Joe Arpaio Recall Claims 200,359 Valid Signatures with 38 Days and Counting
Lilia Alvarez (center) of Respect Arizona, announcing the latest signature totals for the recall Arpaio effort.
Respect Arizona, the group attempting to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office, may yet prove the naysayers wrong.
At a press conference Monday in downtown Phoenix, about 20 members of the group gathered to announce that, so far, they have collected 200,359 valid signatures to recall Sheriff Joe.
-Joe Arpaio Recall Boasts 169,283 Valid Signatures, 166,034 More Needed by May 30
-Joe Arpaio Recall Has "Less Than 200,000" Signatures to Gather, with 56 Days Left
-Joe Arpaio Recall: A Chance to Prove the Pundits Wrong
-Joe Arpaio's Chad Willems Talks to the Shadow Army about the "Blocking Campaign" and the End of GOP Rule in Maricopa County
That total is up from Respect Arizona's last announcement on April 4, when RA's campaign manager, Lilia Alvarez, informed supporters that RA had 169,283 verified signatures from qualified county electors, more than half of the 335,317 signatures needed to force a recall election.
Respect Arizona's deadline to turn in its petitions to Maricopa County Elections is May 30, leaving 38 days to garner the 134,958 valid signatures, or around 3,551 signatures per day, needed to meet its goal.
That's not including a necessary cushion of additional signatures to cover those that inevitably will be tossed by elections officials for one reason or another.
"Absolutely, we feel the pressure," Alvarez told reporters at the press conference. "That's why we're here today, to show that this is the first time that an effort like this has ever reached the height, the legitimacy of our effort."
She declined to discuss the group's finances, other than to say the campaign has so far cost a minimum of $300,000, and that RA has received contributions from more than 1,000 persons.
Money has been a problem for the group, which decided to forgo the use of paid petition circulators on March 18, switching to a volunteer army of signature-gatherers.
By my estimation, the group's pick up rate has been around 1,726 signatures a day on average since April 4.
As impressive as that number is, it will need to double in the remaining 38 days for RA to force a recall.
Alvarez noted the extensive blocking campaign being implemented by the pro-Joe crowd in order to disrupt signature-gathering: everything from the lawsuit brought by birther wingnut Larry Klayman to threatening mail and the harassment of petition circulators at public spaces like libraries and supermarkets.
"It was full force about three weeks ago," Alvarez said of the physical blocking campaign. "Due to that, we began our mail-in petition campaign, so people can request petitions on our website and we mail them to their homes."