Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle rejected a motion to resume the counting of signatures gathered by the campaign to recall 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall on Tuesday.
On Mar. 14 the No on Recall committee filed a lawsuit claiming recall supporters illegally collected signatures to remove Marshall from office. The No on Recall committee claims a majority of the signatures were collected by voters registered in the county without intent to remain, which violates state election law.
No on Recall attorney Phillip Seymour said Anderle halted the recall committee’s signature-counting until the court hands down a ruling on the legality of the collection.
“This was a legislative motion to get that stay dissolved and get counting resumed,” Seymour said. “Normally the clerk has 30 days to count votes, but with the signatures in question, the judge granted a stay until he can rule on the signatures on [May 22]. This doesn’t change anything.”
In court yesterday, Anderle also dismissed a letter addressed to himself from Secretary of State Bill Jones, which offered suggestions about the ruling of the case. Anderle had dismissed the letter prior to yesterday’s ruling, but it was reintroduced as a request to take judicial notice and shot down a second time.
“Jones is in charge of election systems, and he wrote a letter to the judge saying what he thought the judge should do. He did not submit a ‘friend of the court’ brief, which is the conventional method of offering his opinion on the case. The judge felt that this was very inappropriate,” Marshall’s assistant Mark Chaconas said.
Anderle did accept a letter submitted by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer regarding the constitutionality of residency requirements for signature-gatherers.
The trial date is set for May 22 at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.