How to start a recall petition

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Got an e-mail this morning from a reader asking how to go about starting a recall against a Tulsa City Councilor. The reader said he'd talked to two people at the City Council office and couldn't get a straight answer. Here's my attempt at a straight answer.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with Chapter VII of the City Charter, which governs removal and recall of elective officers.

Next, go down to City Hall, to the City Clerk's office, and request copies of the preliminary petitions submitted against Councilors Mautino and Medlock. Use them as a model for drawing up your own preliminary petition. Since they were accepted as valid, there's a precedent you can depend on when submitting your own preliminary petition.

As you list the reasons for recall, make the strongest case you can. For example, if you were seeking to recall Randy Sullivan for not living in the district he purports to represent, you could cite Title 51, Section 8 of the Oklahoma Statutes, which requires an elected official to live in the district he was elected to represent.

If you're going to recall Bill Christiansen or Randy Sullivan, there's going to be some question about how many signatures are required to start the process. The charter sets the required number of signatures as a percentage "of all those voting in that election district for the affected office in the preceding general election." Since neither had a general election opponent in 2004, is that number 0, or do we go back to the 2002 general election, when each had a contested general election? It would be interesting to submit a preliminary petition with a single signature, just to see what the city does with it. Just expect the City Attorney's office to interpret the law to the advantage of the Cockroach Caucus.

That should be enough to get you started.


concerned voter said:

I hope this guy is in my district. I would love to help anyone interested in giving Christiansen the old heave ho!

red head Author Profile Page said:

Okay, I am in for a Sullivan recall.

A petition with one signature -- that's funny. It'd be worth a try if someone wanted to press the issue according to the letter of the law.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 25, 2005 9:46 AM.

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