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Norman clerk: Group falls short in attempt to oust mayor

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — A group of citizens in Norman, Oklahoma, that was seeking to oust the mayor over her push to reallocate police funding has fallen short of the number of signatures needed to force a recall election, city officials said Monday.

City Clerk Brenda Hall said in a statement the group did gather enough signatures to force a recall election for City Council member Alison Patrone.

The group “Unite Norman” launched a signature drive in July to oust Mayor Breea Clark and half of the City Council. They were upset about the council’s decision to reallocate $865,000, or about 3.6%, of the police department’s annual budget. The money was shifted to community development programs and to create an internal auditor position to track police overtime spending.

Many residents in the state’s third-largest city were also upset with Clark’s decision to impose a requirement that people wear masks in public following a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The group needed to gather signatures from at least 25% of registered voters, or 18,154, in the city to force a recall election for Clark. The group submitted more 20,000 signatures for Clark’s recall, but Hall said more than 3,600 of those were determined to be invalid.

The group already fell short in gathering enough signatures to force the recall of two other council members.

The city council will now determine when Petrone’s recall election will be held.

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