The Jake Files

April 25, 2006

Fundamentals of Recall Elections 101

I was musing recently about what the implications of the pending recall would be, namely, how would someone else be seated on the council in the event that the recall was successful.

Geo did some research and came up with the following (long post, but read it all):

Now, this seems to be saying that if a recall takes place in November, then the remainder of the council will be able to simply appoint a replacement or replacements and those replacements would remain in office for the remainder of the unexpired term. This would be two years, as both Sepulveda and Orlando's terms expire in 2008. It would be entirely at the discretion of the remainder of the council as to whether they wished to allow a special election to find replacements (or by their inability to agree, were forced to do so).

I have to say, this sounds worrisome to me. It means that if the recall succeeds, then there are only two unfortunate possibilities: either the rest council will simply appoint one or two Councilmembers for two more years (undemocratic) or we have to hold a special election within a few months after the recall election to choose the temporary replacements (costly and disruptive). 

Yesterday, I emailed Ray Pilara, the man behind the recall.  His response, and my original email, are reproduced below in their entirety:


I have a question about the recall process in the City of Chandler.  If there are enough signatures to force a recall election, do candidates "run against" the incumbents, or is there a secondary election for new candidates if the recall is successful, or does the council appoint replacements?  Or is there some other method of replacing recalled candidates?

I'd like to post your response on my blog,, and will continue to link to updates about the recall effort.

Amazing Jake

And Ray's response from earlier today:

Dear Jake,

The answer to your question in found in the Constitution of the State of Arizona, Article VIII, Section 4: Special election, candidates; results; qualification of successor.

Section 4. Unless the incumbent otherwise requests, in writing, the incumbent's name shall be placed as a candidate on the official ballot without nomination.  Other candidates for the office may be nomincated (sic) to be voted for at said election.  The candidate who receives the highest nunber (sic) of votes shall be declared elected for the remainder of the term.  Unless the incumben receives the highest number of votes, the incumbent shall be deemed to be removed from office, upon qualification of the successor.  In the event that the successor shall not qualify within five days after the result of said election shall have been declared, the said office shall be vacant, and may be filled as provided by law.

My interpretation of the above is:

1.  Orlando and Sepulveda will be placed on the ballot unless one or both choose not to run.

2.  At least 2 people will need to run against them.

3.  The 2 candidates with the highest number of votes for the office will fill the remainder of their terms.

4.  If they are not in the top 2, they are deemed to be removed from office.

5.  If the 2 highest vote getters are not "qualifed" and one or both are not Orlando or Sepulveda, that office is deemed vacant, and another process will be used to fill the vacancy. (This could be interesting in that the council could not fill Sepulveda's seat during his abscence (sic).)

You may post this on your blog.


Ray Pilara

So, if there are any election attorneys out there, can someone please clear this up?



  1. Interesting! I’ll link to this and hope to hear confirmation or correction by folks who are more knowledgeable than I am about this.

    (p.s. The formatting on Ray’s comment comes through as all one line. You may need to force carriage returns.)

    Comment by Geo — April 25, 2006 @ 12:04 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks. I ended up retyping the whole exchange.

    Comment by Amazing Jake — April 25, 2006 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

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