The Jefferson County school board recall election will be part of this fall’s regular ballot, the county clerk announced Thursday.
The recall question will be part of the mail-in ballot, which will be sent to voters in October, the clerk said. Anticipating a larger turnout, the clerk’s office will also set up additional polling centers on Election Day, Nov. 3, for those who want to vote in person.
The announcement follows months of speculation about the timing and potential added costs of a recall. If a special election were required, the school district would face an estimated cost of $500,000.
A letter from the Secretary of State’s office sent after business hours, however, casts some doubt on whether the recall could be part of the regular mail-in ballot.
The letter, sent about 5:30 p.m., asks the clerk to provide the state with a plan on how the clerk’s office will address ballots to those in the military. Those ballots must go out by mid-September, which is problematic because candidates running to replace the recall targets have until Sept. 28 to turn in petitions with at least 50 valid signatures needed to make the ballot.
The letter was first reported by CBS4.
There was always doubt about whether the recall would make this fall’s regular ballot because there are discrepancies between state laws that govern recalls and regular elections. Recall organizers said they worked to submit enough signatures within a three-day window they believed would guarantee a spot on this fall’s ballot.
Five candidates have pulled petitions so far, but none have returned them completed, Beth Clippinger, spokeswoman for the clerk’s office, said earlier Thursday.
“The sooner the better. That would help us,” Clippinger said. “But we have to follow the law.”
Those who have picked up petitions are: Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon, Ron Mitchell, Matthew Dhieux and Paula Noonan.
Jeffco residents who began the recall process believe the school board majority has misused taxpayer dollars, disrespected teachers and parents, and met in private.
Witt, Williams, Newkirk and their supporters counter that reality is the opposite. The school district is building a new school without increasing debt or taxes, they’ve given teachers raises and made meetings more accessible by live streaming them on the Internet.