Friday, September 26, 2008

Recall effort fizzles

Number of signatures remains unknown

Express Staff Writer

While Anne Corrock conceded that she was unable to make the deadline for her petition to put the recall of Mayor Randy Hall on the November ballot, the number of signatures collected has not been divulged.

Corrock, a former Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commissioner, stated in a press release that the reason the petition did not make the deadline was not due to a lack of support, but because of "misinformation as to the deadline ... and the threat of legal action to clarify it."

In order for the recall to be part of the upcoming election, two deadlines had to be met.

First, by state law, Corrock had a 75-day limit to collect the required 418 signatures, which began the day the petition went into circulation on July 11. That deadline was Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m.

The second deadline is the one that has caused Corrock consternation.

Corrock stated she was "reassured by the Secretary of State's Office that the deadline of Sept. 24 should still enable the recall to be on the November ballot."

However, according to Ketchum City Clerk Sandra Cady and the Secretary of State's Office, the petition would have had to be turned to city by Aug. 29 to give the Blaine County Clerk's office the necessary 15 days to verify the signatures. If the required number of signatures were certified as registered voters by the county, the mayor would then have had an additional five days to resign.

"This whole process would have to be done at least 45 days before the election," said Lisa Mason, an election clerk in the Idaho Secretary of State's Office.

An August 28 e-mail exchange between Cady and Corrock, provided to the Idaho Mountain Express by the Ketchum City Clerk's office, shows that Cady informed Corrock that the 75-day deadline to collect signatures would end Sept. 24, too late make the November election. Corrock then requested the deadline to make the November ballot.

"This was a complete surprise to me," Corrock stated in her release Wednesday. "Rather than quit at that time, I continued to collect signatures until I could get a second opinion from the attorney general or secretary of state. I would have talked to the city attorney, but we don't have one."

Cady said city-contracted attorneys Susan Buxton and Stephanie Bonney were both available to answer Corrock's questions.

Corrock also stated that "Miles Stanislaw, an attorney who has volunteered to represent Randy Hall in opposing the recall, has posed a challenge to the deadline. To fight this challenge would cost time and money, neither of which we have."

Stanislaw said yesterday that while he supported Randy Hall during the recall effort, he was never the mayor's legal representation and had no intention of pursuing litigation in the matter.

"All I did was e-mail, quoting the state statute on the 45-day deadline," Stanislaw said. "It's unfortunate that [Cady] is being blamed for the failure to succeed. Blaming the clerk is a bad excuse for falling short of acquiring the necessary signatures."

Corrock has not given an update on the number of signatures collected since saying that more than 300 had been collected by the beginning of September.

In a comment to a blog on the SunValleyOnline Web site, Corrock stated, "If the required signatures are not collected I will shred the petitions. I fully understand the concerns of many who are anxious to vote for a change in our leadership but fear the repercussions of signing a petition. It is unfortunate that democracy has come to this and we only feel safe in voicing our opinion in the privacy of the voting booth."

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