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City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's Office is whittling away at the laws governing recall elections.

In an August 16 memo, Deputy City Attorney Sharon Spivak found that a requirement that signature gatherers in recall elections be registered voters and San Diego residents is unconstitutional and would likely be struck down in court.

San Diego Municipal Code section 27.2712 reads:

I, (printed name of circulator), declare: Under penalty of perjury I, (printed name of circulator), declare: That I am a registered voter of (The City of San Diego) (San Diego Unified School District) and that all the signatures on each petition section were made in my presence and were observed by me, and that all of the sheets constituting this petition section were fastened together at the time such signatures were made; and that to the best of my knowledge and belief such signatures are the genuine signatures of the persons who have signed the petition; and that the signatures were obtained between.

The memo was issued just two days before opponents of Mayor Bob Filner launched an organized recall effort over accusations that the Mayor sexually harassed 17 women.

In the past few weeks, as reported victims came forward, Goldsmith's Office has chipped away at what he says are unconstitutional requirements included in the law.

"This Memorandum confirms that state and local election officials will not enforce requirements that recall petition circulators be registered voters or residents of a given jurisdiction," reads Spivak's memo. "The San Diego County Registrar of Voters thus will count valid signatures of registered voters on recall petitions, regardless of the circulator’s status as a resident or registered voter."

The Deputy City Attorney goes on to add that the memo is not enough and that the law should be changed for good.

"Valid signatures on petitions for recall will be counted by elections officials, regardless of the petition circulator’s status as a resident or registered voter. Although the City removed unconstitutional requirements from the Municipal Code sections dealing with petition circulators handling initiatives and referenda, the requirement remains in the recall laws. Although it will not be enforced, this Office recommends that the section be amended to remove that language and include the petition circulator language now found in the initiative and referenda sections."

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Yankeedoodle Aug. 20, 2013 @ 8:33 a.m.

Wouldn't want anything to get in the way of the sale, like having to convince or pay residents to circulate petitions. Just say it's unconstitutional and that out of the kindness of your hearts and while being paid by those taxpayers you will gently remove any impediments to buying any office at any time. Thank you so much.


aardvark Aug. 20, 2013 @ 8:49 a.m.

I thought I had read recently that this had already happened in Colorado, and the provision was indeed ruled unconstitutional.


danfogel Aug. 20, 2013 @ 8:53 a.m.

If, that's the case, in Colorado, then Don Bauder should be all over this.


aardvark Aug. 20, 2013 @ 12:02 p.m.

EDIT--Could not change my comment. It appears I am wrong on my original comment--at least I haven't found anything to back it up. Perhaps Mr Bauder can help.


aardvark Aug. 20, 2013 @ 12:52 p.m.

2ND EDIT--The more I read about Colorado recalls, well, let's just say they appear to have multiple issues with their recall process.


dwbat Aug. 20, 2013 @ 9:11 a.m.

Here's how the affidavit on the recall petition looks now.


Psycholizard Aug. 20, 2013 @ 12:02 p.m.

This opinion could be challenged should the recall get certified. They should stop opining and get down to the streets with clipboards, if they want a recall.


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