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Recall petition for Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross moves ahead

But Ross’ campaign manager says numbers show recall effort will not succeed

Steve Ross

Christopher DeVargas

Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross is interviewed March 10, 2011, during the primary election for mayor.

Updated Monday, Aug. 22, 2011 | 6:40 p.m.

The effort to force a recall election for Las Vegas Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Ross continues, with a random sample of the signatures showing Monday that 93 percent of them are valid. But while the process moves on, Monday's count actually shows the recall effort has failed, says Ross' campaign manager Steve Redlinger.

It appears that the recall petition won't have the necessary signatures — and many other people are working to legally have their names removed from the petition, Redlinger said Monday night.

"One way or another, this is not going to qualify," he said.

City Clerk Beverly Bridges said a random sample of 500 of the signatures on the recall petition shows 93 percent of them were valid, which means they live in Ward 6 and voted in the 2009 primary election in which Ross was elected.

“As soon as we get a verification back from the secretary of state’s office, we will be having to verify all the remaining signatures on the petition,” Bridges said Monday afternoon.

Last Wednesday, a group seeking to recall Ross presented Bridges with a recall petition of 1,156 signatures, more than the 1,084 needed.

The 1,084 signatures are 25 percent of the number of people who voted in the 2009 city municipal primary, when Ross was re-elected to a second four-year term with 54.8 percent of the vote against challenger attorney Jennifer Taylor. The 6th Ward had 51,337 active voters as of Aug. 22, Bridges said.

Bridges said she hoped to have the remaining 656 signatures on the recall petition checked out by Thursday morning.

“The same requirements will apply that we used this morning for the random sample,” she said.

The validation process is being handled by Clark County Registrar of Elections Larry Lomax.

Lomax said if the remaining numbers check out, they will be reported to the secretary of state’s office, which would then instruct the city clerk that she has between 10 and 20 days to set a date for a recall election within 30 days. That means the city clerk could call the election within 50 days, or sooner, of the secretary of state’s decision, he said.

Lomax said he didn’t know off hand what the cost would be for such an election in one ward. But the city clerk would have options, such as figuring out how many days for early voting will be allowed and how many polling places will be open. Bridges could also ask for an all-mail ballot election, he said.

“We’re not quite there yet,” Lomax said. “We’re getting closer.”

Ross put out a statement last week that he would fight the recall election, which he claims is being run by lobbyist Lisa Mayo DeRiso and financed by used car dealer Joe Scala.

Redlinger says today's preliminary count shows those behind the petition won't have enough signatures to force a recall.

"The only thing you could glean from the numbers today is that they don't have enough valid signatures, based on the 500 sample, to proceed with the recall," Redlinger said.

He said the recall committee needed 94 percent of the signatures to come back valid in order to qualify the recall — and they came back with less than that.

Extrapolated out, if the rest of the signatures are validated at 93 percent, that would leave only 1,075 signatures, nine less than the 1,084 needed.

Also, once the recall petition goes through the validation process, Ross' campaign has already submitted the names of 23 people who wish to have their names removed from the petition, Redlinger said.

"And we have dozens of additional affidavits from people who stated they signed a petition that will be submitted to the secretary of state at the appropriate time to have their names removed from the petition," Redlinger said.

The group seeking the recall election lists its reasons for doing so at its website

Among its reasons are that Ross said he wouldn't accept $20,000 salary increase, but then took the money. However, Redlinger said that Ross has returned his cost of living increase to the city in 2009, 2010 and in 2011.

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