Decision on Recall Elections Expected

6/8/11 – A state panel will decide today whether to hold recall elections against three Democratic senators. The State Democratic Party has asked the Government Accountability Board to throw out recall petitions against Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Bob Wirch. They said Republican circulators used fraud in getting people to sign the petitions – and in one case, Native Americans were told they were supporting Indian rights. Yesterday, board staffers refused to make a recommendation on the matter. That leaves it to the board’s six retired judges to decide whether to hold the elections. Board director Kevin Kennedy says the panel can throw out all or part of the petitions. And if they find fraud, they’ll have to decide whether to recommend criminal charges. Meanwhile, the people who organized the recall efforts against Holperin and Hansen are accusing the accountability board of dragging its feet. David Vanderleest, who led the Hansen recall effort, says the board is not getting its work done and it should lose its state funding. But a judge agreed last week that the board needed more time to act on the matter, because it’s been busy processing thousands of recall petitions while handling the recent State Supreme Court recount.