Secretary of State Kevin Shelley is monitoring the effort to recall Lynwood Councilman Paul Richards amid accusations that City Clerk Andrea Hooper is showing bias in the process.
Hooper has been ordered by state officials to notify them before taking any actions regarding the recall. Shelley's office made the move late last month after residents complained of irregularities.
"The secretary of state is concerned that the highest degree of voter confidence in the integrity of the election process be maintained," wrote John Mott-Smith, chief of the elections division, in a letter to Hooper recently obtained by The Times.
This week, Hooper's office took nearly one week to pick up signature-verification results from the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office. The delay, which Hooper said was due to miscommunication between the county and her office, deepened suspicions among recall backers, who include two councilmen, that Hooper is trying to manipulate the process.
"Why would I stall anything?" asked Hooper, who strongly denied the accusations. Hooper said she is following election laws and, as required, plans to present the results to the City Council at Tuesday's regular meeting.
Recall proponents criticize Hooper for not immediately releasing the much-anticipated results showing that residents have gathered enough signatures. The county released the results Monday.
Hooper, recall backers said, is working to give Richards more time to challenge the effort in court -- charges that Richards and Hooper deny.
"My belief is that they are trying to throw out the recall," said Councilman Arturo Reyes, one of several recall backers who say Richards, a councilman for 17 years, should be thrown out of office for nepotism and other alleged malfeasance.