As the Second Amendment sanctuary movement continues to grow, not everyone is in agreement. To be sure, there will always be counties filled with anti-gun voters who won’t want their counties to make a stand against gun control. There are those mixed counties were there’s just not enough people to shift things over.
However, what happens when an official faces a large enough population who wants sanctuary status and someone like the sheriff basically says they don’t care?
Well, in Humboldt County, Nevada, they have a plan. They launched a petition to recall the sheriff. They even got enough signatures. Then, some hinky stuff started.
A committee to recall the Humboldt County sheriff and remove him from office says it submitted more than the required number of signatures on Friday to qualify the call for a special election, but organizers are reeling after learning that county officials violated election rules by allowing the target of the recall to thumb through the petition before submitting the signatures to the secretary of state.
Humboldt County Clerk Tami Spero said on Tuesday that, upon his request, she allowed Sheriff Mike Allen, the target of the recall, to flip through the pages of the petition while a deputy, who had full view of the sheriff and the document, observed him. She added that Allen is “allowed to view the petition because it is a public record.”
The problem is, state law makes it clear that the petition can’t be handled by anyone but the county clerk. Spero’s decision to allow Allen to view the petition is a violation of the law.
However, it looks like nothing will be done.
But in an interview with The Nevada Independent on Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley cited a state law that says a recall petition “must not be handled by any other person except by an employee of the county clerk’s office until it is filed with the Secretary of State.” However, Thorley said that the intent of the law was upheld.
“The whole spirit of the law is just that the county clerk retains possession and control of it, so it’s not altered or taken from her possession,” Thorley said on Tuesday. “Because the intent of the law was not violated, no action will be taken by the Secretary of State.”
Yet that standard isn’t required for other violations of the law. If I go a little over the speed limit and get a ticket, I’m not going to get a pass because I didn’t mean to speed, now am I?
What happened here is, in my opinion, a case of small county political shenanigans. Allen was able to handle the petition. Spero claims she watched the whole time, but we really only have her word on that. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where she just trusts the sheriff to play nicely and, well, he doesn’t.
That’s kind of why those laws are in place to begin with. That said, we don’t have any evidence of Allen having tampered with anything.
Regardless, I doubt the rest of us would get a pass if we ignored the rules like that.
More importantly, though, is that the recall will proceed.
In order for the recall to proceed, the county clerk must submit a raw count of the signatures to the secretary of state at the end of a 90-day signature-gathering process. The secretary of state will then verify the signatures, and if enough valid signatures are found, give the county clerk a “notice of verification,” which is the approval to call a special election to be held within 40 to 50 days of the notice.
Once the secretary of state gives the county notice of verification, people who signed the petition have 10 to 20 days to request their signatures be removed. Election rules also allow the subject of a recall effort to challenge the effort in a District Court.
Allen declined to comment on the recall, though he did express his own misgivings about the slew of new gun control laws passed by the state. However, he also noted the state attorney general arguing that only the Supreme Court can declare a law unconstitutional.
That’s something we should keep in mind the next time the AG takes issue with a law he disagrees with, now shouldn’t we?