CHICO — The recall efforts against Chico Mayor Andrew Coolidge and Councilor Sean Morgan have proven to be a complex undertaking since they began in October.
Notices of intent were filed with the Chico City Clerk’s office for both sitting politicians with Coolidge’s form being rejected once and Morgan’s being rejected three times. These notices require that the petitioner obtain 20 signatures from residents within the city representative’s district.
One of Morgan’s notices of intent was rejected because of a formatting issue of the addresses of the signers being partially typed and partially written. The notice in question was the first attempt from the committee.
Earlier this week, the committee to recall Coolidge and Morgan, which calls itself Chico Voters, announced that it had acquired the notice of intent filed against former Mayor Randall Stone and former Councilor Karl Ory in 2019. Upon inspection, the same form for the 2019 recall attempt contained the same mix of printed and written addresses and names. At the time, the form was approved, though the recall effort did not go much further than that.
City Clerk Debbie Presson said in rejecting the notice of intent to recall Morgan, she worked with the Butte County Clerk-Recorder’s Office as well City Attorney Vincent Ewing and was advised to reject the notice.
Officials with the county elections office did not reply to multiple attempts to contact and Ewing, who was not the city attorney during the 2019 recall attempt, declined to comment on the matter.
Presson addressed the similarities between the two notices of intent, adding that the recall process for Ory and Stone was stopped by the proponents and therefore never went to the next step of verification from the county.
“In regards to the 2019 (notices of intent) containing typed in names and addresses in the attempted recall of Ory/Stone, the same rules would have applied,” Presson said. “However, that issue was not brought to my attention.”
The notice of intent against Morgan was approved on Dec. 13 and the proponents were then authorized to go forward with collecting signatures to get the recall on a ballot along with the Coolidge notice, which was approved earlier in December.
The committee is aiming to get signatures in time to have both recall elections on the scheduled June ballot. During a press conference held Thursday, the group said it wanted to meet the deadline for the June election in order to avoid a special election and get a larger voter turnout.
In the second recall notice of attempt against Morgan, it was determined that there were only 19 valid signatures when 20 are needed in order to go through the verification process.
Presson said the third rejection notice was rejected to a mistype that changed the word “chambers” to the word “changers” when referring to the Chico City Council Chambers.