Joe Arpaio, "Convicted Racist," Escapes Recall Threat as Respect Arizona Falls Short (w/Updates)
Lilia Alvarez of Respect Arizona announces that the recall has fallen short of its goal
***Updates regarding new voter registrations are at the end of this post.***
Respect Arizona, the group that had been spearheading the effort to remove Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office, announced Thursday afternoon that it had not obtained the signatures necessary to trigger a recall of the sheriff.
As a result, the group did not submit its signatures to the county elections office by the 5 p.m. deadline
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With bankers boxes of petitions weighing down a table next to her and around 40 supporters looking on, Respect Arizona's campaign manager Lilia Alvarez explained the situation to reporters assembled before the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors' auditorium, nearby where the group had erected tents days before as part of what they called "Camp Recall Arpaio."
"I must admit to you that despite the 120 days of hard labor and dedication we have come up short," she said.
Alvarez declined to state precisely how many signatures supporters of the recall had gathered. She emphasized that Recall Arizona would not submit the petition in part because the group did not want the county to incur the expense of verifying signatures.
This one's got your name on it, Joe
"We know that because we have not gotten to the mark, we cannot submit the signatures," Alvarez explained. "Because submitting the signatures would incur millions of dollars invested in a process that we can't trigger."
Maricopa County elections director Karen Osborne has estimated that the verification of the signatures would cost the county $1.5 million. So the group's decision not to submit its petitions was the correct one.
Even if the organization scored more than the 335,317 signatures needed, a certain percentage were sure to be tossed, as they always are, for various reasons.
Alvarez knows her group potentially would have lost the moral high ground to criticize Arpaio's office for misspending millions of taxpayer dollars.
Still, Alvarez said the group would be turning in more than 15,000 voter registration forms for new voters obtained during the recall campaign. (Note: Please see updates below.)