D-49 recall may be settled in special election

July 6, 2009

A community group trying to recall two Falcon School District 49 board members had hoped to avoid the cost of a special election by timing its effort to the regular November election.

Now, it appears there may be a special election after all, but the group's leaders insist it's not their fault. They were given incorrect information by county election officials, said Tracy Stuehm, recall committee spokeswoman.

A special election could cost D-49 up to $68,000, school board president Anna Bartha  said. It would cost less if it's a mail-in ballot.

In May, the group started gathering signatures to recall Kent Clawson and Dave Martin. The petitions were turned in to the El Paso County Clerk's office on deadline day Monday with an unverified 4,371 signatures to oust Martin and 4,357 for Clawson. About 3,400 valid signatures are needed for each.

The county has 10 days to verify the signatures; then there is a 15-day period to contest the results.

Based on that timetable, it appeared a recall election could be timed to coincide with the November election. In a March e-mail from county election officials, the group's leaders were told that if the petitions were verified, "the recall election shall be held as part of the General Election by law."

But the information was apparently incorrect because this isn't a general election year. Instead it is a "coordinated election year," which runs on a different timetable.

"Basically with further discussion with the county attorney and the Colorado Secretary of State to get a clarification, the fact is that we don't have a general election this year," said Liz Olson, county election manager.

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