Ruling on Recall Petition Protest Expected Friday

The validity of several signatures on recall election petitions for Marge Campbell and Candy Ruedeman won’t be known until this Friday, when 16th Judicial District Judge, Mark MacDonnell, makes his decision known. 

Ruedeman and Campbell, members of the Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors, are facing a possible recall election.  They were represented in Prowers County District Court on Monday, November 21 by attorney Garth Nieschburg, seeking to have a number of signatures on the petition declared invalid, as well as the entire petition gathering process regarding their possible recall.  In order for the petitions to move to a recall vote, 300 separate signatures on each person must be verified by the Designated Election Official.  There were 327 signatures for Candy Ruedeman and 323 for Marge Campbell.  Despite the number of signatures gathered, Ruedeman and Campbell are claiming that there were enough irregularities in the way a lot of the signatures were collected, to make them all void.

Barbara Kuenzel and Connie Hill, members of the petition committee were on hand for the hearing, along with Audrey Kane, the Designated Election Official from PMC, who was represented by attorney Darla Scranton Specht.  Nieschburg questioned Prowers County Clerk and Recorder Jana Coen on a voter’s registration date that appeared to be tardy.  Coen stated that the petition signer had registered through the motor vehicle department and there was a lag time receiving documentation, between August 18 and September 29.  Coen stated that the Secretary of State’s office had been notified and responded that the early registration was valid.  Nieschburg also called two Hickory House Restaurant employees who testified that the petition had been left unattended on the counter at the front entrance of the restaurant.   

Audrey Kane, employed at Prowers Medical Center as Chief Financial Officer, was also questioned regarding the protocols she followed and the timeline of events from the issuance of the second set of corrected petitions, to the time that the signatures had been gathered and verified, and parties notified of the results. 

Judge MacDonnell said that he expects to have a written determination by Friday, November 25, that the burden of proof has or has not been met for proper petition procedures.  According to attorney Darla Scranton Specht, once the decision has been made, either side will have the right to appeal the decision to the district court.

By Russ Baldwin


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