Checking the signatures on the Tulsa city council recall petitions - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Checking the signatures on the Tulsa city council recall petitions

Both sides on the issue of recalling two Tulsa city councilors say they may soon go to court. One side wants to force the election.

The group against it wants the city to review signatures on the recall petitions - something News on Six reporter Emory Bryan started doing Monday.

The Tulsa County Election Board has every voter’s signature. They're alphabetized and in giant motorized cabinets. Some of these files date back to when now elderly people first registered to vote. Shelly Boggs, Assistant Election Board Secretary: "It's going to be the same, unless they've changed their registration."

The two councilors targeted for recall, Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino, think the city clerk should verify the petition signatures one by one. But the city clerk's office didn't do that - the way we did with just a few minutes work for each one.

The city charter appears to give the city clerk the freedom to not make that effort. The charter says "the (petition) signatures, shall correspond with that appearing on the official voter registration books" but it continues, "the City Clerk shall, determine whether, the signatures comply with the requirements"

The News on 6 found it wouldn't be hard to put the signatures side by side, but matching them is another matter. It would take an expert to determine if one signature exactly matches the other. The city doesn't have such an expert and the Election Board doesn't either. Shelly Boggs: “And I know my signature has changed in 30 years, so who's to say we wouldn't make a mistake and say some aren't valid and some are? It's very hard to tell."

The petition signatures the News on 6 checked at random all resembled the ones on file. The group opposing the recall wants every signature checked and they're considering a lawsuit to force the city to do it.

Even though the city does not have clearly defined standards for verifying signatures, the state does. They are anything but strict. The state doesn't require a written signature or an address. As long as the name on the petition is legible and a voter by that name is registered, the signature is considered valid.
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