Petitions to recall Maricopa City Councilmember Joe Estes face tough scrutiny and a low likelihood of triggering an actual recall election once the names on them are scrubbed for validity.
Suppporters of the recall have turned in the exact number of names required to hold a recall election – 53 (see related story). Just one name falling off the list will make the petitions inadequate. And that almost always happens.
“On a recall, we check every signature,” Pinal County Recorder Laure Dean-Lytle told inmaricopa.com.
Signatures can be striken for many reasons, often because the person signing it wasn’t registered to vote, lived in the wrong jurisdiction or even because someone else signed their names, Dean-Lytle said.
Because of that, campaigns routinely turn in many more names than are required – and still don’t make the ballot when challenged. Other reasons include problems with the petition-passers such as not signing the sheet correctly and failing to correctly describe the action the petition-passers are seeking to occur.
On a recall in Oracle Valley, Dean-Lytle noted, petition passers needed about 900 names to force an election and they turned in more than 1,200.
“People usually do try to do 10 to 20 percent over,” she said.
Estes said he’s waiting until the recorder does her job before he decides whether to challenge the petitions, and he expects that the standard review of names will end the recall drive.
“It’s automatically determined by the county recorder,” Estes said. “I don’t have to do anything with that.”
Should all the names be verified, though, the petitions can still be challenged as petitions failed to include the statement required by statute describing the reason for the recall, he said. Estes would challenge the petitions based on that, but he would rather have them rejected because of an insufficient number of valid signatures.
“One way or another,” he said, “it will wind up getting kicked.”
Estes added, “That they only got 53 signatures in four months, I think speaks volumes.”
Photo by RuthAnn Hogue