism (R) on June 30. Chism suffered a stroke in 2017 and said that serving in the state House had become more difficult since then. He also cited his wife’s health concerns as a reason for his resignation. Chism had represented District 37 since 2000.

* In House District 66, Bob Lee Jr. and De’Keither Stamps are running in the general election runoff. The seat became vacant on July 2 after Jarvis Dortch (D) resigned to accept a position as executive director of the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He had represented District 66 since 2016.

Mississippi legislators are elected to four-year terms, and elections are held in odd-numbered years. All seats in the state Senate and state House are up for election again on November 7, 2023.

Mississippi has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 34-16 margin with two vacancies and the state House by a 73-45 margin with one independent member and three vacancies.

As of October, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 27 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

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Signatures submitted for mayoral recall in Oregon City, Oregon

A recall effort has been underway since June 2020 in Oregon City, Oregon, to recall Mayor Dan Holladay over restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recall organizers had until September 21 to submit 2,400 valid signatures to put the recall election on the ballot. They submitted signatures in two batches, with the total number coming to 3,451.

City Recorder Kattie Riggs said the signature verification process would be complete by October 1. If enough signatures are verified, the recall election would likely take place on November 10. If voters remove Holladay from office, a special election would take place in March 2021 to fill the seat.

On June 22, Adam Marl, the campaign manager for the Committee to Recall Dan Holladay, issued the following statement on the recall effort: “The mayor’s dismissive responses to current events have put the spotlight on his past actions in office that have not received the scrutiny they deserve. When the citizens voiced their concerns, he deliberately limited constructive dialogue between his colleagues and constituents. Since then, issues of corrupt business dealings and multi-million dollar lawsuits have come to light, which prompted his fellow commissioners to censure him on two counts and order an independent investigation. Mayor Holladay has lost the faith of the city that he is attempting to lead, with even his fellow commissioners calling for his resignation. His refusal to resign for the good of the city has prompted this nonpartisan grassroots campaign to lead the concerted efforts of those who believe in a better future for Oregon City. We will fight with resolve, and will fight to win.”

The number of valid signatures required to force a recall election in Oregon is 15% of the total number of votes cast in the public officer’s electoral district for all candidates for governor at the last election at which a candidate for governor was elected to a full term. Signatures are required to be turned in no later than 90 days after the petition is filed.

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:



Special election to be held Sept. 29 in Texas state Senate district

A special election is being held on September 29 for District 30 of the Texas State Senate. Jacob Minter (D), Craig Carter (R), Andy Hopper (R), Shelley Luther (R), Drew Springer (R), and Christopher Watts (R) are running in the special election. A general election runoff will be scheduled if no candidate receives a majority of the vote.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of Pat Fallon (R). Fallon submitted his letter of resignation on August 22, with an effective date of resignation on January 4. On August 8, local Republican Party county and precinct chairs selected Fallon to replace incumbent John Ratcliffe on the general election ballot for Texas’ 4th Congressional District after Ratcliffe withdrew from the race, following his confirmation as director of national intelligence.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 19-12 majority in the Texas Senate. Texas has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of September, 58 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 26 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

Additional reading:
State legislative special elections, 2020
Texas State Senate
Texas State Senate District 30



State legislative special elections to be held in Mississippi

Special elections are being held on September 22 for two districts in the Mississippi State Senate and two districts in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Runoff elections will be held for each race if no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote in the general election. Candidates in Mississippi state legislative special elections run without party labels on the ballot.

In Senate District 15, Joyce Meek Yates, Bricklee Miller, Levon Murphy Jr., and Bart Williams are running in the general election. The seat became vacant after Gary Jackson (R) resigned on June 30. Johnson cited health concerns in his announcement that he would be retiring. He had represented District 15 since 2004.

In Senate District 39, Jason Barrett, Beth Brown, Cindy Bryan, Mike Campbell, Josh Davis, Ben Johnson, Prentiss Smith, Michael Smith, and Bill Sones are running in the general election. The seat became vacant on July 15 after Sally Doty (R) was appointed as the executive director of the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff. Doty had represented District 39 since 2012.

In House District 37, David Chism, Vicky Rose, and Lynn Wright are running in the general election. The seat became vacant after the resignation of Gary Chism (R) on June 30. Gary Chism suffered a stroke in 2017 and said that serving in the state House had become more difficult since then. He also cited his wife’s health concerns as a reason for his resignation. He had represented District 37 since 2000.

In House District 66, Gregory Divinity, Bob Lee Jr., Fabian Nelson, Kathryn Perry, De’Keither Stamps, and Calvin Williams are running in the general election. The seat became vacant on July 2 after Jarvis Dortch (D) resigned to accept a position as executive director of the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He had represented District 66 since 2016.

Mississippi legislators are elected to four-year terms, and elections are held in odd-numbered years. All seats in the state Senate and state House are up for election again on November 7, 2023.

As of September, 58 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 26 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

Additional reading:


Ballot deadline for November election passes in Boise recall effort

Efforts in Boise, Idaho, to recall Mayor Lauren McLean and Councilmember Lisa Sanchez were initiated in July 2020. The deadline to put the recalls on the November 2020 ballot was August 28. Recall organizers did not meet that deadline but said they were not trying to get the recalls on the November ballot. The earliest the recall elections can be on the ballot is now March 2021. The deadline to submit signatures in the recall against McLean is September 30, and the deadline for the recall against Sanchez is October 5.

The recall efforts are being organized by Karene Alton and Joe Filicetti. Alton and Filicetti have accused McLean of being dishonest in the way she campaigned for election. Filicetti also cited COVID-19 shutdown orders, failure to support police, and the contents of a report from the mayor’s transition team after she was elected as reasons to recall McLean. The effort to recall Sanchez was initiated in response to statements she made about an 18-year-old who was arrested for firing his rifle in city limits while counter-protesting Black Lives Matter in June 2020.

McLean responded to the recall campaign against her when the recall effort was still unofficial. She said, “That’s an information collecting effort that everybody has a right to do. I remain focused on ensuring that I am working with an economic recovery task force, that we are partnering with businesses and other agencies to support our community as we recover. We are focused on ensuring that Boise remains Boise. Now, and into the future.”

A recall election for a city official requires valid signatures equal to at least 20 percent of the number of electors registered to vote at the last general city election held in the city for the election of officers. Circulation of the recall petition must be completed within 75 days after the form of the recall petition is approved for circulation. Recall organizers are required to submit 26,108 valid signatures for the recalls against McLean and Sanchez.

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


Guam governor cancels primary due to COVID-19

Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (D) signed a bill on August 28 to cancel the primary taking place on August 29 amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Bill 391 was passed in the Guam Legislature by a 12-3 vote on August 27. The Guam Election Commission said that it wasn’t confident it could conduct a safe election while Guam remains under lockdown due to the pandemic.

Guerrero signed an executive order on August 27 to extend Guam’s public health emergency an additional 30 days. At the time of the executive order, Guam had recorded 1,232 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths. Governor Guerrero and Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio (D) both tested positive for coronavirus in early August.

Officials looked at options for postponing the primary, but any delay would prevent Guam from meeting federal requirements for the general election. Bill 391 extends the window for voters to cast in-office absentee ballots by 15 days. Absentee ballots will be accepted starting on September 19. The bill also requires that the Election Commission submits a safety plan to the legislature by September 14.

All primary candidates automatically advance to the general election on November 3. This means that some races will have multiple candidates from the same party on the general election ballot. In the election for Guam’s non-voting member in the U.S. House, incumbent Michael San Nicolas (D) is running against Robert Underwood (D) and William Castro (R) in the general election.

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