Steve Youngdahl recall, Lake Pend Oreille School Board, Idaho (2014)

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An effort to recall Lake Pend Oreille School Board Chairman Steve Youngdahl in Idaho was launched in October 2013. The recall question failed to reach the ballot because organizers did not meet petition requirements established by state law.[1] The Bonner County Clerk initially approved the question for the ballot in December 2013. A review by the Idaho Secretary of State's office in January 2014 concluded that recall petitions must be submitted at one time.[2] Criminal charges have been brought against two Bonner County officials that may be in connection to improper handling of signature submissions for this recall.[3]

Recall supporter arguments

The recall effort was triggered because of data that Youngdahl used to propose a policy to allow district staff members to carry guns. The study, according to supporters of the recall, was "conducted by a politically-biased individual without consideration for proper academic rigor."[4][5][6]

The recall was launched by Tom Bokowy, Jacinda Bokowy, Stephanie Aitken and Sandpoint City Council candidate Bill Aitken.[5]

Steve Youngdahl's response

Youngdahl stated that he was simply bringing an issue, suggested by residents, to the school board's attention. He also argued that the data used was supported by an unnamed Homeland Security associate. Youngdahl noted that he never forced the proposal on the board.[4]

Criminal charges

Bonner County Clerk Ann Dutson-Sater (D) and Deputy Clerk Konrad Wurm are facing criminal charges that are likely related to signature submissions in this recall effort. While the charges are sealed until the initial court appearance by the defendants, Dutson-Sater has stated that she allowed a recall backer to sign-off on the petitions without knowing that he had not gathered all the signatures. She also indicated that she believed the investigation came about after Youngdahl's supporters sought charges against one of the recall supporters.[3]

Dutson-Sater ran for re-election against Michael Rosedale (R) in the November 4, 2014, general election.[3]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Idaho

A minimum of 105 signatures were required to trigger a recall election. Recall organizers submitted a total of 107 signatures to the County Clerk in late December 2013. The county clerk initially approved the signatures after organizers submitted petitions over multiple days. The Idaho Secretary of State ruled in January 2014 that state law requires petitions to be submitted in a single batch. Supports of the recall have noted that they will not pursue another recall drive against Youngdahl.[2]

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