Friday, April 11, 2014

Yorba Linda recall: timeline has odd twist

An odd twist could make this year's City Council election the most unusual ballot ever put before Yorba Linda's voters, if the currently circulating recall petitions gather enough signatures.

The strange scenario would involve Tom Lindsey, who has announced he'll be a candidate for a second term in the Nov. 4 election, when seats now held by Lindsey and second-term incumbent John Anderson will be on the ballot.

But petitioners seeking to remove Lindsey from his current term have until May 14 to gather 8,100 valid signatures from 40,000-plus registered voters to force a recall election that – according to state law – also could be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot.

So Lindsey's name might appear twice, once to remove him from his current term and once as a candidate for a second term. If he's recalled from his present term but wins a new term, he could be out of office for a few days or only minutes, depending on when results are certified.

(Craig Young also is a recall target, but his term runs through 2016.)

Here's how state election law applies to Yorba Linda's upcoming ballot:

--City Clerk Marcia Brown has 30 days, excluding weekends and holidays, to verify signatures and certify results at the next regularly scheduled council meeting – July 1, if petitions are filed on or just before the May 14 deadline.

--The council has 14 days to set a recall election date, if Brown validates enough signatures. Should council not act, the county Registrar of Voters has five days to set a date.

--If a recall ballot is set at the July 14 council meeting, the recall would be combined with the Nov. 4 election, since that ballot date falls inside an 88- to 125-day window set by state rules.

--Only if Brown's certification came earlier, at a May or the June 3 council meeting, would the window close before Nov. 4, requiring a more costly special election in October. That would become necessary if successful petitions are submitted within the next couple weeks.

November results are usually certified at council's first meeting in December. While it's likely Lindsey would either survive recall and win a second term or lose both, he could lose the recall and win a new term, especially if regular election votes are spread among many candidates. If so, he could be removed from office Dec. 2 but sworn in for a new term minutes later.

In addition to voting “yes” or “no” on recalling Lindsey and Young, voters would be asked to select replacements, in case either or both recalls succeed. Possibly, candidates for the recall positions would also file for the two seats on the regular election ballot.

However, Lindsey can't file to replace himself in a recall, but he's allowed to file for the regular election. Filing to replace officials in a recall must be completed 75 days before the election, Aug. 21 for a Nov. 4 ballot. Regular election filing runs July 14-Aug. 8.