The petition to recall Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez is now in the hands of the city secretary. Ysidro Gutierrez turned in the petition on Friday with 586 signatures, more than 120 needed to remove Hernandez.
"I'm absolutely positive we have solid signatures. We have been very careful to use the voter list for that reason, and it gives me very high confidence they're going to be good signatures," Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez had 30 days to turn in the 448 signatures. Out of those, 10% had to have voted for Hernandez during the last election. Gutierrez says he received more than enough to reach the 10%.
With Monday being Memorial Day, city secretary Becky Garza says next Tuesday they will begin verifying each signature to make sure they meet all the requirements to be counted in the recall.
Several things can disqualify a signature. Garza says the process of counting and verifying is a lengthy process that will take about a week to complete.
What happens next?
If the petition does not meet the requirements, it is void and Hernandez continues to serve. If there are enough valid signatures, then Hernandez has five days to resign.
A press release sent out by the city on Friday states "Councilman Hernandez has previously stated that he will not resign his position."
If he chooses not to resign, a recall election will take place in November where District 1 will vote whether to keep Hernandez or remove him. So even if the petition is valid, if the district votes to keep Hernandez then he will stay in office. If the votes are against him, he will no longer be a city councilman and the city has 120 days to replace him.
Garza says they will then have to set a special election date. This doesn't necessarily mean Hernandez is done with council. He is allowed to run in this special election. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote then a runoff election will follow. The candidate who wins will serve until May 2014 when Hernandez's term is up. At that time there will be another election.
The results from the petition are expected to be announced in two weeks.
In anticipation of the results, Hernandez's statement also says, "I have full confidence in The People, which is not said in arrogance, but rather, acknowledging that The People of District 1 and in the City of Lubbock know what is best for the District and for the City. I also realize that The People's choice could very well be someone else, someone other than Victor Hernandez. I am not afraid of The People because we are one and the same."
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