Members of the Gloucester 40 will make a presentation to the Virginia State Board of Elections during its meeting Friday in Richmond to encourage the state board to create rules and forms that can be used by Virginians wishing to petition for removal of elected officials.
Arnold Nye, a member of the Gloucester 40, a group of citizens that organized an effort in 2008 to remove four Gloucester county supervisors from office, stated in a letter last month to the SBE that he appeared before its members in 2010, asking them to publish instructions and forms to help citizens comply with Virginia Code when requesting removal of an officer.
The removal effort was unsuccessful for procedural technicalities, and the petitioners were ordered to pay $2,000 apiece in sanctions by a visiting circuit court judge.
Nye said the SBE heard his request, but decided to forgo action until after a decision was reached by the Virginia Supreme Court in the case of appeal against the sanctions. The circuit court’s judgment was reversed by the high court on March 4, 2011.
"Virginia Code provides a process for citizens to request removal of an officer, but it does not provide guidance to assist ordinary citizens in such an endeavor," Nye wrote. "Petitioners find it difficult to mount a petition drive as there are no approved petition forms and no published procedures to guide them through the process." He wrote that the experience of the Gloucester 40 illustrates the difficulty in complying with state code.