Recall Petition Primer

Yes, there is a Recall Petition campaign in Austin happening right now. Although, this isn’t the first time there has been a citizen-led initiative to recall a City Council Member, it is the first time that the Mayor and five Council Members are included in one recall campaign. Since the recall campaign process is complex, we want to share some basic information to help you better understand the process. We hope this recall petition primer helps inspire you to join our campaign.

Who is being recalled and why?

The Recall Petition seeks to recall Mayor Stephen Adler and Council members in the following districts: 1, 3, 5, 8 and 9. They are in order – Natasha Harper-Madison (D1), Sabino “Pio” Renteria (D3), Ann Kitchen (D5), Paige Ellis (D8) and Kathie Tovo (D9).

We are recalling each of these individuals for endangering the health, safety and the welfare of citizens and local businesses; for the mismanagement of public policies and resources that have eroded the Austin brand and decreased affordability; and for catering to special interests which reduces the quality of life for residents and visitors.

We are not recalling the other five city council members – Delia Garza (D2), Greg Casar (D4), Jimmy Flannigan (D6), Leslie Pool (D7) and Alison Alter (D10) because they are up for re-election in November 2020. We encourage you to vote them out at that time if you so desire.

Who can sign the petition?

Any Austin resident who is registered to vote can sign the Recall Mayor Adler petition unless they live in the ETJ (Extra Territory Jurisdiction) region. For more information on the ETJ, please visit our FAQs page. In order to sign the recall petition for a council person, you must be registered to vote in that council person’s district. For example, if you want to recall Ann Kitchen (D5), you must be registered to vote in District 5.

How do you fill out the recall petition form?

You need to write in the date that you sign the petition, print your full first and last name , your email address, your full mailing address, your zip code, county and your birth date, or voter ID#.

We ask that you fill out your full legal name. Please do not use nicknames or initials. The email address is the only optional piece of information. We do require a County. It can be Travis, Hays or Williamson, but you must be a citizen of Austin and have Mayor Adler as your Mayor to sign the recall petition for him. To sign the recall petition for a council person, you must live in his or her district.

Are there rules for circulators?

Currently, we are using volunteers to circulate the petitions in the targeted district. The person gathering the signatures is called a “circulator”. The circulators must take responsibility for the petition forms they use to gather signatures. They they must also reside and be registered to vote in Austin to recall Mayor Adler and reside in the district of the council member for which they are circulating the recall petition. Circulators must watch each person sign the petition and are responsible for getting the completed petition notarized. We have volunteer notaries that will to notarize the petition documents for circulators. Contact us for more information on that process.  There is also a circulator video training at https://ourtownaustin.org/circulate-a-petition/.

How many signatures do we need for the recall petitions to be successful?

Austin Mayor Steve Adler

Mayor Stephen Adler – we need 70,000 qualified signatures for his recall to be successful. (This number represents the required 10% of registered voters in Austin.)

Natasha Harper-Madison

Natasha Harper-Madison, Councilwoman for District 1. We need 6,000 qualified signatures for her recall to be successful – or 10% of the registered voters in District 1.

Sabino “Pio” Renteria, Councilman for District 3. We need 6,000 qualified signatures for his recall to be successful. This equals 10% of the registered voters in District 3.

Ann Kitchen

Ann Kitchen, Councilwoman for District 5. We need 7,500 qualified signatures for her recall to be successful. This is equivalent to 10% of the registered voters in District 5.

Paige Ellis, Councilwoman for District 8. We need 7000 qualified signatures for her recall to be successful, which is 10% of the registered voters in District 8.

Kathie Tovo, Councilwoman for District 9. We need 9000 qualified signatures for her recall to be successful. This is equivalent to 10% of the voters in District 9.

Is there anything else you need to know about signing the Recall petition?

Yes! You can join the recall effort by volunteering to circulate petitions, notarize petition forms, or assist us with your clerical skills. If you haven’t signed a petition yet, you can check our calendar page for events and locations to sign the petition. We do our best to update it regularly. If you have questions about the petition signing process, please email us at voter@ourtownaustin.org. To get a volunteer to connect with you to get the petition signed, please register on our sign the petition page.  

Another very important way you can help this effort is with your financial support. This campaign is like any political campaign. It requires funds to manage this website, social media pages, create outreach advertising, and all the other business requirements of a political campaign. Please consider giving of your time and financial resources to make this important change in our local government. As always, know that we appreciate your donations and support to this effort. And remember, the more funds we receive, the faster we can make an impact on our town.

Recall of Austin Mayor begins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Recall of Mayor Steve Adler launches

Citizens’ group files paperwork for a political action committee to handle a recall campaign for Mayor Steve Adler and five Austin City Council Members.

AUSTIN, TX – October 21, 2019 — Today, Our Town Austin, a local political action committee filed paperwork with the Austin City Clerk as a first step to initiate a recall campaign of Mayor Steve Adler, and Council Members Natasha Harper-Madison (D1), Council Member Sabino Renteria (D3), Council Member Ann Kitchen (D5), Council Member Paige Ellis (D8) and Council Member Kathie Tovo (D9), the most recently elected members of the City Council.  The other five Austin City Council Members will be up for reelection in November 2020, offering voters the opportunity to elect new leadership in Districts 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10.

Our Town Austin is a non-partisan, city-wide grassroots network of citizens united in this effort.  Voters from across Austin districts, political parties, and socio-economic status have come together to demand a change in leadership at City Hall.  This action comes after a couple of years of contentious and controversial local policy decisions and development issues that have caused friction among City Council and the public.  Voters from all districts are frustrated by the lack of transparency and lack honest public engagement between Council Members and constituents on numerous issues like the homeless crisis, the new land development code, rising property taxes, massive corporate tax incentives, and declining affordability.

Treasurer of the Our Town Austin, political action committee, Sharon Blythe, says “The citizens of Austin expect transparency and a voice in key policy decisions.  We feel that the Mayor and City Council aren’t listening to us or representing us well.”  The recall petition campaign expects to gather enough signatures in each district and city-wide to activate the recall process by the spring 2020. 

An official recall petition for the Mayor will be distributed by volunteers throughout the city.  Similar recall petitions will be distributed for the five City Council Members in their respective districts.  City Charter requires that 10% of registered voters in the City sign the recall petition for Mayor Adler to force the recall election.  The same applies in each district for the City Council Members named in the recall campaign paperwork.

Our Town Austin is a non-partisan, city-wide grassroots network of citizens has united in a historic recall effort, stemming from broad dissatisfaction of the Mayor’s and City Council’s policy decisions on the homeless crisis, the new land development code, high property taxes and the declining affordability of Austin, among several other local issues.  www.ourtownaustin.org

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Your Guide to Voting and Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday is March 3, 2020

That is the day of the Democratic and Republican primaries for major races including the nominations for the 2020 presidential election.

Early voting in person for local elections begins on February 18th and ends on February 28, 2020.

REGISTER TO VOTE EARLY

In order to be eligible to vote in Texas, you must be registered to vote at your current address 30 days in advance of the election date. That deadline date is February 3, 2020 for the March Primary. If you’ve moved since the last time you voted, don’t put it off.

You cannot register to vote online in Texas. Sorry! The form itself requires an actual live signature, not an electronic one.

VOTING BY MAIL

If you’re over 65 or disabled, you can request to vote by mail once for all the elections in 2020. If you are out of county and will be so for the voting process, you can petition to mail in vote, but you’ll have to prove that this is the case.

SUPER TUESDAY (PRIMARIES):  MARCH 3rd

On March 3rd, Texas joins 13 other states and people abroad in voting for their party’s (Democratic or Republican) proposed presidential candidates in 2020.

On Super Tuesday, you can also vote for your party’s candidates in all contested races at all levels of government all the way down the ticket. (The exceptions are races with incumbents with no opponents.) In races with candidates from only one party, the winner on Super Tuesday will win the seat since they will have no opposition in November.

Texas doesn’t register voters by party.  So, you can choose which party’s primary you wish to vote in.  However, you can’t switch to the other party for the run-off races, so exercise caution. You can vote for either party candidate in the general election. 

RECALL TIMELINES

Ideally our recall campaign will have all the required signatures by mid-March to recall Mayor Adler and the five council members (Harper Madison D1, Renteria D3, Kitchen D5, Ellis D8 & Tovo D9). 

The required recall petitions will be submitted to the Austin City Clerk for certification.  Once certified, the recalled Council Members will have 5 days to resign.  If they do not resign, the City Clerk will be required to place a referendum item on the next regular election ballot.

The referendum ballot item will be simple.  Vote ‘YES’ and that Council Member is removed.  Vote ‘No’ and that Council Member remains in office.  New candidates for the open council seats will need to come forward by July and will be on the November ballot in addition to the candidates for D2, D4, D6, D7 and D9 which were already scheduled for the fall ballot.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If this campaign is successful, Austin voters will have an opportunity to vote for an entirely new city council and mayor in November 2020.  (This would be a historical event in American politics!)

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Well, that’s up to you.  

There are many ways you can do to make a difference. Please help us coordinate this effort by circulating petitions, assisting with data entry and notarizing documents, or helping with other campaign tasks.  Or support this campaign financially.  Donations of any size from anywhere in the United States are also needed.

Help us effect change. Do something today.
Contact us at voter@ourtownaustin.org for more information on how to get involved.