Attorneys, Ruemmler disagree on number of signatures required for recall in Avon
Following an unsuccessful attempt to recall members of the Avon Town Council, Wildridge resident Tom Ruemmler offered a different interpretation of the number of signatures required to initiate a recall election.
Ruemmler’s read on the Colorado Constitution — which states signatures totaling 25 percent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding election can trigger a recall — reflects a number that is about 140 signatures fewer than the number town attorney Paul Wisor says can initiate a recall of candidates elected to the Town Council in 2018 in Avon.
Ruemmler and Wisor agree that a one-fourth factor determines the number of signatures to trigger a recall, but while Wisor maintains that means one-fourth of the total number of voters, Ruemmler says it should be one-fourth of one-fourth of the total number of votes cast, since voters were allowed to vote as many as four times each.
At a Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Ruemmler shared his view.
“If we just used votes cast, we would have had to obtain 1,319 signatures, which is 60 percent more than the votes that the candidates got,” Ruemmler said.
Support Local Journalism
By dividing that 1,319 figure by four, Ruemmler arrives at his figure of 330. Wisor’s figure of 496 is one fourth of the total number of voters (1,984).
’25 percent of the electorate’
Before Wisor had a chance to respond, Kristi Ferraro, an Avon resident and practicing attorney, offered a response that coincides with Wisor’s view.
Ferraro said the Colorado Supreme Court has held that 25% of all votes cast means 25% of the electorate.
“496 signatures represent 25 percent of the 1984 voters who cast ballots for Avon Town Council in the 2018 election,” Ferraro said. “330 signatures only represents 17 percent of the 2018 Avon electorate, which is a small and unrepresentative minority. A recall election should not be held in response to the wishes of only 17 percent of the electorate.”
Wisor, in an email, said he’s certain the town performed the correct math in arriving at its figure.
“We have spent a significant amount of time reviewing the relevant constitutional, statutory and charter provisions as well as the applicable case law with respect to this issue,” Wisor wrote. “I am absolutely confident we have correctly calculated the number of signatures required to trigger a recall election.”
Avon resident Michael Cacioppo, who helped with the recall effort, said Ruemmler now has the opportunity see the issue settled in court, and that is how he would like to see it resolved.
“I suggest to you all that Mr. Ruemmler is reading the law correctly and you may very well get the opportunity to defend yourselves in court,” Cacioppo said. “That’s my hope.”