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Calexico Recall Election Set for April 2024

-Editorial

In a meeting held on December 20th, the Calexico City Council decided the political future of Mayor Raul Urena and Councilman Gilberto Manzanarez. The special recall election will take place on April 16th in response to the certification of sufficient signatures by the Imperial County elections department.

During the meeting, Mayor Urena and Councilman Manzanarez left when the agenda item about the recall election was brought up. Imperial County Register of Voters Lindsay Dale said that it would be better to have the election in April since her office will be counting votes in the March 5th primary election.

“Election day is not one day for us as we have an entire month to certify the election,” Dale said. “We will be holding two simultaneous elections.” 

Dale added that absentee ballots will be sent on March 18. The cost of this election will be approximately $125,000 thousand. 

The council had the option of having the election on March 5 but Romo said that she didn’t agree with this recall and said putting it in the March Primary would confuse people since there are a lot of candidates and issues on the ballot. 

“The citizens need a special election for them to consider their vote,” Romo said. 

On November 16th, the Elections Department office received two separate petitions seeking the recall of Manzanarez and Ureña. The signature counts for these petitions were as follows:

5,105 signatures were received for Gilberto Manzanarez and 5,157 for Raúl Ureña.

Per the Elections Code, a recall petition must garner valid signatures equivalent to at least 20% of the registered voters in the City of Calexico, as per the most recent Report of Registration (February 10, 2023). This threshold was set at 4,196 signatures based on a total of 20,982 registered voters. The election must be held not less than 88 days and no more than 125 days after the issuance of the order. 

For the recall of Gilberto Manzanarez: 4,243 qualified signatures, with 862 unqualified.

For the recall of Raul Ureña: 4,288 qualified signatures, with 869 unqualified.

As the date for the special recall election draws nearer, it is expected that the political climate in Calexico will intensify. This will be the first recall election against a city council member since the 1990s. 

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