SAFFORD — Organizers of a recall election effort against Graham County Clerk of the Superior Court Cindy Woodman took another step forward Monday morning, Nov. 18, delivering petitions with more than 3,000 signatures to the county elections office.
Recall committee chairman Darlee Maylen hand-delivered the documents at just after 7 a.m. Monday. The recall effort, launched in September, required collecting 2,697 signatures within 120 days. Maylen said the committee had gathered 3,147 signatures in approximately 76 days.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support of a lot of people who joined the committee because of their concern for what was going on,” Maylen said. “We’re happy with our results; it brought a very diverse group of people together in unity on an issue that was very concerning to a lot of people, and I appreciate all of them.”
The recall petition application against Woodman, a Republican elected to the Clerk’s Office in 2018, cited “conduct unbecoming of an elected official,” based on a July 2019 Graham County Superior Court finding that Woodman mishandled trial evidence, “unprecedented” turnover among Clerk’s Office employees (seven of nine employees, including one hired after Woodman took office, resigned or transferred from the office), “continued alienation of Clerk’s Office staff and other colleagues” and “lack of basic knowledge of court procedures.”
Based on the above issues, Superior Court Judge Michael Peterson informed the Arizona Supreme Court there was a risk the office would become unable to perform its required tasks. Chief Justice Robert Brutinel subsequently issued an administrative order placing the Clerk’s office under Peterson’s supervision, effectively relieving Woodman of her duties.
“It’s not the best feeling in the world, doing a recall like this,” said Maylen. “I feel very confident in our signatures and glad this part of the paperwork is done. Now it’s up to the voters.” She thanked everyone who collected signatures and signed the petitions.
Those documents will be reviewed by the county election director, who has 10 days to verify that the required amount of signatures were collected. If approved, they will go to the County Recorder, who will have 60 days to individually verify signatures. If the required number is met, the election director will notify Woodman, who will then be given a chance to resign.
Should Woodman decline to leave office, the recall election will move ahead; the County Board of Supervisors will issue a call to the public that nomination papers can be turned in. In that event, Woodman will be listed on the ballot along with any other candidates.
If Woodman resigns during her first two years in office, those wishing to run for Clerk of the Court could do so in the Aug. 4, 2020 primary election.