RIO GRANDE COUNTY- To clarify some confusion surrounding cutoff dates for the petition to recall Rio Grande County District II Commissioner John Noffsker, Rio Grande County Clerk Cindy Hill answered some of the public’s questions.
The committee who started the petition to recall Noffsker at the end of July did not receive enough signatures to make the cutoff date in order for the petition to go on the November ballot according to Hill. Despite efforts to extend the cutoff dates, Hill stated that there was not enough time to meet the November ballot. According to state law, the committee has 60 days to acquire enough signatures for the petition to be approved regardless of the fact that they missed the deadline for the November ballot.
“C. R. S. 1-12-108 (7.5) The petition may be filed at any time during the sixty-day period after the designated election official’s approval as to form of the petition as specified in this section. The committee shall file all sections of a petition simultaneously, and any section of a petition submitted after the petition is filed is invalid and has no force or effect.”
There was some confusion on whether or not the petition would be signed in time to reach the November ballot, but according to Hill, if enough signatures are acquired in the 60-day period, the county will schedule a special election in order for the recall decision to go to the constituents of District II of Rio Grande County.
Once the petition is submitted to the county clerk, there is a period of 15 days that the clerk will use to verify and approve the petition for certification. “C. R. S. 1-12-108 (8) (c) (I) After review, and no later than 15 business days after the initial filing of the petition, the designated election official shall notify the committee and the incumbent of the number of valid signatures and whether the petition appears to be sufficient or insufficient.”
Once the petition is verified, Commissioner Noffsker then has a period of 15 days to dispute any signatures on the petition in written format. “C. R. S. 1-12-108 (9) (a) (I) A recall petition that has been verified by the designated election official shall be held to be sufficient unless a protest in writing under oath is filed in the office of the designated election official by an eligible elector within 15 days after the designated election official has determined the sufficiency of the petition under paragraph (c) of subsection (8) of this section.”
The recall effort has made waves throughout the community with people both for and against the petition. Four out of six elected officials within the county have anonymously disputed the petition’s allegations that claim they work in a hostile environment and who have stated that they were not contacted before the petition was filed.
Committee members and other constituents continue to pass the petition throughout the county and although a final count has yet to be determined, petitioners feel that they are close to the number of signatures needed. “The petition must contain 909 valid signatures. It is suggested that the petition have more than 909 signatures to allow for disputed signatures. All petition sections must be filed simultaneously. The number of petition sections is not limited. Any section submitted after the deadline will be rejected. The special recall election will probably be held in December,” stated Hill.
Noffsker continues to deny all allegations pertained in the petition.