FILER — The county clerk says petitioners failed to get enough valid signatures to force a recall election of the mayor and most of the City Council. But recall petitioners claim the clerk’s office was wrong to reject many signatures.
Petitioners say they turned in about 230 signatures to Filer Clerk Deb McMahan, but the Twin Falls County clerk’s office disqualified dozens of signatures for various reasons. Instead of putting the issue to bed, the unexpected outcome has added fuel to the fire.
Unhappy with how city officials were running the town, some residents had hoped to gather the 196 valid signatures needed to put the recall on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.
The county rejected the petitions because some voters’ signatures on the petitions don’t match their voter registration card. Some registered to vote after they signed the petition. Others don’t live in the city or have moved. Still others signed twice.
But petitioner Tara Wiggins, wife of Filer Police Officer Jay Wiggins, said she is suspicious of the county clerk’s conclusions — especially the rejection of signatures that didn’t match years-old registration cards. Wiggins claims others filed their voter registered cards before they signed the petitions, but their signatures weren’t counted because their names weren’t immediately put into the county’s computer.
“These people are pissed beyond belief,” she said.
The town has been in what its firefighters called “political chaos” since city officials began working on Filer’s 2017-18 budget. Mayor Rick Dunn asked Sheriff Tom Carter to come up with a proposal to provide coverage for the town as a cost-cutting measure, to allow the city to fold its police department. Instead of accepting the county’s proposal, the council fired Police Chief Tim Reeves at its July 18 council meeting.
In late August, McMahan turned over the petitions to recall Mayor Rick Dunn and City Council members Ruby Allen, Christina Hatch and Gary Dietrick to Twin Falls County Clerk Kristina Glascock for certification. Councilman Russell “Bud” Sheridan was spared from the recall effort.
Wiggins personally went through the signatures “with a fine-toothed comb” before turning the petitions into McMahan, she said, and is confident there are more than enough valid signatures to force a recall election.
It’s too late to get the issue on the ballot in November, Glascock said.
Wiggins is looking for any recourse, and has contacted the Idaho Secretary of State’s office and is talking with attorneys.
This is the second failed recall attempt during Dunn’s four-year term as mayor. An attempt in 2014 to recall Dunn and all four council members fell through when petitioners failed to gather enough signatures.
Dunn is not running for re-election in November, but both Sheridan and Allen are running for mayor.
“These people are pissed beyond belief.” Tara Wiggins, Filer recall petitioner