Recall hearing set for Washington state auditor

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A court hearing for a petition to recall embattled Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley has been set for May 8.

In a Friday filing, Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office requested the hearing happen in Pierce County, where Kelley lives.

Former legislator Will Knedlik filed recall papers asking voters to remove Kelley from office for reasons that include not adhering to a constitutional requirement for the auditor to live in Olympia.

While the legal process to recall Kelley is underway, the bar is very high, making it unlikely to happen.

At the May 8 hearing in Pierce County Superior Court, a judge will consider whether the charges are sufficient to give Knedlik permission to gather the 715,800 valid signatures from registered voters required to put the recall on a statewide ballot.

The Secretary of State recommends gathering a million signatures to make sure there are 715,000 valid ones. According to the Secretary of State, there's never been a petition filed with a million signatures in Washington.

There's a nine month window to gather the signatures, then another month for verification, which could take us to March 2016. At that point, an election date would be set, perhaps in early summer, which is very close to the 2016 primary election for Auditor. Even if a million signatures could be gathered in two or three months, it seems unlikely there could be a recall election before November.

Kelley was indicted in federal court April 15 on 10 felony counts, including allegations he failed to pay taxes.


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