Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recall Scott Gessler?

Since impeachment is highly unlikely let's look at the constitutional provisions for recall of an elected officer.

What grounds will suffice for removal? Simple dissatisfaction with the officer,

Colorado is not a state in which official misconduct is necessarily required as a ground for recall. Rather, the dissatisfaction, whatever the reason, of the electorate is sufficient to set the recall procedures in motion. 
Bernzen v. City of Boulder, 186 Colo. 81, 525 P.2d 416 (1974).
 No high-crimes. No misdemeanors. No malfeasance. Just dissatisfaction.

Article XXI of the Colorado constitution governs recall and Section 1 informs us that a petition with 25% of the total number of voters who voted for the position in the last election is required. Checking the official tally at the Secretary of State's website we see that 1,717,065 people voted for Secretary of State in the 2010 election which works out to 429,266 signatures for a petition of recall. That's a lot of signatures. If the signatures are collected there is to be a 200 word statement laying out the grounds for recall attached and the petition is to be turned in to, 
the office in which petitions for nominations to office held by the incumbent sought to be recalled are required to be filed
Which is, in this case, ironically, the Secretary of State's office.

There are some technical requirements for the petition itself in Section 2 of Article XXI but there are no requirements that a specific percentage of the signers come from each Congressional district or any other regional parity restrictions.

Section 3 informs us that after a valid petition is delivered the officer has 5 days to resign and if they refuse the Governor shall post notice of an election concerning the recall petition. Gessler, as Secretary of State, would technically be in charge of this election - so there would be more ethical landmines still. The 200 word statement concerning recall will appear on the ballot next to a statement (limited to 300 words) from the officer in question. The vote is simply, "Shall XXXX be removed from office?""Yes?" or "No?" A simple majority rules.

Also appearing on the ballot are the nominees for the office should the current holder be removed (and the current holder cannot appear as a nominee on the ballot). Whoever recieves the most votes wins and they serve out the term.

Impeachment won't happen for political reasons. Recall has a high bar but it is possible. Where do I sign? 

1 comment:

Sharl said...

Thanks for posting all the research you've done on this.
[Wandered over from John Cole's joint.]