Monday, December 7, 2009

Helpful advice to the right on recall elections

My "google alert" for Frank LoBiondo recently brought up a post at a myspace-like place called "Patriotic Resistance." (The post may actually be a few months old.) Anyway, one of the conservative activists at that site, who lives in a town near mine, reports that she "shocked" Frank LoBiondo's staff by explaining how she plans to launch a recall of Senator Bob Menendez, and also intimidated LoBiondo into changing his vote on cap-n-trade. Well, maybe there's some truth to the latter, but her plan to recall Menendez by gathering "292,000" signatures isn't going to work. As the New Jersey State Constitution, Article 1, Section 2b:

The people reserve unto themselves the power to recall, after at least one year of service, any elected official in this State or representing this State in the United States Congress. The Legislature shall enact laws to provide for such recall elections. Any such laws shall include a provision that a recall election shall be held upon petition of at least 25% of the registered voters in the electoral district of the official sought to be recalled. If legislation to implement this constitutional amendment is not enacted within one year of the adoption of the amendment, the Secretary of State shall, by regulation, implement the constitutional amendment, except that regulations adopted by the Secretary of State shall be superseded by any subsequent legislation consistent with this constitutional amendment governing recall elections. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question.

According to the latest state voter registration statistics, there are 5,227,896 registered voters in New Jersey. So to recall Senator Menendez, my conservative friends will need a minimum of 1,306,974 signatures. Chris Christie only got 1,174,445 votes, so that might be a bit tough for them.

On the other hand, there are just 430,010 registered voters in Frank LoBiondo's district (New Jersey 2), so maybe the target of 107,503 signatures would be a better initial goal. The right could collect signatures for both Menendez and LoBiondo at the same time. I'm just trying to be helpful! :)

On the other hand, maybe it would easier to follow the lead of my last post: an independent Tea Party candidate would have a better chance to win. In 2006, LoBiondo got 109,040 votes, so you could defeat him in November 2010 from the Tea Party side with fewer votes than you need to recall him.