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Shasta County Recall Effort Nears Signature Deadline

Shasta County Supervisors Chimenti, Moty and Rickert are being challenged with local recall efforts.
Shasta County
Shasta County
Shasta County Supervisors Chimenti, Moty and Rickert are being challenged with local recall efforts.

Supporters of an effort to recall three Shasta County supervisors have just over a week to get the required number of signatures for their campaign to move forward. But it’s unclear whether they’ll have enough.

Since June, members of the group Recall Shasta have been gathering signatures in the county in an effort to recall three members of local government: Supervisors Joe Chimenti, Leonard Moty and Mary Rickert.

Recall Shasta argues the supervisors failed to stand up to California’s pandemic restrictions and, as a result, residents’ personal rights were violated.

Signatures for a recall have to be turned in by September 29th. They have to collect a minimum of 20% from each of the three supervisors’ districts.

But last week Recall Shasta filed a lawsuit against county clerk and elections manager Cathy Darling Allen. They argued that evacuations and unhealthy air from this summer’s wildfires made it difficult to get the number of signatures they need by the end of the month.

“Due to Shasta County’s ongoing fire emergencies, the 120-day deadline for Petitioners to submit their recall petitions, as applied to instant circumstances, unconstitutionally infringes on the public’s recall right,” the complaint reads.

Organizers say they should get a 34-day extension.

During the recent unsuccessful bid to recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, petitioners had their deadline extended by four months. In that case, organizers argued pandemic restrictions inhibited their ability to collect signatures.

If enough signatures are collected in Shasta County, a special election would take place sometime in late January or mid-March, according to the elections office.

The cost to the county to hold a special election ranges from $400,000 for one supervisor up to $640,000 for all three.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.