Political group pushes forward on signature authentication

CHICO — Political group Chico Voters announced Thursday that three of its residents who signed an initial recall petition for Councilor Sean Morgan provided declarations under penalty of perjury to the Chico City Clerk’s Office.

Morgan’s recall notice was rejected a second time Wednesday because it was one signature short after three of the signatures were deemed invalid.

“Their three signatures had been rejected by the City Clerk, resulting in the rejection of the Notice of Intention to Recall Councilor Sean Morgan,” the release said. “This action comes after (Butte) County Clerk Candance Grubbs explained earlier in the day that her agency’s role is to simply determine if a signature matches a signature on a voter registration form.”

The rejection put the recall petition for Morgan one signature short at 19 out of 20.

Chico City Clerk Debbie Presson said she was unsure about the declarations and that it is likely that Chico Voters will need to go back to the beginning, get all new signatures and serve Morgan once again.

“We couldn’t accept it because there was nothing in the election code that said we could,” Presson said.

Presson said the rejection was due to the three signatures not matching the individuals’ voter registration cards.

“People need to make sure their registration is up to date,” Presson said. “If you are serious about recalling an official that citizens put into office, you need to do it the right way.”

The second notice served to Mayor Andrew Coolidge, however, will be going on to the next step.

Chico Voters gained 27 signatures for Coolidge’s recall petition and even with some removed for invalidation by the city, the group was still able to have more than 20 signatures.

Presson said the next step in the mayoral recall will be a rebuttal from Coolidge which is due by Tuesday. The statement will need to be 200 words or less and filed with the City Clerk’s Office for approval.

“The recall petition has to be accurate so that people don’t sign something that potentially has errors in it,” Presson said.

Presson added that accuracy is important because of the seriousness of both the election and recall processes.

“I love elections because they provide a chance for people to have their voices heard,” Presson said. “I believe in the importance of these opportunities. But it needs to be done right and I want to protect the integrity of the process.”

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