Fun Facts About Arizona Recall Elections

by Daniel Foster

Article I, Section 8 of the Arizona state constitution:

Officers Subject to Recall; Petitioners

Every public officer in the state of Arizona, holding an elective office, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall from such office by the qualified electors of the electoral district from which candidates are elected to such office. Such electoral district may include the whole state. Such number of said electors as shall equal twentyfive per centum of the number of votes cast at the last preceding general election for all of the candidates for the office held by such officer, may by petition, which shall be known as a recall petition, demand his recall.

363,909 total votes were cast for sheriff in 2008, meaning that 90,978 residents of Pima County would have to sign a recall petition to force a recall election of Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. (Dupnik’s Republican opponent received 128,146 votes.) The petition would have to contain a general statement of 200 words or fewer outlining the case for recall.

Dupnik would have five days to resign his position following the filing of a successful recall petition. If he failed to do so, a recall election would be scheduled as provided by law. The Pima County Board of Supervisors would be required to call for a recall election within 15 days, to be scheduled for the first available election day — provided it is more 90 days away from the announcement. Pima County holds elections in March, May, and November — so May would be the first plausible date.

Dupnik would appear on the ballot un-nominated, along with any other candidates duly nominated according to Arizona election procedures. A two hundred word or fewer explanation of Dupnik’s course of office would also appear on the ballot. Whichever candidate achieves a simple plurality would be elected to fill the remainder of Dupnik’s term.

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