Recalls are really difficult

With the possibility that Douglas County School Board trustees could face a recall petition, we felt it was a good idea to dust off the Secretary of State’s recall guide.

A recall petition requires three registered voters who actually cast a ballot in the 2022 election to sign, and have a notice of intent notarized, before turning it into the filing officer, which for Douglas is Clerk-Treasurer Amy Burgans.

The date the notice is received by the count is considered the date. The next two days are about notification to the Secretary of State and the person being recalled.

While fairly easy to start, the challenge of a recall is obtaining signatures of a quarter of the people who voted is a far taller order.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the turnout in the General Election was 29,256 people, which amounts to 7,314 signatures. All those signatures need to be registered voters and need to have actually voted in the 2022 election.

Petitioners have 90 days after filing a recall petition to submit the signatures to the clerk, but that’s not all. On or before the 48th day, all signatures gathered in the first half of the drive have to be submitted and available for anyone to look at.

It’s been a few years since we last had a petition drive in Douglas County and that was for an initiative, which has a much lower bar.

But even experienced petitioners sometimes suffer mishaps. A single unnotarized page can reduce the number of signatures to the point where a petition is invalid, as happened in 2020 with the Park petition.

It has been almost 30 years since an unsuccessful recall petition drive against four Douglas County commissioners over the attempted purchase of the former Dangberg Ranch in 1995.

The last recall petition in the county that prompted a special election was in 1991 and targeted the Genoa Town Board. With only 154 registered voters in the town, getting the petition signed was pretty easy. But voters in Nevada’s oldest town favored the incumbent board, retaining them by a good margin. Former Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha referred to that effort as the beginning of a recall craze across the Silver State.


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