Jeffco official verifies signatures on school board recall petitions

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Foes of recall now have 15 days to object

By Gabrielle Porter

Jeffco’s elections manager has verified that the group seeking a recall of the school board’s three conservative members has collected more than enough signatures on petitions to force an election.

The elections office finished verifying signatures on petitions to recall board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams on Tuesday, according to elections manager Carrie Kellogg.

Jeffco United for Action needed 15,000 valid signatures for each board member it wants to recall.

According to a news release from Kellogg’s office, the group gathered:

• 34,188 verified signatures to recall Newkirk.

• 33,942 to recall Witt.

• 33,900 to recall Williams.

The next phase of the recall process will be the waiting period. Opponents of the recall have 15 consecutive days, starting Tuesday and ending Sept. 2, to lodge a protest that shows the conduct of those who circulated the petitions was “substantially misleading.”

If a protest is filed in writing, Jeffco Clerk and Recorder Faye Griffin will appoint an official to preside over a hearing, and members of Jeffco United for Action will have to prove that the grounds on which they asked for a recall were accurate, Kellogg said.

If the recall is unchallenged, the school district will schedule a recall election 30 to 60 days after the waiting period ends, unless it is 90 days or less before the November election, in which case the question goes on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. The school board’s majority members could resign voluntarily within a few days of the signature approval to avoid a recall election.

Newkirk, Witt and Williams were elected in November 2013 as a slate of candidates and became the majority on a board that had been under liberal control for years.

Updates will be published at www.ColumbineCourier.com