NO RECALL: Too few signatures to force recall election for school board members

Written by Chris Collins August 07, 2012 01:55 pm

By Chris Collins

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Two Baker School Board members will not face recall.

County Clerk Tami Green said today that the petition circulators fell just short of gathering enough valid signatures to force a recall of either board chair Lynne Burroughs or director Mark Henderson.

A total of 913 valid signatures were required to place the two directors’ names on a recall ballot.

Petitioners fell just three signatures short of forcing a recall election of Burroughs, with 910 valid signatures collected. They submitted 900 valid signatures on the petition to recall Henderson, 13 short of the goal.

Kerry McQuisten of Baker City was the chief petitioner. She started the recall effort this spring after Burroughs, Henderson and director Andrew Bryan voted to censure fellow board member Kyle Knight. The three contended that Knight violated his oath of office by releasing confidential  information to the media. Since  the censure vote, Knight’s access to district staff and to confidential information has been restricted.

McQuisten had hoped that by removing Burroughs and Henderson, that action could be reversed.

Green said there were several reasons why certain of the signatures gathered by the petitioners were disqualified. Petitions were signed by people who were not registered to vote and some signatures on the petitions did not match signature cards on file with the County Clerk’s office.

Some signers were inactive voters. In some cases they had not voted in two federal elections or they had moved and their ballots were returned as undeliverable and no attempt had been made to update their voter registration. Both actions render the person ineligible to sign a petition, Green said.

Simply changing addresses at the post office does not update voter registration. That requires separate action, Green said.

Some petitions also were rejected because the circulator had crossed out the date and written over it, Green said.  State law requires that the petition be dated on or after the date of the last signature, and that date cannot be altered.

There were also some duplicate signatures with the same person signing more than one  petition.

The circulators had a 15-percent buffer, gathering 1,066 signatures to recall Burroughs and 1,059 to recall Henderson by the July 30 deadline.

Green said her staff usually recommends that petition circulators try to get 20 percent to 25 percent more signatures than needed to avoid disappointment once invalid signatures are thrown out.

Check Wednesday’s issue of the Baker City Herald for more on the attempted recall.