La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Parker approved the recall petition against county Commissioner Gwen Lachelt on Monday, which gives recall organizers until March 30 to submit 7,505 valid signatures to send the effort to voters.
If petitioners submit the required amount of signatures, Parker has 15 days to verify them. She said the rejection rate is usually high because some people who sign may not be registered to vote or do not properly fill out the petition.
As a result, Parker recommends petitioners collect 15 percent more than the required amount. In this case, it would be 8,630 signatures.
If the recall petition is successful, Parker said a recall election would likely be set for a Tuesday in July. The date of the vote could slide into August, she said, depending on official protests and legal challenges.
If enough signatures are verified, the petition process enters a 15-day period when anyone eligible to vote in the election can file a written protest objecting to the petition or the process of gathering signatures with the county Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
Parker then would have 30 days to hold a hearing or designate another person to hold the hearing and rule on the validity of the written protest. Parker said she would normally designate someone else to hold the hearing, as that provides a third-party check on her office’s decisions and work on the recall effort.
Then, Lachelt has five days to either submit a letter of opposition or choose to resign. A letter of opposition would send the matter to voters.
Parker said a special recall election would cost the county $58,000.