The Arizona Supreme Court has decided that Payson Mayor – and, former Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party – Tom Morrissey will not face a recall election on March 10. The justices unanimously agreed with the trial court that the town clerk inappropriately used a 2002 election to calculate the number of petition signatures needed, rather than the election last year that elected Morrissey.
The surprise Friday night ruling was not announced by the court, although a ruling was expected by this coming Tuesday on the expedited appeal. As is typical with such election cases, a written opinion will follow “in due course”.
The Arizona Constitution requires the number of necessary petition signatures to successfully place a recall election on the ballot be calculated as a percentage of votes cast in the “last preceding general election.” Payson, like many other towns and cities, uses a two-part, non-partisan election; Payson, calls the first election a “primary”, but if a candidate gets a majority of the votes cast, then that person is elected as the mayor without a second, “general” election.