Democrats are des­per­ate on re­calls

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - OPINION - COM­MEN­TARY

W Eknew Ne­vada Democrats were des­per­ate to de­feat re­call cam­paigns against three sit­ting state se­na­tors. We knew their “de­cline-to-sign” work­ers have stalked and ha­rassed fe­male pe­ti­tion gath­er­ers. Now there’s strong ev­i­dence that they’ve re­sorted to out­right lies.

Don’t ex­pect their be­hav­ior to im­prove ei­ther — as­sum­ing re­call sup­port­ers are suc­cess­ful in de­fend­ing the ef­forts in court.

Repub­li­cans filed the three pe­ti­tions in Au­gust. Democrats are cur­rently chal­leng­ing the re­call of Sen. Joyce Wood­house, D-hen­der­son, in court. The cam­paign against Sen. Patricia Far­ley, I-las Ve­gas, failed. On Tues­day, re­call back­ers turned in 16,875 sig­na­tures to re­call Nicole Can­niz­zaro, D-las Ve­gas. They need 14,975 ver­i­fied sig­na­tures for the mat­ter to pro­ceed.

If the ef­forts against Can­niz­zaro suc­ceed, ex­pect a re­peat of the lies and de­cep­tion that Democrats used to try to stop the Wood­house re­call.

The sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice has al­ready qual­i­fied the re­call against Wood­house. It de­ter­mined that the pe­ti­tions in­cluded 15,444 valid sig­na­tures out of 17,465 sub­mit­ted. That was just above the 15,201 needed to trig­ger an elec­tion.

Democrats be­lieve the law gives them a win­dow to ask vot­ers who signed the pe­ti­tion to with­draw their sig­na­tures. Janet York, a voter in Wood­house’s dis­trict, said she and her hus­band Mur­ray had peo­ple come to their door five or six times try­ing to get them to re­scind their sig­na­tures. The United Au­to­mo­bile Work­ers union even called Mur­ray, a re­tired Ford worker.

“I’ve signed many pe­ti­tions in my life­time,” said York. “I’ve never had peo­ple come back and say, ‘Why, why?’ It’s ridicu­lous.”

While ag­gres­sive door-to-door cam­paigns may be an­noy­ing, they aren’t il­le­gal. Im­per­son­at­ing a gov­ern­ment em­ployee, how­ever, is.

Last week, re­call com­mit­tee mem­ber and for­mer Repub­li­can Assem­bly­man Stephen Sil­berkraus filed a com­plaint al­leg­ing that re­call op­po­nents were do­ing just that. Sil­berkraus said he had wit­nesses who would tes­tify that peo­ple pur­port­edly work­ing for Wood­house told vot­ers that they were with the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice and ver­i­fy­ing sig­na­tures. They were re­ally try­ing to trick vot­ers into sign­ing a doc­u­ment that would re­move their sig­na­ture.

The next day, Sil­berkraus sub­mit­ted an­other com­plaint. This one in­volved a text mes­sage claim­ing to be from Donna West, Clark County Demo­cratic Party chair. The text told vot­ers that the re­call elec­tions would cost vot­ers “more than a mil­lion dol­lars” and asked them to re­move their name.

That’s a lie. Wood­house’s elec­tion will cost $50,000. West didn’t re­spond to my re­quests for com­ment.

While the lies are con­cern­ing, a court will de­cide if the re­call moves for­ward or not. A key is­sue is whether vot­ers may re­move their sig­na­tures af­ter the pe­ti­tions have been turned in.

State law says that — af­ter back­ers sub­mit the re­call pe­ti­tion — peo­ple may re­move their name if they demon­strate “good cause.” But that’s like let­ting one team con­tinue to play af­ter the game clock hits zero.

The con­sti­tu­tion makes no pro­vi­sion for a voter to re­move his or her sig­na­ture af­ter the pe­ti­tion is filed. Rather, it reads that the elec­tion “shall be or­dered” if 25 per­cent of vot­ers in the most re­cent elec­tion sign the re­call pe­ti­tion. Democrats claim more than 2,000 peo­ple signed doc­u­ments to re­move their names from the Wood­house re­call. No word on how many thought they were talk­ing to some­one with the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice.

Vot­ers have qual­i­fied the Wood­house re­call, an im­pres­sive feat.

They de­serve the fi­nal voice.

Vic­tor Joecks’ col­umn ap­pears in the Opinion sec­tion each Sun­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. Lis­ten to him dis­cuss his col­umns each Mon­day at 9 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790

Talk Now. Con­tact him at vjoecks@ re­viewjour­ or 702-383-4698. Fol­low @vic­tor­joecks on Twit­ter.

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