Elections office rejects initial recall papers for Coolidge, Morgan

CHICO — The notices of intention to recall Mayor Andrew Coolidge and Councilor Sean Morgan have been rejected as of Wednesday.

The city of Chico issued two separate statements for Coolidge and Morgan on the rejections, each implying that the notices did not meet the Election Code sections 100 (b) and 9020.

Last week, political group Chico Voters served recall notices to both men and began the process. The paperwork was filed with the Chico City Clerk’s Office to be verified before moving on to the next step. Both forms were revealed to have been rejected at around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“I believe this shows what a divisive issue this actually is,” Coolidge said. “I don’t believe that trying to unseat targeted council members at this time, particularly less than a year after the election, makes any sense at all. We’re moving ahead with solutions through settlement with the federal magistrate that I think the majority of the people in the city will be very satisfied with. This council continues to show they respond well to the citizens of Chico.”

Both sections of the Election Code that were allegedly violated deal in the signers’ names, signatures, addresses and voter registration. In her email sent to recall proponents, Chico city clerk Debbie Presson said the paperwork was “unacceptable as submitted because the names and addresses are pre-printed,” while the election code states each person who signs the form must print their name and address themselves. She added a legal analysis of the decision was reviewed by the city attorney’s office.

Chico Voters spokesperson Morgan Kennedy issued a response from the group.

“That’s not how we interpreted the code,” Kennedy said. “This was a formatting error. We will move forward with gathering the appropriate forms and signatures as soon as possible and continue fighting for a bright future for Chico.”

Kennedy said the group would not be commenting further on the matter as of Wednesday.

Addison Winslow, the petitioner in the recall against Coolidge, said it appears that part of the issue was due to addresses being printed rather than written by hand.

“I don’t think initiating a recall process should be lackadaisical, but the minutiae of assembling paperwork should be less obscure so people who can’t hire professional political consultants can navigate the process,” Winslow said.

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