William Grace recall, Elyria, Ohio, 2009
- Yes: 4,280 (58%)
- No: 3,151 (42%)
Grace was first elected in 1999. In early November, following an additional submission of signatures, Elections director Jose Candelario announced that recall supporters submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures to force a recall election. The recall election was scheduled for December 22, 2009.
Grace's term is scheduled to expire December 31, 2011.
Reasons for the recall
According to Stand Up Elyria, a group of local residents, recalling the mayor is vital to saving the town. They argue that Grace lacks "fiscal prudence needed in this tough economic time to effectively lead Elyria and that the city’s current financial crisis." The group first began their efforts to recall Grace in 2008.
Additionally, in December 2009, just before the scheduled recall election Stand Up Elyria announced their opposition to more than $100,000 of city funds spent on legal bills to fight the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District’s sewer project. According to the group the expense is a waste, primarily because "The LORCO project will not affect the city of Elyria in any way." However, Mayor Grace argues otherwise and called the group "misinformed." Grace added,"Our sewer system represents hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure investment our rate payers have been paying for years. Our actions are to protect the rate payers of our system. We believe there is a clear infringement on our service area, and it’s the city’s responsibility to protect that service area. Had we sat idly by, there would be claims that we were asleep at the switch."
Grace's response to recall
Grace argues that the Stand up for Elyria Committee has been trying to oust him for a long time now. "The leaders have demonstrated that they have a personal ax to grind with me and they used community debate to stir this. I understand that there is a body of people in the community that are unsatisfied with the direction I’m leading the city. Any leader has those who object to their agenda. Those objectors, coupled with stressors of the economy are using this recall as a vehicle to cause turmoil in the community," said Grace.
Initially, StandupElyria.com was launched as a website to garner support for the recall effort against Mayor Bill Grace, however in late November 2009 recall supporters abandoned the website and it was purchased by opponents of the recall effort. "It’s a free marketplace. I don’t want to speculate on if they didn’t fill out their forms or didn’t pay their bills. I just know it was available so it was secured by our committee," said Republican Jack Baird, a mayor supporter. However, according to Stand Up Elyria co-founder Craig Bevan, the group allowed for the site registration to lapse because "that phase of our project is done." Recall supporters have since developed a website called, RecallGrace.com.
Path to the ballot
On October 13, 2009 a local group called the Stand up Elyria Committee submitted 2,630 signatures. A total of 1,857 signatures were deemed valid by county officials - an insufficient amount for a recall election. An election was expected either in late November or early December. However, in early November 2009 recall supporters submitted 902 new signatures. Previously, the group was shy 413 signatures. If sufficient signatures were submitted and Grace does not resign, the city will have 30 to 45 days to schedule a special election. The election director, confirmed in early November that supporters had enough signatures to force a special election.
The total cost of the recall election was $48,634.44. Elections director Jose Candelario previously estimated that a special election would cost the city approximately $50,000, which amounts to about $900 - $1,300 per precinct. The cost includes poll workers, equipment and postage for absentee ballots. In late November 2009, Loraine County commissioners approved $106,000 for the Board of Elections to start preparing for the December 22nd recall election.
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "The recall: Bill Grace’s one-man election showdown," December 13, 2009
- The Plain Dealer, "Vote coming in mid-December for recall of Elyria Mayor Bill Grace," November 16, 2009
- Fox8.com, "Recall Vote Keeps Elyria Mayor in Office," December 23, 2009
- The Morning Journal, "It's official - Grace remains mayor," January 14, 2010
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "Mayor Grace recall vote will be Dec. 22," November 19, 2009
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "Elyria Mayor Bill Grace faces recall election," November 13, 2009
- The Morning Journal, "Elyria mayor to face recall: Group collects enough signatures for special election," November 13, 2009
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "Grace prepares for recall fight, blames firefighters," accessed November 9, 2009
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "Grace foes against LORCO fight," December 16, 2009
- The Morning Journal, "Petition to recall Elyria mayor filed," October 13, 2009
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "Pro-recall site snatched up by Grace supporters," November 24, 2009
- The Morning Journal, "Web site favoring recall of Mayor Grace taken over by Grace supporters," November 25, 2009
- The Morning Journal, "Group files petition to recall Elyria Mayor William Grace," October 14, 2009
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "Recall attempt comes up short," October 24, 2009
- The Morning Journal, "Group hands in 902 names for recall of Mayor Grace," November 3, 2009
- The Chronicle-Telegram, "Elyria owes more than $48,000 for recall," January 13, 2010
- The Morning Journal, "Elections board gets $106,000 of request," November 20, 2009