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O’Fallon residents seeking council member recall must collect 350 signatures

Dr. James [Jim] Ottomeyer

On April 23, a “petitioners’ committee” of three residents filed a notarized set of affidavits with the O’Fallon city clerk’s office, requesting a recall election for Ward 4 council member Dr. James [Jim] Ottomeyer.

The committee’s point of contact, John Israel, explained: “Our recall petition is based on the ‘Flavan Tract’ proposal that was approved by the council earlier this year and on Ottomeyer’s stated position in favor of the controversial Fairways at Turtle Creek development that was approved April 23.”

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine subsequently obtained information about the recall process from the O’Fallon City Charter and voter information from the St. Charles County Election Authority.

Sections 9.3 and 9.9 of the city charter cover recall elections and stipulate that a ward-level recall petition requires the signatures of at least 20% of the total number of voters voting in the last election for that office.  Per the Election Authority, 764 Ward 4 voters voted in April 2019, equating to 6.7% of registered voters.  Of those, 479 [62.7%] voted for Ottomeyer. 

For the recall petition, the calculation would be 20% of the total 764, or 153 signatures needed. However, the charter also sets a minimum of 350 signatures required for a ward-level recall petition.  That means the petition for Ottomeyer would be required to have a minimum of 350 signatures of qualified, registered voters.

Regarding a potential date for a recall vote, if a sufficient number of signatures is obtained, O’Fallon Communications Director Tom Drabelle said: “It is not going to be June 2. When the state moved the April 7 Municipal Election date because of COVID-19 risks and restrictions, they specifically locked the ballots. That means the ballot from the April 7 Municipal Election is the ballot for June 2. The earliest a recall vote could be is August.”

On May 6, Israel said he and the committee “have begun the process of obtaining signatures, with a goal of being on the ballot for the election on Nov. 3, 2020.”

According to the charter, if a special election is sought for the recall, signatures of 40% of registered voters in the ward would be required. Per the Election Authority, there currently are 11,373 registered voters in Ward 4.  Forty percent of those would mean 4,549 signatures would be required to call a special election. The charter also stipulates cost constraints for a special election.

On April 24, Mid Rivers Newsmagazine published the original story about the recall affidavit filing.

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