KANSAS CITY — An effort to oust Mayor Mark Funkhouser has hit another snag: City officials aren't sure whether a recount can be allowed in a failed petition drive for a recall election.
Election authorities determined Saturday that the petition drive was 129 short of the required 16,950 signatures.
Harris Wilder, spokesman for the recall petitioners, has sent a letter to City Clerk Vickie Thompson calling for a recount, arguing that it was too close not to re-count.
An aide to the mayor, Mark Siettmann, has questioned if a recall is even allowed. That's because the city charter does not include a process for challenging the results.
Thompson said Tuesday that she has not yet decided what to do.
Funkhouser has been criticized heavily since taking office in May 2007. Much of the controversy centered on the role his wife, Gloria Squitiro, played in his administration. She volunteered nearly full time at his office and came under fire for her brash personality and control of the mayor's agenda.
Funkhouser was also criticized after he unknowingly, he said, appointed a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an anti-illegal immigration group, to the city parks board.
The move upset some national civil rights groups and led them to pull their conventions from the city of nearly 450,000.
Supporters of the recall submitted 20,811 signatures. The Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners said 20 percent of them were rejected, including 2,403 for not being registered voters, 1,376 people who lived outside the city and 124 others who had a wrong address.
There were also blank lines or signatures that were crossed out or duplicated.
Shelley McThomas, Democratic director at the city election board, said election officials tried to give the benefit to the voter on subjective issues, such as a signature that didn't appear to match one on file.