Recall opposition responds to Shaffer ruling

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Rick Westcott, chairman of Tulsans for Election Integrity, the group opposing the recall of Tulsa City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock, has posted a response to Judge Ronald Shaffer's Thursday ruling against TfEI. Here's one of the key paragraphs from the ruling:

The Charter of the City of Tulsa requires that the City Clerk verify that the signatures on the supporting petitions correspond with the signatures appearing on the voter registration books. It would be ludicrous to require, over and above the City Charter, the City Clerk compare the signatures. That would require the Clerk to become an expert on handwriting exemplars, which is not required.

Westcott explains the basis for TfEI's appeal of the decision:

Here's the thing: The Judge's opinion states that the City Charter requires the Clerk to "verify" that the signatures on the supporting petitions "correspond" with the signatures appearing on the voter registration books. But then, the opinion states that the Clerk should not be required to actually compare the signatures because that would be too difficult.

How would the Clerk "verify" that the signatures on the supporting petitions "correspond" with the signatures on the voter registration books unless he actually compares the signatures? Should the Clerk be excused from complying with the requirements of the Charter because it might be difficult? Should we all be excused from complying with laws because it might be difficult? The Clerk made no attempt to compare the signatures. If he had, it is possible that there could have been enough glaring, obvious forgeries that the petitions would have easily been invalidated.

Can some attorney tell me: Is "ludicrous" a term of art? Would someone look that up in Black's Law Dictionary and post the definition?

Also, is there a technical meaning of the term "correspond" that allows someone to verify whether A corresponds to B without actually setting eyes on B? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


Michelle said:

I would also add that, in Oklahoma, one does not have to sign his or her name to register to vote. A "signature" can be nothing more than an X. Or perhaps someone sings a nickname, or a middle name. To correspond, it may be sufficient to at least look to make sure that a person uses the same identifying mark in the petition as he or she used in registering to vote.

m said:

I looked up correspond in the dictionary, and to my surprise it said "match." So, I was equally surprised to conclude that the "signatures" must "match." A heavy burden, to be sure; but that seems to be exactly what the charter drafters intended when they chose to use those words. If the intent was to merely ensure that the "names" (as opposed to "signatures") matched, they could and should have said so.

W. said:

Is this "X" signature rule a leftover from the days when illiteracy was more common?

And the $50,000 question: Even if the decision is appealed and overturned, can it invalidate the decision by the city council to set the date of the recall election? Would an appeal decision have a direct impact on the council's action, or would the council have to draft a new resolution to invalidate the recall election date. And with the council deadlocked at 4-4, could a decision overturn the previous decision be made?

The mind reels ...

Maybe the best thing would be is to just let the damned election occur and M&M be retained, instead of dealing with lawyers and judges for the rest of our cottonpickin' lives.

Mike said:

Well, W, you may have a point there. I am sure of one thing--if the recall election actually occurs, I'll be working and donating my rear-end off to try and keep Chris Medlock on the City Council!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 30, 2005 11:35 PM.

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