Tagrecall

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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Montana mayoral recall effort advances to the ballot

An effort in Stevensville, Montana, to recall Mayor Brandon Dewey was initiated in March 2020. Petitions were approved for circulation on April 7, giving petitioners until July 6 to submit 251 valid signatures in order to put the recall election on the ballot. Petitions were accepted by Ravalli County Clerk and Recorder Regina Plettenberg on May 22, and 254 signatures were found valid. Dewey has until June 4 to provide a written statement that will be placed on the ballot. Plettenberg has said that the recall election will likely take place on August 4.

The recall effort is organized by resident Leanna Rodabaugh in response to Dewey signing a $79,800 contract with First Call Computer Solutions on behalf of the town. Petitions accuse Dewey of violating his oath of office because contracts of that size would normally require approval from the town council. Rodabaugh said that the way the contract was signed bypassed the competitive bid and contract award process.

Dewey responded to the recall effort and said, “If you strictly took state law and municipal ordinance, I think, yes, a case could be made that there was some impropriety. But that’s only true if you completely ignore the purchasing policy which the council adopted a number of years ago and has reviewed on a regular basis since delegating this authority to department heads and the mayor.”

Dewey sent a letter to Plettenberg after the signatures were verified. He wrote that the recall petition is “invalid and should be rejected on the basis of unsworn falsification and tampering with public records or information. These facts presented in the meeting by City Attorney Scott Owens conclude that there was no merit to the allegations brought forth, now presented in the recall petition, and that no illegal action had been taken by the mayor or administration. Ms. Rodabaugh was aware of these facts when submitting the petition and further omitted the authority given to the Mayor in the purchasing policy from the language in the petition she submitted. Therefore, she has knowingly submitted false allegations and information in the recall petition.”

In a town council meeting after the contract was signed, Stevensville Town Attorney Scott Owens stated that Dewey did nothing illegal because, while an agreement had been signed by the mayor for an amount of money that usually would require council approval, the money had been included in the budget that the council approved and was only being paid out incrementally. Owens said that Dewey’s actions were close to illegality but did not cross the line.

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.

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Federal judge denies request for more time in Nevada governor recall

Federal court judge Richard Boulware on May 15, 2020, denied a request to extend the signature-gathering period for the recall effort against Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). Fight For Nevada, the group behind the recall effort, requested an extension of the 90-day period to collect signatures equal to the length of the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order. Supporters of the recall had until May 14 to collect the 243,995 signatures needed to require a recall election. County officials have until May 20 to report the signature totals to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.

Boulware wrote in the order, “The Court does not find that an inability to file this particular recall petition presents a severe burden when Plaintiff has not established with any detail what additional burden or inconvenience it faces if the Secretary does not extend the deadline.”

Recall supporters criticized Sisolak over his support for laws related to firearms, a statewide income tax, metering of private water wells, and a DMV policy for reporting mileage.

Nevada became a Democratic trifecta in 2019. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the state Assembly by a 28-13 margin with one vacancy and the state Senate by a 13-8 margin. Gov. Sisolak (D) succeeded Brian Sandoval (R) as governor in 2019.

Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.

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Mayoral recall effort underway in Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is facing a recall effort after she appeared on CNN to make the case that Las Vegas should be allowed to begin reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. Goodman said the city could be used as a control group for opening up a city after a shutdown.
The notice of intent to recall Goodman was filed by Doug Polk, who accused Goodman of failing to represent her constituency in a statement given after the petitions were filed. He said the recall effort was started over “her clear disregard for public health, but also in her support for the casino owners over the people of Las Vegas. Additionally, she is barely able to speak coherent sentences while discussing the subject matter. She is unfit to serve as the mayor of Las Vegas.”
Goodman responded to the recall effort. She said, “You know, this is America. That’s his choice. Everybody’s entitled to their own political opinions.”
Petitioners seeking to recall a public official in Nevada are required to collect valid signatures of at least 25 percent of the voter turnout in the election when the official most recently won their seat. Circulation of the recall petition must be completed within 90 days after registration. Following this, the Secretary of State determines whether or not the petition is sufficient based upon the county clerk or registrars’ certified results of the signature verification. The filing officer then issues a call for a special election in the jurisdiction represented by the officeholder being recalled between 10 and 20 days after the Secretary of State has given notification that the petition is sufficient, unless a court complaint has been filed. The special election must then be held within 30 days after the filing officer issues this call.
The notice of intent was filed on May 6. Petitioners have until August 4 to submit 6,745 valid signatures for the recall to move forward.
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.


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.


Alaska Supreme Court rules Gov. Mike Dunleavy recall can proceed

The Alaska Supreme Court on May 8 affirmed a superior court ruling that the recall effort against Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) can move forward. In November 2019, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) determined that the recall failed to meet any of the grounds for recall. In Alaska, a recall petition has to meet one of the following grounds to make the ballot: lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, or corruption. The state Division of Elections rejected the recall petition citing Clarkson’s legal opinion. The Recall Dunleavy group appealed Clarkson’s decision, and in January 2020, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth rejected Clarkson’s ruling. The state appealed Aarseth’s ruling to the supreme court.

In response to the court’s decision to reverse his ruling, Clarkson said, “The Court ignored Alaska’s constitutional history and has effectively rewritten our Constitution and statutes to adopt no-cause political recall. By the Court’s decision, from this point forward any elected official will be subject to recall for virtually any reason.” Recall Dunleavy campaign manager Claire Pywell said about the ruling, “We’ve been confident in these grounds since the beginning, but it is a huge win for all of our supporters, all of the folks who have been so committed.”

Supporters will need to gather 71,252 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. According to Alaska recall law, if a vote to recall Dunleavy is approved, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) would become governor.

Pywell said that the recall group believes that it must gather the necessary signatures by July 3 to make the November 2020 ballot. As of May 4, 2020, the Recall Dunleavy website said the group had collected 34,802 signatures. Due to coronavirus concerns, the recall campaign began to collect signatures by mail on March 20, 2020.

Recall supporters have criticized Dunleavy over four specific actions, including: authorizing state funds to be used for partisan advertisements, failing to appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within the required statutory timeframe, violating separation-of-powers by improperly using the line-item veto, and accounting errors in budget vetoes, which the recall effort alleges would have cost the state millions in Medicare funding.

Alaska is under a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 13-7 margin. Although Republicans also won a majority in the state House in the 2018 elections, a coalition of 15 Democrats, four Republicans, and two independents elected Bryce Edgmon (undeclared) as the state House’s speaker on February 14, 2019. This resulted in the parties having split control of key leadership positions in a power-sharing agreement. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won the governor’s office in 2018.

Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.



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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Recall launched against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey over stay-at-home order

A recall petition was filed against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on May 1 over his stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. Supporters of the recall have up to 120 days—or no later than August 29, 2020—to collect the 594,111 signatures needed to force a recall election.

The recall effort is being organized by a group called Arizonans for Liberty. Marko Trickovic, Steve Daniels, and 2020 congressional candidate Josh Barnett filed the petition on May 1. According to the recall petition, Ducey has “committed a violation of his oath of office A.R.S. 38-231 by issuing an unconstitutional executive order, by unequally enforcing the law on Arizona citizens and businesses, and by failure to address citizens grievances.”

On April 29, Ducey announced that he was extending the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15. The order allows some retail establishments to reopen but other businesses such as bars, hair salons, and barbers are still prohibited. Ducey said that businesses that ignore his executive order and open early will face a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail.

In response to Ducey’s order, Trickovic said, “He literally declared war on the citizens of Arizona. The fact that he came out and said he would jail people for trying to earn a living and feed people, that’s a tyrant.” As of May 4, 2020, Ducey had not made a statement regarding the recall effort.

Arizona became a Republican trifecta in 2009. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the Arizona state House by a 31-29 margin and the state Senate by a 17-13 margin. Ducey was elected as Arizona’s governor in 2014 with 53.4% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2018 with 56.0% of the vote.

Four gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 21 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921.



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