Keyser, West Virginia, Interprets its Recall Law to Mean that Petition Signers are Liable to Pay for Election, if Recall Attempt LosesApril 26th, 2012
Keyser, West Virginia, city officials are interpreting the city’s recall law to mean that if a recall petition successfully gets enough signatures, and then the official being recalled survives the recall vote, then the signers of the petition are financially liable for the cost of putting on the recall election. See this news story. The city is empowered to put a lien on the property of anyone who signs, who becomes liable, and who doesn’t pay.
Keyser is the largest town in Mineral County, in northeast West Virginia, just south of Maryland. It is estimated that a citywide recall would cost $10,000, and approximately 1,000 signatures are needed for a citywide recall. So, the average signer would be liable for approximately $10. Thanks to the Recall Elections Blog, via Rick Hasen, for the link. The Recall Elections Blog points out that if the official subject to the recall loses the recall vote and is ousted from office, he or she is not obliged to pay for the costs of the recall election.
This matter is somewhat reminiscent of the situation in Montana, where Rick Jore, the Constitution Party’s only elected legislator at the time, was forced to pay for the administrative costs of a recount. He had been declared the winner in the original tally, but someone had asked for a recount, and the recount showed he had not won the election after all. Jore was then told that he had to pay for the recount. This matter is also somewhat reminiscent of the situation in Pennsylvania, in which a petitioning group or candidate whose petition is challenged and found not to have enough valid signatures is liable for the costs of the challenge, which can exceed $100,000.