A revised count of signatures on a petition to recall a Democratic state senator will still fall just short of qualifying for a special election.
According to an amended certificate of results submitted by Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria on Monday, the effort to recall state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse has a total of 14,391 valid signatures, which is 21 signatures under the threshold set in state law to qualify for a recall election. The finding comes two days before a court hearing on the full verification.
State and county election officials said last week that the final signature counts for the recall campaigns targeting Woodhouse and fellow state Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, whose was under the threshold by about 500 signatures, would fail to trigger a special election after invalid signatures were removed from the count.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last week that backers of the recall efforts had asked the county to recheck 389 signatures on the Woodhouse recall petition. The initial count of valid signatures on the petition to recall Woodhouse totaled 14,216, which was 196 signatures below the threshold.
The signature threshold is significant as District Court Judge Jerry Wiese last month upheld the constitutionality of a state law allowing for the additional removal of hundreds of signatures from the petitions based on signature removal requests turned in after the petition was submitted to state election officials. The deficient count in the Woodhouse petition does not include post-submission withdrawals.
Backers of the recalls have argued in court that the use of so-called post-submission revocations, or signatures withdrawal requests submitted after the recall petition had been turned into election officials, should be considered unconstitutional. Although an attorney for the recall group has hinted it plans to appeal Wiese’s decision to the state Supreme Court after Wednesday’s hearing, a favorable ruling at the higher court would be effectively moot if the recall efforts didn’t qualify, regardless if the post-submission revocations are counted.
Nevada law requires recalls to gather signatures from 25 percent of voters who cast a ballot in the last election of the targeted office-holder within a 90-day period. Signatures are then reviewed and processed by state and local election officials, who assess and take out invalid signatures to determine whether the recall petition meets the minimum threshold.