June 22, 2012

The Recall is Over

Filed under: The City's Pulse — mary @ 12:53 pm

Mary Souza’s Newsletter 

Yes, it’s over. The Recall is done but it’s been a busy week anyway.  We’re continuing to check on the laws and the propriety of the signature certification process, and we’ve discovered some information you’ll want to know about.

We submitted just over 5,400 signatures for each of the four officials listed on the Recall.  About 970 of those signatures were rejected because the people either lived outside the actual boundaries of the city, even though they have a CdA mailing address, or they weren’t registered to vote in CdA according to the Sec. of State’s SVRS internet web site.  970 is a very big number, and those people aren’t listed on the County’s Recall data base that I will tell you about in just a minute.  We’re still looking for an accounting of the 970…who they are and why they were rejected.

The next level of scrutiny came for the remaining 4,400 people.  These people did show up on the Sec. of State’s data base. The County looked at each signature, printed name, address and date.  They rejected about 300 for each of the Recall officials, which brought the totals down to about 4000-4100 each, just shy of the required 4311 to get them on the ballot.

You can see the County’s reports of accepted or rejected names for each official by clicking on this link:   Remember, this does not include the 970 who didn’t even show up on the state’s data base.

Out of the approximately 300 rejected in the County’s report, well over 200 of them were disallowed because their current city address on the petition did not exactly match the city address on their voter registration card.

The clear intent of these citizens was to put the elected officials on a ballot so every voter in CdA could decide, up or down, whether to keep these officials in office. That intent was tossed out if their city address had changed to a different city address.  But this same kind of address change does not keep someone from legally voting. They are allowed to vote if their address doesn’t match, but they are not allowed to sign a petition to get a vote!  How is this even plausible?

I was scanning some of the rejected names and saw the name of a woman who has lived here for a very long time.  She and her husband lived in one house for decades, then bought the house next door when their neighbors moved.  They remodeled it and then moved in.  I wonder if that’s why her name was rejected?…because her address was one number different.

Yet, in the 2009 City Council election, a woman who has lived in Canada full-time for 20 years and even has special Canadian resident status, was ruled a legal voter in our Coeur d’Alene city council election.

Another woman in that same election was a city resident, but she had moved to a new address in the city two years before the election and didn’t update her address.  She voted in person at the polls but didn’t tell them about her new address until after she was done voting and her ballot was in the locked box. Judge Hosack ruled that her vote was still legal, even though she had signed the poll book affirming her old, outdated address.  He said, “… I think the rule of law in Idaho case law is pretty clear that courts should honor the right of a qualified voter to vote. And mere technicalities are not sufficient to disenfranchise a voter and deprive them of their constitutional right to vote.”

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, pictured above, (please remember that name) says that he has the right to interpret any of the election laws in Idaho.  He’s the one who changed the rule about the Recall having 75 days to gather signatures.  He had given 75 days to the Luna recall last year, but after our Recall CdA was almost two weeks into our timeline, he changed the rule.  He’s also the one who insisted the County Clerk cancel his request to have a Court review the law. Mr. Ysursa apparently thinks his opinion of the law is more credible than that of a judge. These were both key, sudden “interpretations” that seriously affected the Recall effort.

But the most crucial interpretation came just last Monday afternoon, shortly before the petitions were returned to the city.  Sec. of State Ben Ysursa ruled that the addresses on the petitions had to match the voter registration cards exactly.  That was the pivot point for the Recall.  The 250 or so “Address Invalid” signatures would have put the Mayor and one or more others on the ballot.  So Mr. Ysursa saved the day for the incumbents.  And he disenfranchised hundreds of valid, qualified voters.  Remember this for his next election.

(Let’s hope that his close friendship with Jack Riggs and chummy ties to the city’s legal dept. have nothing to do with his official decisions.)

And so, dear readers, the Recall is behind us for now. It was great to get to know so many new people during this process: The wonderful volunteers who were so much fun and so dedicated to getting good government, and the passionate citizens signing the petitions…their reasons and stories were incredible.  But now I’m ready to enjoy the summer with my family and I’m sure you are too.

Let’s hope the four officials we tried to Recall will get the message; let’s hope they change their ways.  And if they don’t?…we have a data base of 4100 valid, certified people and about 300 more who just need updated registration cards.  The law says there must be a 90 day waiting period before any further action can be started.  That’s late September.  Let’s keep watching them and stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!  –Mary

PS–Tomorrow’s Press is supposed to run a My Turn column that I wrote.  Jim Doty had a great one in there today, which you can read by clicking here:


  1. I wrote my 2 cents over on my blog.

    Comment by Stebbijo — June 22, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  2. Mary – I am slightly confused. You say Sec. of State Ben Ysursa ruled that the addresses on the petitions had to match the voter registration cards exactly on Monday (June 18th) yet ten days before this (June 8th) the instructions Cliff Hayes team was using to verify the signatures was posted online and said they were going to reject those with inaccurate addresses –

    Do you have some information that isn’t public?

    Comment by meesterbox — June 22, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  3. How many were not real people at all?

    Comment by Wallypog — June 22, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  4. Meesterbox, there are several legal cases that were presented as reason to accept addresses within the city. The Sec. of State over ruled those on Monday.

    Comment by mary — June 22, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  5. meesterbox,

    The prospective petition was approved on April 5, 2012. On June 6, 2012, we received a press release from the Kootenai County Clerk outlining what the validation criteria would be. Prior to June 6, 2012, we had been left with the distinct impression that as long as the petition signer was a qualified elector and registered voter and the petition address he used was his current residence in CdA, his petition signature would be counted. If you calculate the days between April 5 and June 6, 2012, you’ll see that is 63 days. And because the County adopted Weathers’ and Ysursa’s totally unfathomable interpretation of how “75 days to gather signatures” (as Ysursa testified before the Idaho Legislature in 2004 and reaffirmed in Luna ver. 1.0 in 2011) is really some undeterminable number fewer, and because the City and County decided between themselves that our drop-dead date to submit petitions would be 9 a.m. on June 11, I think Mary correctly states the rules as we understood them were changed.

    Comment by Bill — June 22, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  6. Meester:

    Mary – I am slightly confused.

    Yes Meester, you really are. Again and again.

    Comment by Pariah — June 22, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  7. For Mary and the Recall CDA team.

    My sincere thanks to you all for your valiant efforts in the recall drive. I’m sorry you did not meet the threshold. I would like to think that your efforts would cause the targets to take a hard look at what they are doing. But I’m not leaving the porch light on expecting Jimmy Hoffa to show up either! I’m told that there are rumblings that Goodlander and Woody are not going to seek reelection, that would be good. At any rate, it’s time to look for candidates who will not dismiss the citizens views out of hand and look to do the “pretty peoples” bidding. I’m sure the arrogance meter at city hall is working overtime. Thank you all.

    Comment by Will Penny — June 23, 2012 @ 5:45 am

  8. Wallypog,

    In response to your comment #3: We know there were some, but my opinion is that our County prosecutor has no interest whatsoever in identifying them and charging them.

    Comment by Bill — June 23, 2012 @ 6:39 am

  9. Will Penny wrote “I’m told that there are rumblings that Goodlander and Woody are not going to seek reelection, that would be good.”

    There will be no need to now that the McEuen plan can go forth. They have accomplished their mission to fleece the taxpayers.

    Comment by concerned citizen — June 23, 2012 @ 7:05 am

  10. Will Penny,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    You can be absolutely certain that by the time the 2013 City elections draw near, the Mullan Avenue Gangsters will have lined up suitable replacements for any of their departing headnodders. We can also be absolutely certain that the MAG will work hard to keep the Ysursa/Hurst branch of the MAG firmly entrenched in the Secretary of State’s office so that those pesky election laws won’t get in the way.

    Comment by Bill — June 23, 2012 @ 7:10 am

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