Rumors are swirling about regarding elected officials District Attorney Jon Alexander, County Clerk Alissia Northrup and Supervisor Martha McClure and a new round of recalls. Why? As it pertains to DA Alexander and Sup McClure, constituents say they don’t return phone calls, or take meetings for starters. Charges of improprieties, ethical and possibly illegal actions are listed next. As to Ms. Northrup, criticisms abound surrounding vote counting and procedures.
Apparently complaints filed with local, state and federal agencies are not being addressed adequately. Left with few other avenues to address concerns; constituents are left with little else than the recall.
The recall procedure is not a slam dunk. It takes 25% of the registered voters to sign recall paperwork. Those signatures need to be verified by the County Clerk. See the problem? What would happen if a recall was to hit our County Clerk? Who would verify the signatures? Would the County pay to have impartial people come in to verify the signatures?
Currently there are about 12,000 registered voters in Del Norte County. That means it takes 3,000 verified signatures. Signatures have to be collected within 60 days. Once enough signatures are verified, a decision is made as to a special election. In our county, a realistic way of guaranteeing enough signatures would be verified as sufficient is to collect twice as many as needed.
Since 2009, recalls have been mounted against City Clerk, Dianne Nickerson who resigned as the result, against Council members Kathry Murray, Charles Slert and Kelly Schellong and former councilman Dennis Burns by fellow council woman Donna Westfall. 428 verified signatures were requried. Nearly 500 signatures were collected. Half of those were deemed non-sufficient due to signature not matching, address incorrect, or not located in the City and more. Here’s where problems emerged with the County Clerk’s office. New voter registrations were lost. Challenges were made.
In 2010, it was Councilwoman Westfall’s turn to be recalled. About 200 signatures were all that would sign, leaving about 200 short of the required goal.
The recall procedure is certainly one tool that the voters can use. As to it’s effectiveness, however, it really boils down to two things. First, educating the public as to the problems and why the recall is happening Not always an easy task particularly when the local newspaper is famous for it’s bias. Secondly, if enough signatures have been collected, then the signature verification process can be a stumbling block.