The group that gathered more valid signatures than required by the Payson Clerk reached back to Arizona’s 1910 Constitutional Convention to explain to the Arizona Supreme Court why the recall of Mayor Tom Morrissey should be put back on next March’s ballot.
“Unite Payson” filed its opening brief in the expedited election matter this past week. Judge Randall Warner (filling in in Gila County Superior Court) determined that the Recall Provision of the state constitution should use the number of votes cast in the most recent mayoral election to determine how many signatures needed to be collected for a recall.
The Constitution references the “last preceding general election”. However, Payson has not had a general election since 2002 because the successful candidate in the “primary election” has received more than 50% of the vote – eliminating the need for a “general election.”
When a group of citizens (using “Unite Payson” as their moniker) applied to circulate a recall petition in August, the Town Clerk – after seeking legal counsel – used the 2002 general election total rather than the 2018 primary election total. When the signatures were turned in, she set March 10, 2020 for the recall election.
Morrissey sued, and after a well-attended trial, Judge Warner found in his favor and struck the recall petitions.