LAWRENCE — Recall organizer Josue Hernandez walked into the Lawrence City Clerk's office yesterday with thousands of signatures.
But he submitted just 17 of them.
Joined by a dozen supporters, Hernandez told City Clerk William Maloney yesterday that he wanted "a fair shot" at recalling Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua. He is withholding the petitions over concerns that the recall would fail on a technicality and that signers would be intimidated.
"We need the right shot to have 30 days doing this and they haven't played fair," Hernandez said.
Recall organizers had until yesterday to submit 5,382 signatures — 15 percent of the number of registered voters in the Nov. 8 election.
Under the City Charter, the recall campaign was given 30 days to gather the signatures, which would then need verification by the City Clerk.
But despite a month of work, Hernandez, the president of "Uniting Lawrence," chose to submit only the names of the group's core organizers and plans to start another campaign soon.
"It's not over," Hernandez said. "We're still continuing on."
Hernandez felt the petitions would have failed due to questions over their validity. City Clerk William Maloney initially issued recall petitions that were not bilingual, which the group then used to gather 500 signatures. City Attorney Charles Boddy ruled the petitions would be invalid.
"We need somebody who knows how to run this process a fair way," Hernandez said.
With the petitions in doubt, Hernandez wants to keep the names of the signers secret. Hernandez, who had his Social Security number, birth date and other personal information released on an anti-recall Facebook page earlier this month, said he had a duty to protect the names of recall petitioners.
"They exposed my information," Hernandez said. "I'm not going to allow (Lantigua) to intimidate these people."