Deb Roschen recall, Wabasha County, Minnesota (2012)
Reasons for recall
A group called Wabasha County Citizens for Responsible Government organized the recall campaign. Roschen was accused of overstepping her authority by implying she would cut the county sheriff’s department’s budget after the sheriff did not support state legislation she favored. She was also accused of seeking to terminate a county social services employee after the employee blamed county budget cuts for a delay in services. Roschen accused the sheriff of harassment and then halted the ensuing investigation by declining to participate in it. Roschen has also been accused of making defamatory comments about a county highway worker and attempting to circumvent open meeting and data practices laws.
Roschen has said that some of the allegations against her are “issues taken out of context,” while others are “completely false and inaccurate.” She further stated that “I have not ruled out the possibility of seeking legal counsel against certain individuals." A group called Wabasha Citizens for Progress is backing Roschen.
Path to the ballot
Recall organizers needed to turn in the signatures of 25% of voters in Roschen's 2nd District, or 415 certified signatures, in order for the chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court to decide whether the allegations against Roschen merit a public hearing. If a hearing had resulted in Roschen being found guilty of committing malfeasance in office, a special removal election would have been held in accordance with the laws governing recall in Minnesota.
On November 23rd, recall organizers said that they had so far collected more than 300 of the 415 signatures needed to instigate the recall process.
In early January 2012, recall organizers submitted 519 signatures to the county. 505 of the signatures were validated. Only 415 signatures were needed. The recall petition was forwarded to the state judicial system to determine if there are sufficient grounds to hold a recall election. In February 2012, the recall effort was thrown out when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the charges against Roschen did not amount to malfeasance in office.
- Winona Daily News, "Wabasha County commissioner faces recall," November 5, 2011
- Pioneer Press, "Recall against Wabasha commissioner dismissed," February 27, 2012
- Winona Daily News, "Commissioner accused of violating meetings law, overstepping authority," November 10, 2011
- Winona Daily News, "SHARI NICHOLS: Who are these people?," November 20, 2011
- Post-Bulletin, "Wabasha County commissioner recall gets more than 300 backers," November 23, 2011
- WinonaRadio.com, "Roschen Recall," January 7, 2012
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