Many people evidently want to see Mayor Murphy recalled. Sounds straightforward, but nobody is taking out papers. Why? Hint: The process was set by elected politicians who are not particularly fond of the recall process.
Let's say you went to Town Hall and got the recall papers on Monday, June 16, and you turn them in on Wednesday, June 18.
The Town Clerk accepts the filing and issues the numbered recall petition sheets two days later -- Friday, June 20. You now have up to 120 days to gather the necessary signatures and turn them in, signed and notarized.
There were 3,412 votes for all mayor candidates in the last election, and you have to gather at least 25 percent of that number (854 valid signatures). To be safe, you want 10 percent more - all signatories registered voters and eligible to vote for that office. Your target is 938.
You're done in a fast 30 days! You turn in your notarized petitions to the Town Clerk on Tuesday, July 21st. The Town Clerk has 10 business days in which to verify the signatures --Verification Step No. 1. That is completed on time, and it's now August 4th.
Verification Step No. 2: The Town Clerk certifies and sends copies of the signed petition sheets to the County Recorder, who now has 60 business days (12 weeks!) to validate the signers. The County Recorder completes work on schedule and notifies you and the AZ Secretary of State "by mail" --no one is in a rush, except you! It is now October 17th.
The Town Clerk now has five days to validate the signers and to notify the governor and the County Recorder that the recall will be on the ballot. It is now October 24. At this point, the target of the recall petition has 5 business days to resign. That takes you (appropriately) to Halloween -- October 31st.
Assuming he doesn't resign, the Town Clerk has another 15 days to issue the order calling for a special election for the recall. It's now November 21 by our calculations. And when will the election be: At least 90 days or more after the order for the election is issued. We're now in late February 2004.
And let's see, when is the next election date? Why it's June, and that's when the candidate's term is up. The bottom line: Forget about a recall and start planning for the next election!
Don Crowley, Co-Chair, Citizens for Better Payson Government