Well, I managed to do some emailing and phone calling between the Missoula City Elections Administrator, Rebecca Connors, and this is what I found out:
- The City of Missoula has 55,550 registered voters;
- You will need the signature of 20% of those registered voters;
- So to set up a recall election, you’d need 11,110 signatures.
That really doesn’t seem like that much…I thought it’d be closer to 20,000.
Anyways, that’s not all, nor is that the first place you should start. I mean, yeah, you could get a hundred of your friends and have a big beer and brats party and sign the hell out of those forms, but it won’t do a helluva lot of good if that recall petition isn’t certified.
Now we run into trouble.
For you see, the recall petition has to be written up, and then it has to be approved or certified or whatever, by some lawyers or the City Attorney or…probably someone that’s gonna be damn likely to just flat-out reject thing as soon as it comes sailing across the desk, no matter what it says.
Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.
The rules governing the recall election in Missoula would fall under MCA 2-16-214 (4) and…well, I’m not sure what that’s about.
I do know there’s some other things here:
The Montana Recall Act, 2-16-601 through 635, applies to any "person holding a public office of the state or any of its political subdivisions, either by election or appointment..." 2-16-603.
"Political subdivision" means a local government unit including but not limited to a county, city, or town established under authority of Article XI, section 1, of The Constitution of the State of Montana or a school district. 2-16-602.
There are specific requirement on the petition depending on whether the officer is a state, county, city or school district officer. Those are set forth in the statutes.
As to review of a petition, 2-16-617 (3) & (4) provide that before a petition may be circulated for signatures it must be submitted to the officer with whom the petition must be filed in the form in which it will be circulated and must be accompanies by a sworn statement containing the reasons for the desired recall. The statutory details should be reviewed by any person intending to gather signatures on a recall petition.
Note that "a special election must be called unless the filing is within 90 days of a general election, in which case the question must be placed on a separate ballot at the same time as the general election." 2-16-622.
It means that if you somehow figure out how to write up the petition, the get the thing filed, it’ll be reviewed. If that somehow passes muster, the recall election has to be within 90 days…since the next Mayoral Election in Missoula isn’t until, what – 2017?
Now, does someone want to stop that water company lawsuit bad enough that they’ll get that petition filed and then get those signatures gathered and then get those signatures approved, before…oh, maybe mid-January?
Because that water company trial starts in March, and Mayor Engen has already made it clear he’ll sacrifice our roads, our fresh air on the North Side, or police evidence room, our South Avenue Residents, and a lot more, just so he can get yet another money siphon that’ll aid his policies.
That’s how I see it, but since I’m no lawyer, the chances of me drawing up a suitable petition are just silly. There’d be so many mistakes in it that even if it was picked up off that desk and not just summarily backhanded into the trash, it’d take all of 5 seconds to reject it.
I’d also be worried about how the city would take an active and approved recall signature-gathering process. If they were smart they’d laugh at me and give me everything I wanted – make me seem like a joke. But I have a feeling I’d get more signatures and more quickly than they expected, and that might scare them.
Could there be intimidation? I do not doubt it, I do not doubt it at all, and that’s from some of the things I’ve read in the paper. And I do have a wife that’s not a citizen…yet. Could that process somehow be maligned?
Of course those are all just excuses to continue to do nothing, much like those property tax payers that are ‘supposedly’ hurt so much by Engen’s policies.
Oh, and don’t think for a second that those complaining about their perceived tax problems are going to raise one finger or rub two pennies together to try and solve their mess – they won’t (it might take away from the time they could spend complaining, after all).
Maybe I’m just complaining too, but at least I’m presenting options.