A group describing itself as “mothers, fathers, coaches, business leaders and students” and “not affiliated with any political candidate or party,” has moved forward with the process to recall Mayor Dominic Foppoli following allegations of a pattern of sexual assault over many years.
According to a statement from Recall Foppoli, on April 12, a group of Windsor residents filed necessary campaign finance documents to start the recall effort.
“On April 8, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article detailing four different instances of grievous acts of sexual assault and rape committed by the mayor against four different women. Since then, two more women have come forward publicly with similar stories,” said the statement. “Dozens of elected officials and community leaders, including Representatives Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman, Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Jim Wood, eight city mayors and the entire Windsor Town Council have since demanded the mayor's resignation. Instead of resigning, the mayor has denied the allegations and stated that he intends to remain in office.”
"Despite repeated calls from residents to resign, Dominic Foppoli has made clear that he will not leave office, and will instead attempt to distract from the allegations against him with a strategy of blatant lies and misdirection," said Tim Zahner, chair of the Recall Foppoli Campaign in a statement. "This is part of a larger pattern of narcissistic and dangerous behavior from the mayor that not only harms his reputation, but also creates unnecessary strain on our community. Mayor Foppoli has to go. If he won't resign, let there be no doubt that the residents of Windsor will remove him from office."
According to the California Secretary of State’s office, which governs all recall elections, Article II of the California Constitution, approved by California voters in 1911, allows people to recall and remove elected officials and justices of the State Supreme Court from office.
The recall process is precise and lengthy (there is, for example, an entire section on what exact size the margins on the petition signature sheets must be and what fonts are required), but in a nutshell, it is as follows.
A notice of intention must be filed and the subject of the recall has seven days to respond in writing. Within 10 days of that response, a blank copy of the petition must be filed with the state and approved. If changes must be made, then the 10-day cycle starts over again until the petition is approved.
The number of signatures required on the petition to bring the recall forward depends on the number of registered voters, but for Windsor it’s 20% (less than 50,000 registered voters, but more than 10,000).
Once approved, the recall petition can be circulated by any person 18 years of age or older, and can be signed by registered voters who are qualified to vote for the office of the officer sought to be recalled. Any voter may withdraw their signature from the recall petition upon filing a written request with the county elections official prior to the day the petition section on which the signature appears is filed.
The signed petition must then be sent to the election official, and the time frame to get signatures depends on the size of the electorate. In Windsor’s case, it is 120 days (less than 50,000 registered voters but at least 10,000).
The elections official must verify every signature submitted or, where more than 500 signatures are submitted, may use a random sampling signature verification technique.
If the random sampling technique is not used, the elections official has 30 business days from the date of filing of the petition, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, to determine whether the petition is signed by the required number of voters, certify the results of the examination, and notify the proponents.
If the random sampling technique is used, the elections official must complete the examination of the sample of signatures within 30 business days of the filing of the petition. The random sampling techniques works by extrapolating out the results of the sample. For example, if 80% of the sample signatures are found to be valid, then 80% of the entire number of signatures are deemed to be valid.
If the certification of signature is done using a statistical sampling model, and the number of valid signatures is 110% of the number required for recall, the petition is considered qualified without further verification, and the elections official must certify the results of the examination to the governing board at its next regular meeting.
If the statistical sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is within 90 to 110% of the number of signatures needed, the elections official must examine and verify each signature filed.
If the number is less than 90%, then the petition is considered “insufficient” and the recall won’t move forward.
Within 14 days of receiving the “certificate of sufficiency,” the governing body must issue an order stating that an election will be held to determine whether or not the officer named in the petition shall be recalled. If the governing body fails to issue the order within 14 days, the county elections official, within five days, will then be the one to set the date.
The election shall be held not less than 88 nor more than 125 days after the issuance of the order, and if a regular or special election is to be held throughout the electoral jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled within such time period, the recall election shall be held on the same day and consolidated with the regular or special election.
Given these time frames, it is not possible that any recall election would be able to be tied into the May 4 special election currently being held in Windsor.
To learn more about the recall effort go to: recallfoppoli.com/take-action.
The statement ends with the organization stating they have not “organized any of the protests that have occurred in Windsor.”