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Kader recall petition dismissed

Student addresses at issue

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An effort to recall La Crosse Common Council president Audrey Kader suffered a setback Friday when the city clerk ruled that only 104 of the 252 signatures on the petition were valid.

At least 158 valid signatures from

the district are required to trigger a recall election.

More than 60 percent of the signatures listed 702 Franciscan Way, the Viterbo University student union, as a mailing address. Kader challenged those signatures on the grounds that a residential address is required.

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) ... ”

Students who also listed a specific dorm room on campus were counted.

La Crosse City Clerk Teri Lehrke said she took the extra step of checking the Statewide Voter Registration System, which allowed her to certify 36 of those Viterbo addresses.

Other signatures were thrown out because of a missing or incomplete date, incomplete or illegible address or because the signer lives outside the district.

Lehrke said she relied on state statutes and guidance from election officials at the Government Accountability Board.

Kader said Friday she was “cautiously relieved” though wary that some of the deficiencies could be corrected.

Greg Luce, who led the effort to recall the council president, declined to comment on the ruling.

“We don’t like the coverage you give us so we’re not going to comment to the Tribune,” Luce said.

He has five days to amend the petition by filing affidavits or other proof correcting insufficiencies.

Asked if she had spoken to any of the petition signers to address their concerns, Kader said, “I don’t want to harass the students. While it would have been much better if they’d known what they were signing, I really don’t blame them for it.”

Some of the students contacted by the Tribune admitted they knew little about the recall or Kader.

Kader said she tried twice to speak with Luce, but he didn’t take her up on the offer.

Council president since 2009, Kader won a third four-year term in 2011 with no opponent.

Luce has previously said she was targeted for recall because her seat otherwise is not up for re-election until 2015.

In the petition, he accuses Kader of failing to provide leadership on the council and to the mayor, as well as creating “a negative forum for active community participation.”

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