Monday, March 9, 2015

How Recall Campaigns Work

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 7:09 PM

A recall petition against Gov. Doug Ducey has been in circulation for two days. As of after 7 p.m., it has more than 7,600 signatures and counting. I did not mention earlier that this is symbolic, I assumed we all knew that. NO PETITION HAS BEEN FILED TO ELECTION OFFICIALS, and who knows if that will even ever happen. Still, this is hilarious. 

I wrote about that earlier, and some of you asked if I could explain how a recall campaign works in the case this occurred, so here is my best attempt.

Arizona is one of 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, allowed to carry out the recall of elected state officials—the governor, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, legislators, etc.

First, an application for a recall petition must be filed. It has to meet certain requirements for it to be valid. For instance, legitimate concerns—right now it would be Ducey's budget plans—over actions by that elected official. Once a petition is approved, it has to gather a certain number of signatures. For Arizona, that is 25 percent of the votes cast in the last election. In November, more than 1.5 million people voted, so the petition needs roughly 400,000 signatures. The petition has to be in circulation for 120 days, and is then turned over to election officials for verification. If all signatures are valid, a recall election is given the green light.

A recall election ballot in Arizona lists the names of the official being recalled and the names of those who are running against the elected official. But the official being recalled has the opportunity to be reelected in the process, too. If the incumbent wins, then no other recall campaign can happen during the remainder of that term unless the proponents pay for it.

Correct, A.R.S § 19-202 says that a petition against the governor cannot make its rounds until after six months of being in office. So, signatures gathered right now, don't count. 
A. A recall petition shall not be circulated against any officer until he has held office for six months, except that a petition may be filed against a member of the legislature at any time after five days from the beginning of the first session after his election. The commencement of a subsequent term in the same office does not renew the six month period delaying the circulation of a recall petition.

B. After one recall petition and election, no further recall petition shall be filed against the same officer during the term for which he was elected unless the petitioners signing the petition first, at the time of application for the subsequent recall petition, pay into the public treasury from which such election expenses were paid all expenses of the preceding election.

C. Signatures obtained on recall petitions by a committee or any of its officers, agents, employees or members before the filing of the committee's statement of organization are void and shall not be counted in determining the legal sufficiency of the petition.
Linda Valdez with The Arizona Republic isn't a fan of all of this. Here's her write up: Recall Doug Ducey? Oh, get over it.

Here's the National Conference of State Legislatures' website, which helped me with this explanation. And everything related to petitions and recalls on the Arizona Revised Statutes

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