Tagrecall

Oregon fire district board member recalled with 51.1% of the vote

In Washington County, Oregon, Banks Fire District #13 board members Mark Schmidlin and Ed Ewing faced a recall election on April 12, 2022. Schmidlin was recalled with 51.1% of votes cast in favor of the recall. Ewing retained his seat with 52.4% of votes cast against the recall. Schmidlin’s seat will be filled via a vote by the remaining board members. 

The recall effort was led by Jacoba Kemper. The recall petition stated that the two board members failed to properly investigate harassment accusations against Chief Rodney Linz. Recall supporters gathered 513 signatures in support of recalling Ewing and 537 signatures in support of recalling Schmidlin. The threshold to send the recall to a vote was 449 signatures.

There have been four recall efforts against six special district board members in 2022. Of those, one recall was approved, one was defeated, three did not go to a vote, and one is underway. 

Between January and June of 2021, 10 special district members were targets of recall efforts. 

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Michigan county commissioner recall results in party control flip

William Bunek (R) was removed as Leelanau County Commissioner in Michigan through a recall election on May 3, 2022. Bunek lost the seat with 55% of votes cast in favor of the recall. Lois Bahle (D) was elected as the replacement candidate in tandem with the recall. Bahle’s election switched the board majority from Republican to Democratic. 

Recall supporters criticized Bunek for statements he made in a county board meeting on Sept. 14, 2021. In that meeting, Bunek and three other Republicans on the board recommended zeroing out the Early Childhood Services millage passed by voters in Nov. 2019. According to the Traverse City Record Eagle, “Bunek at that time said the United States is a constitutional republic and when voters make a wrong decision, the county board is there to make sure that it doesn’t go on.” Before the recall, Bunek held the seat for 14 years.

Bunek appealed the factual nature of the recall petition in the 13th Circuit Court, stating that he felt his statements were misrepresented. The appeal was denied and recall supporters were able to gather 663 signatures to send the recall to a vote. 

There have been 15 recall efforts against 33 county commissioners in 2022. Of those, nine are underway, 19 did not go to a vote, one resulted in a resignation, two were approved, one was defeated, and one is on the ballot in May 2022.

There have already been more recall efforts against county commissioners in 2022 than in the first half of 2021. Between January and June of 2021, 12 county commissioners were targets of recall efforts. As of May 9, 2022, 33 county commissioners had been the targets of recall efforts. 

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Oregon county recall defeated in March 22 vote

In Oregon, Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer defeated the recall effort against her with 52.4% of the vote on March 22. Berschauer was first elected to the three-member board in 2020.

The recall effort began in Aug. 2021. Recall supporters failed to gather enough signatures during their first effort, but they launched a successful second petition effort in Nov. 2021. They submitted 7,675 signatures on Feb. 1, 2022, and the county verified enough signatures to put the recall on the ballot. 

Recall supporters accused Berschauer of “extremism, fiscal mismanagement, and bad-faith representation” in the second recall petition.

In response, Berschauer stated, “Disagreement over public policy does not warrant a recall in the minds of voters, as we just witnessed in Newberg with the failed recall attempts on school board members.”

There have been 15 recall efforts against 33 county commissioners in 2022. Of those, 10 are underway, 18 did not go to a vote, one resulted in a resignation, one was approved, one was defeated, and two are on the ballot in May 2022.

There have already been more recall efforts against county commissioners in 2022 than in the first half of 2021. Between January and June of 2021, 12 county commissioners were targets of recall efforts. As of March 24, 2022, 15 county commissioners have been the targets of recall efforts. 

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What’s happening with recalls so far in 2022?

So far in 2022, Ballotpedia has tracked 103 recall efforts against 177 officials. School board members saw the most recall efforts started against them in 2022, continuing a trend that started in 2021. A total of 67 school board members have been included in recall efforts this year. City council members saw the second-most with 48, and county commissioners saw the third-most with 29. City council members drew the most recall petitions from 2016 to 2020.

Recall efforts against 57 officials have been related to COVID-19 or government responses to the pandemic in 2022, which accounts for 32.2% of officials included in recall efforts. In 2021, that percentage was 39.8% of officials, and it was 29.6% of officials in 2020.

Recall elections against 14 officials have been held so far this year. The recalls against six of those officials were approved by voters, removing them from office, while eight officials had their recalls rejected, keeping them in office. Recall elections against another 10 officials are scheduled to be held between March and June 2022. 

The 24 recall elections that have been held or scheduled for the first half of 2022 are higher than the 21 recall elections that were held between January and June 2021. In the first half of that year, nine officials were removed from office in recall elections, while 12 were retained. The first half of 2020 saw recall elections against 27 officials on the ballot. Thirteen of those officials were removed from office, and 14 kept their seats.

The following recall elections are scheduled to be held in March 2022:

  • March 22: Yamhill County Commission, Oregon
  • March 29: Regional School Unit 21, Maine

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Voters in California and Nebraska approve school board recall elections

The San Francisco Unified School District in California and the Giltner school district in Nebraska held recall elections against a total of four school board members on Feb. 15. Voters in both school districts approved the recalls, removing the board members from office.

In San Francisco, three school board members were on the ballot: Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga. They will be removed from office once the county has certified the election results. That is expected to happen on March 1.

Recall supporters said they were frustrated that schools in the district remained closed for nearly a year in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also said they were upset that the board had spent time voting to rename 44 buildings in the district rather than focusing on opening schools. ​​“From day one, the campaign was a campaign to get politics out of education,” Siva Raj, one of the recall petitioners and a district parent, said. “What we saw consistently was a pattern where the school board leadership focused on a lot of political stunts and symbolic gestures like trying to rename schools, and doing that ultimately badly.”

At a board meeting on April 6, members unanimously voted to rescind the approval of the renaming process. At the same meeting, they voted to return students to full-time in-person instruction at the start of the 2021-2022 school year. In reaction to the recall effort, Moliga said he stood behind his record. López characterized the recall against her as sexist, ageist, and racist. “We can’t let people scare us,” Collins said. “When I see certain people getting upset, I know I’m doing the right thing. If it’s people that have power and don’t want to share it, there’s people who want to make decisions without being inclusive, of course they are going to get upset.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced her endorsement of the recall on Nov. 9. She will appoint temporary replacements for the recalled board members. The replacements will need to run for election to the board this November if they wish to remain in office. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters had to collect ​​51,325 signatures per board member by Sept. 7.

In Giltner, one school board member was on the ballot: Chris Waddle. The recall effort was started by Jamie Bendorf, a resident of Giltner, Neb. On the recall petition filing form, Bendorf wrote, “Christopher Waddle doesn’t hold the best interest of the patrons in the Giltner School District.” Bendorf also published a statement about the recall effort, saying “what concerns me the most is hearing about families who have left due to administration dismissing concerns, current GPS parents that are looking at other options for schooling out of district, or even worse the fact they are regretting sending their child or children here.”

Waddle submitted the following response to the recall petition: “We have a strong administrative team, the finest teachers and staff, the highest enrollment of students in years and the district is in a good financial position for the future […] These things happen when you have a school board with the right vision for the future. A recall under these conditions is not in the best interest of our school.”

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters had to submit 119 signatures from school district residents by Oct. 12.

Ballotpedia has tracked 26 school board recall efforts against 67 board members in 2022. Prior to the Feb. 15 recall election, four school districts held recall elections. All seven school board members who were on those recall ballots kept their seats.

In 2021, Ballotpedia covered a total of 351 recall efforts against 537 elected officials. This was the highest number of recall efforts and officials targeted since we started compiling data on recalls in 2012.



Candidates and committees in Newsom recall raised more than $142 million and spent $145.4 million

Candidates and committees raised a combined $142 million for the Sept. 14, 2021, recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), according to final campaign finance figures. In that election, voters retained Newsom as governor by a vote of 61.9% to 38.1%. Roughly 12.8 million people voted. The ballot asked voters first if they would like to recall Newsom, and then who they would like to elect in his place. Candidates and committees raised money for both questions.

The California Secretary of State required all candidates in the replacement question and committees registered in support or opposition to the recall effort to file final campaign finance reports on or before Jan. 31, 2022. Those reports became available publicly online in early February.

Republican candidates and committees registered in support of the recall raised $53.1 million, while Democratic candidates and committees registered in opposition of the recall raised $88.9 million. Spending totaled $145.4 million, with Republicans and support committees spending $53.5 million and Democrats and opposition committees spending $91.9 million.

On the recall question, committees raised $109.3 million and spent $113.5 million. The nine registered support committees raised $20.9 million and spent $22.2 million. The 20 registered opposition committees raised $88.4 million and spent $91.4 million. This fundraising figure is more than double the average amount raised for recent citizen-initiated ballot measures in California. Committees raised an average of $50.6 million supporting and opposing each of the 31 citizen-initiated measures on the ballot in California from 2016 to 2020.

On the replacement candidate question, candidates raised $32.7 million and spent $31.9 million. Republican candidates raised $32.2 million and spent $31.4 million, while Democratic candidates raised $484,497 and spent $529,659. Republicans Larry Elder ($16.8 million), John Cox ($9.4 million), Kevin Faulconer ($2.7 million), and Kevin Kiley ($1.1 million) all raised more than $1 million. Kevin Paffrath ($452,670) and Jacquelin McGowan ($31,827) were the only Democrats to report fundraising.



School districts in California and Nebraska to hold recall elections on Feb. 15

The San Francisco Unified School District in California and the Giltner school district in Nebraska are holding recall elections against a total of four school board members on Feb. 15. Voters in both school districts will be able to cast yes votes in favor of the recalls or no votes against the recalls.

In San Francisco, three school board members are on the ballot: Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga. Recall supporters said they were frustrated that schools in the district remained closed for nearly a year in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also said they were upset that the board had spent time voting to rename 44 buildings in the district rather than focusing on opening schools. ​​“From day one, the campaign was a campaign to get politics out of education,” Siva Raj, one of the recall petitioners and a district parent, said. “What we saw consistently was a pattern where the school board leadership focused on a lot of political stunts and symbolic gestures like trying to rename schools, and doing that ultimately badly.”

Members unanimously voted to rescind the approval of the renaming process at a board meeting on April 6. At the same meeting, they voted to return students to full-time in-person instruction at the start of the 2021-2022 school year. In reaction to the recall effort, Moliga said he stood behind his record. López characterized the recall against her as sexist, ageist, and racist. “We can’t let people scare us,” Collins said. “When I see certain people getting upset, I know I’m doing the right thing. If it’s people that have power and don’t want to share it, there’s people who want to make decisions without being inclusive, of course they are going to get upset.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced her endorsement of the recall on Nov. 9. If the board members are recalled, the mayor will appoint replacements. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters had to collect ​​51,325 signatures per board member by Sept. 7.

In Giltner, one school board member is on the ballot: Chris Waddle. The recall effort was started by Jamie Bendorf, a resident of Giltner, Neb. On the recall petition filing form, Bendorf wrote, “Christopher Waddle doesn’t hold the best interest of the patrons in the Giltner School District.” Bendorf also published a statement about the recall effort, saying “what concerns me the most is hearing about families who have left due to administration dismissing concerns, current GPS parents that are looking at other options for schooling out of district, or even worse the fact they are regretting sending their child or children here.”

Waddle submitted the following response to the recall petition: “We have a strong administrative team, the finest teachers and staff, the highest enrollment of students in years and the district is in a good financial position for the future […] These things happen when you have a school board with the right vision for the future. A recall under these conditions is not in the best interest of our school.”

To get the recall on the ballot, supporters had to submit 119 signatures of school district residents by Oct. 12.

Ballotpedia has tracked 24 school board recall efforts against 64 board members in 2022. Four school districts held recall elections in January. All seven school board members who were on the recall ballots kept their seats.

In 2021, Ballotpedia covered a total of 351 recall efforts against 537 elected officials. This was the highest number of recall efforts and officials targeted since we started compiling data on recalls in 2012.

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Petitions to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón approved for circulation

Petitions to recall George Gascón from his position as the Los Angeles County District Attorney in California were approved for circulation on Jan. 27. To get the recall on the ballot, supporters must collect 566,857 signatures by July 6.

Recall supporters served Gascón with a notice of intent to recall on Dec. 7. They said that crime had risen in the county since Gascón had taken office. They published the following statement on their website about why they were pursuing a recall:

“As soon as he was sworn into office, District Attorney George Gascón began issuing directives to his prosecutors, instructing them to go soft on crime, coddle criminals, and trample upon the dignity and rights of crime victims. To keep our communities safe, to mete out just punishment to those who break our laws, and to provide justice to crime victims throughout Los Angles County, we must recall District Attorney George Gascón.”

At a press conference in December, Gascón defended his policies and said he was not responsible for the rise in homicides and robberies in the county. “We are trying to dramatically change a system that has served no one, not the victims of crime, not those who are accused and not the public,” Gascón said.

Gascón said he was trying to make the criminal justice system more efficient and more equitable. “We’re trying really hard to use the science that is currently available, the data that is currently available, to do our work,” Gascón said. “And I’m not going to be intimidated by political rhetoric.”

An earlier recall attempt against Gascón did not go to a vote in 2021. Recall supporters announced on Sept. 16 that they had not gathered enough signatures to meet the filing deadline.

Gascón was elected to a four-year term in the nonpartisan general election on Nov. 3, 2020, defeating incumbent Jackie Lacey with 53.5% of the vote.

In 2021, Ballotpedia covered a total of 351 recall efforts against 537 elected officials. This was the highest number of recall efforts and officials targeted since we started compiling data on recalls in 2012.

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California county commission recall election to be held Feb. 1

A recall election against District 2 representative Leonard Moty on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors in California is scheduled for Feb. 1. Two questions are on the ballot. The first is a yes/no question asking voters whether or not they would like to recall Moty. The second is a replacement question listing candidates who filed to run for Moty’s seat if a majority of voters vote yes on the first question. Tim Garman, Dale Ball, Tony Hayward, and Tarick Mahmoud filed to run in the replacement race.

The recall effort began in April 2021 and was initially against three of the five members of the board. District 1 representative Joe Chimenti and District 3 representative Mary Rickert were named along with Moty in the notices of intent to recall. Recall supporters filed signatures for the recall against Moty by the deadline on Sept. 29. They did not submit signatures for the other two commissioners.

Recall supporters cited the following reasons for recall: 

  1. “Betrayal of public trust by not defending the county from state government overreach” and
  2. “A need for fundamental change and irresponsible handling of taxpayer money.”

They also said the recall effort was the last resort to create change and that they could not wait until the next election.

After the recall election was scheduled, Moty said he would defend his position. “Now is not the time to tear us apart as some has sought,” Moty said. “But rather it’s a time to move our county forward. I will say here and now, I refuse to allow personal attacks on myself, my family, dedicated county workers, and courageous citizens by those who would halt our progress in our county.”

Moty was first elected to the board in 2008. He was re-elected to a four-year term on Nov. 3, 2020, receiving 51% of the vote and defeating two challengers.

In 2021, Ballotpedia covered a total of 351 recall efforts against 537 elected officials. This was the highest number of recall efforts and officials targeted since we started compiling data on recalls in 2012.

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3 Nebraska school board members keep seats in Jan. 11 recall elections

The Waverly and Leyton school districts in Nebraska held recall elections on Jan. 11 against a total of three school board members. A majority of voters cast ballots against all three recalls, keeping the board members in office.

Ward 4 representative Andy Grosshans was on the ballot in the Waverly School District 145. Recall supporters said they began the effort due to Grosshans’ vote to extend an emergency resolution giving the superintendent the power to “develop rules and regulations deemed necessary for the government and health of the district’s students and devise any means as may seem best to secure regular attendance and progress of students at school,” according to The Waverly News. The school board initially passed the emergency resolution in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2021, the board voted to extend the resolution through the 2021-2022 school year.

In response to the recall effort, Grosshans said, “For 12+ years, I have worked hard to make well-informed decisions to provide the students of District 145 with a safe environment in which to receive an outstanding education. In these difficult times, I hope for continued understanding and patience as we use key resources and area experts to do what’s in the best interest of all students.”

Recall supporters had until Oct. 30 to collect 88 signatures to put the recall against Grosshans on the ballot. A total of 548 voters cast ballots against the recall, while 116 voted in favor.

Suzy Ernest and Roland Rushman were on the ballot in the Leyton school district. The recall petitions listed the district’s increased legal fees since January 2021 as reasons for the recall against both Ernest and Rushman. The petition against Ernest said she took action without the full board’s approval on two items: placing the superintendent on paid administrative leave and signing an acceptance for asbestos removal. The petition against Rushman said he failed to follow the Board Code of Ethics and slandered district administrators.

In response to the recall effort against her, Ernest said her action to place the superintendent on paid administrative leave was authorized in the superintendent’s contract. Both Ernest and Rushman said the decision to place the superintendent on paid administrative leave occurred after the board received serious complaints. They said those complaints were the reason behind the district’s increased legal fees. Ernest also said that she signed the acceptance for asbestos removal under the direction of the then-interim superintendent.

To get the recalls against Ernest and Rushman on the ballot, recall supporters had to collect 138 signatures for each member. A total of 246 voters cast ballots against recalling Ernest, while 196 voted in favor. In the recall election against Rushman, 264 voters voted against, and 179 voted in favor.

Ballotpedia tracked 91 school board recall efforts against 235 board members in 2021—the highest number of school board recall efforts we tracked in one year. The next-highest year was in 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.

In 2021, Ballotpedia covered a total of 346 recall efforts against 535 elected officials. This was the highest number of recall efforts and officials targeted since we started compiling data on recalls in 2012.

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