Vote centers still the plan for court clerk recall election

Election results are in from Gila Valley Central.

SAFFORD – Despite Arizona Department of Health Service’s recent declaration that COVID-19 transmission in the state is now widespread, the plan for the Clerk of Graham County Superior Court recall election is moving forward as planned.

“As you know, we use voting centers. And anything other than that on Election Day has to be approved by the state,” said Graham County Manager Dustin Welker. “This is an evolving issue but, as of right now, the election is going to be conducted in the typical manner.”

The COVID-19 virus has been found in 12 of Arizona’s 15 counties and, as of Thursday morning, there were 508 cases in the state with eight deaths. There are currently two confirmed cases in Graham County.

Cindy Woodman, who was elected clerk in 2018, was relieved of her day-to-day duties last October, after Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael Peterson sent a letter detailing Woodman’s conduct to Robert Brutinel, chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. Woodman was accused of creating a hostile work environment, leading to an overwhelming number of staff complaints and resignations, as well as mishandling evidence and harassing a person excused from jury duty.

Woodman has denied the accusations. She remains in the position and continues to draw her salary of $45,000 per year as only a recall may remove her from office. However, under Brutinel’s administrative order, she is prohibited from enacting any of her duties, or entering the court and clerk’s office.

The recall election will take place May 19. It is the only issue on the ballot.