Arizona: Leave recall rules alone

Mon, Apr 29 2013 — Source: AZ Central

The Arizona Constitution gives us the recall election to enable us to remove elected officials who are not doing an effective job and do not appropriately represent the majority.

The spirited legislative Republicans are upset that the current recall method was able to remove Russell Pearce from the Senate, although the majority of people got what they wanted. The system worked! Therefore, GOP legislators proposed House Bill 2282 to circumvent the current, effective recall method by adding a primary election to get a result wanted by only a few.

Let the system that’s in place work. No change is necessary per our state Constitution in this matter. The people should decide, not the politicians who are taking away our rights.

There is talk of reforming Wisconsin’s recall election procedures and we believe it is time for such a change.

We heard of the proposed recall changes in a release from State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf who reintroduced recall reform legislation in the State Senate as Senate Joint Resolution 24 (SJR 24).

The proposal is intended to safeguard the ability of citizens to remove officials for misconduct or ethics violations, while ensuring that recalls would not be abused for political purposes.

What she says makes sense; however, some might consider her involvement as being a bit tainted since she was the target of a recall election. Harsdorf, of course, survived the recall election and the Republican probably is as knowledgeable as anyone regarding this subject.

Citizens in Maricopa County, Arizona, may not see a recall election for their controversial sheriff, Joe Arpiao. The current recall effort, spearheaded by the group Respect Arizona, has reportedly collected over 200,000 signatures, but that remains well short of the 335,000 signatures required by May 30.

With time running short, the group is hoping to raise additional funding beyond the $300,000 they’ve spent on the campaign so far.

“It’s one signature at a time,” Respect Arizona Campaign Manager Lilia Alvarez recently told reporters. “What people tell me is yes I want to sign or I’m too afraid to do so and that’s the same for donors.”

The effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is approaching its last month needing more than 130,000 valid petition signatures to force an election.

Organizers of the recall effort on Monday said they have collected 200,359 signatures, still far short of the 335,000 signatures they are required to file by May 30 to force Arpaio into a recall election.

Read More Here

One of the perks of incumbency is the ability to make it harder for your opponents to one day sweep you out from office.

The Republican-led Arizona Legislature has embraced that truism this year with two election overhauls aiming to protect ambitious incumbents while also creating new hurdles for voters looking to give unpopular politicians the boot.

Read more: Here

The contentious AO-37, the labor law overhaul that passed the Anchorage Assembly on March 26, profoundly changed the rules for how the city negotiates with its unions. Now opponents are continuing the fight against it with a referendum petition that would suspend the ordinance and put AO-37 to the voters.

Andy Holleman is the president of the Anchorage Education Association. As the head of the city’s teacher unions, the city’s labor laws don’t affect his members; they contract with the school board, and not the city. But Holleman is spearheading the fight against AO-37.

Read more from KTVA Alaska

An Ozaukee County judge lost his job Tuesday when voters sided with a challenger critical of the incumbent’s 2011 signature on a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.

Attorney Joe Voiland defeated Circuit Judge Tom Wolfgram, a three-term incumbent, by collecting more than 60% of the vote, according to complete, unofficial returns. He was elected to a six-year term.

Voiland criticized Wolfgram for forfeiting his impartiality by publicly supporting the recall.

Read more at The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

In Colorado, a citizen’s defense group, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund (BFDF), is forming a committee to recall State Senator John Morse (Colorado Springs), the Democratic President of the State Senate. Morse had sponsored Senate Bill 13-196, a bill which would impose penalties on owners of so-called “assault weapons”, making them liable for any damage caused by them.

“It really made a lot of people upset, it’s an affront to the Second Amendment, it’s an affront to the Constitution and it’s an affront to the oath that he took,” explained BFDF Spokesperson Anthony Garcia.

State representative Michael McLachlan (D-Durango) may also be under the gun of recall efforts by the BFDF over firearm issues.

State Senate Democratic President John Morse, of Colorado Springs, is facing a recall effort for his support of controversial gun control laws.

On Friday the Basic Freedom Defense Fund (BFDF) formed a local committee for recalling Morse, the group claims around sixty-volunteers representing state organizations and local businesses have pledged support for the campaign. The effort was inspired by several laws proposed by democrats that would put tighter restrictions on guns including expanded background checks and limits on ammunition magazines.

Read more: at KOAA

I am sympathetic with the legislative effort to provide for both a primary and a general election in the event of a recall, championed by Rep. Steve Smith.

The recall process is being abused. And this reform, House Bill 2282, would eliminate the abuse.

Recall is intended as a remedy for new information or behavior that wasn’t known to voters at the time the reprobate was last elected. Instead, it is being used to rerun elections under terms opponents think increase their odds of winning.

Former state Senate President Russell Pearce wasn’t recalled because he lied to voters or did something other than what he said he would do. In fact, Pearce was recalled for doing precisely what he told voters he would do.

An effort in Utah lead by Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, to establish a process for recall elections must wait until another time.  After meeting with legal council, Perry felt it was a better option to put the issue before the voters in 2014 than try to attempt to use the Legislature to make a change.

With only a few days remaining in the 2013 Legislative session, Perry’s efforts to push a bill through would most likely have fallen short.

There is currently no recall process in the Beehive State. The motivation to establish the process was inspired by an effort to remove Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife, who admitted to an extramarital affair in December of 2012.

Legislation to create a process for recall elections in Utah, inspired by efforts in Brigham City to remove embattled Mayor Dennis Fife, will not be considered by the Legislature this session.

Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, created a bill to address state recall elections but said Tuesday he will pull back from that effort this session.

Instead, he plans to work during the interim later this year to craft legislation that would potentially put a resolution before statewide voters in fall 2014.

Read More at the Standard Examiner

Republican legislators voted this week to change the rules on recall elections in a bid to prevent, again, what happened to one of their own. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The measure approved by the House Judiciary Committee would require both a primary and a general election when a public official is recalled. That would mean only Republicans get to vote in the first step of a recall of a GOP lawmaker. Whoever survives then would face off against the Democrat in the general. Now, there is a single winner-take-all election.

From KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Legislation to change the process for recall elections passed Arizona’s House Judiciary Committee, 5-2, and now heads to the House floor. House Bill 2282, introduced by Rep. Steve Smith (R), would require a primary election to precede the general election when a recall is triggered by petition.

>The bill comes in response to the successful 2011 recall of Arizona Senate President Russell Pierce, who lost to fellow Republican Jerry Lewis in their heavily Republican Mesa district. The more moderate Lewis likely would have lost to Pearce in a closed GOP primary, where only Republicans could have voted, but Lewis defeated Pearce in a general election in which Democrats were able to vote.

Last week, a Michigan House panel passed a package of five bills to restrict future recalls of elected officials by citizens. One bill would allow recalls only in either May or November (HB 6061) and another (HB 6063) prevents recalls from being initiated in the six months after the beginning of or prior to the end of an elected official's term. That latter bill “makes it nearly impossible to recall for a two-year term,” observed Rep. Barb Byrum.