La Crosse Common Council president Audrey Kader has challenged all but 66 of the 252 signatures filed in a recall effort against her.
Most of the signatures she flagged list an address of 702 Franciscan Way, which is the Viterbo University student union and the student mailing address. A residential address is needed to be considered valid, Kader contends.
That could be open to interpretation, however.
According to state law, those signing recall petitions or nomination papers must provide “a complete address, including municipality of residence for voting purposes, and the street and number, if any, of the residence, (or a postal address if it is located in the jurisdiction that the candidate seeks to represent) ... ”
More than 60 percent, or 153, of the 252 signatures on the recall petitions listed 702 Franciscan Way as an address. A total of 158 signatures from Kader’s District 11 will be needed to trigger the recall election.
Kader submitted her challenge to the city clerk’s office Monday. The group leading the recall effort has five business days — until 5 p.m. Monday — to deliver a written rebuttal.
Kader then would have two days to respond, after which City Clerk Teri Lehrke has 14 days to file a certificate of sufficiency or insufficiency.
Greg Luce is leading the effort to recall the council president and says he represents both the tea party and the Restore La Crosse Committee. He had no comment Thursday on the challenge or his group’s plans to respond.
Of the 30 pages of signatures Luce presented to the city clerk Nov. 16, at least 71 percent came from students living on the Viterbo campus. Some later admitted they knew little about the recall or Kader.
“The feedback I’ve had from the Viterbo campus, including many of the students, is it’s something of an embarrassment,” Kader said. “It’s fairly clear from the comments that were made that many of the students really didn’t know what they were signing.”
If the recall petition is ruled insufficient, the petitioner would have the option of correcting it by filing affidavits or other proof within five days.
Kader, council president since 2009, won her third straight four-year term in 2011 with no opponent.
The group said she was targeted for recall because her seat otherwise is not up for re-election until 2015.
In their petition, they accuse Kader of failing to provide leadership on the council and to the mayor, “and in fact has created a negative forum for active community participation and supported a divisive atmosphere in setting and achieving city policies, goals and objectives.”