Councilman facing recall election in Foster City, California

A recall election against Councilman Herb Perez is being held on March 3 in Foster City, California. The recall effort was organized by a group called FC Watchdog, which accused Perez of “open disdain for residents” and having a pro-development agenda. Jeff Regan, an organizer for the recall, said about the recall effort, “It’s because when a resident goes up to speak publicly and gets treated with disdain — that blocks democracy and it’s an intimidation tactic. At a certain point, enough is enough.”

Perez responded to the recall effort and said, “I respect democracy. It’s unfortunate that individuals behind the recall do not. They would circumvent the will of eight years of voters who have consistently supported and voted me into office and that’s unfortunate. … They cannot name a single wrongdoing, no illegal taking of money, nothing. They just don’t like me and I’m OK with that.”

Petitioners were required to gather valid signatures equal to 20% of the registered voters in the city. The requirement was 3,313 valid signatures to put the recall on the ballot. Petitioners submitted 4,389 signatures for verification on September 16, 2019. Enough signatures were verified on October 15, 2019, to put the recall on the ballot.

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.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading:
Laws governing recall in California 
Political recall efforts, 2020

North Dakota school board members removed in recall election

An election to recall two Williams County Public School District No. 8 school board members in North Dakota was approved by voters on February 25. Board President Penny Soiseth and Vice President Curt Sullivan were both removed from office, and Chris Jundt and Sarah Williams were elected to replace them.

Jundt and Williams support dissolving the district and said they were frustrated with the lack of board transparency as well as a plan to secure $12 million to expand Williston High School. They also said the board had chosen not to listen to district residents.

Soiseth said they had listened to district residents. “We’ve had five town hall meetings where people could come in and they could say what they wanted to say. They did have the ability to reach out to us, and I had very few people reach out to me. Transparency, anything that the board has talked about, I have portrayed,” Soiseth said.

Jundt submitted the recall petition on November 4, 2019, with 45 signatures. To get the recall election on the ballot, 24 valid signatures were required.

Ballotpedia has tracked nine school board recall efforts targeting 26 board members in 2020. The Williams County school board recall election was the first to be held this year. A second school board recall election is being held on June 2.

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.

Click here to read more.

Additional reading:

Signatures due in California governor recall effort

Supporters of the effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) had until February 13 to submit 1,495,709 signatures to force a recall election. The recall, which was submitted by Erin Cruz (R), was approved for circulation by Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) on September 6, 2019. As of January 29, 2020, there were 197,150 signatures submitted, and 134,357 had been deemed valid by the secretary of state.

The recall petition alleges that Newsom mismanaged the state and caused poor schools, deteriorating infrastructure, high costs for gas and utilities, and increased homelessness and debt. The recall petition also criticized Newsom’s support of policies such as Medicare for All and laws that aid immigrants living in the country illegally.

A second recall petition was submitted by James Veltmeyer and approved for circulation against Gov. Newsom on September 27, 2019. Veltmeyer ended the recall on January 6, 2020. He said on his recall website that he was ending the effort because it was not going to be successful and because the effort did not have the money to collect signatures.

In response to the recall efforts, Newsom filed a statement with the secretary of state in August 2019. In his statement, Newsom said that the “…recall effort will cost California taxpayers $81 million dollars! It is being pushed by political extremists supporting President Trump’s hateful attacks on California.”

California became a Democratic trifecta in 2011. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the California state House by a 61-18 margin with one vacancy and the state Senate by a 29-10 margin with one vacancy. Newsom succeeded Jerry Brown (D) as governor in 2019. He won the 2018 election with 61.9% of the vote.

Three gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 22 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.

Click here to learn more.

Additional reading: