Dr. Parmod Kumar has requested a recount of Tulare’s July 11 special election, the Tulare County Registrar of Voters has confirmed.
The election, held to determine whether Kumar should be recalled from his post on the Tulare Local Healthcare District Board of Directors and, if so, choosing his successor, was certified on July 20.
The election’s certification is not revoked or stalled because of the request, the registrar’s office told the Voice.
Nothing Changes – Yet
“Once we certify the election, that stands true,” Michelle Baldwin, the Tulare County Registrar of Voters said, “unless we do the recount and it proves we were in error.”
The certified counts show a total of 1,037 voters, 836 voting in favor of recall, and 680 voting in favor of Senovia Gutierrez as Kumar’s replacement.
July 26’s meeting broke out into a raucous show when the Board President of the TLHCD, Linda Wilbourn, stated that there were “legal opinions that are not agreeing” regarding whether Gutierrez should have been seated at the July 27 meeting.
“Mrs. Senovia Gutierrez is here, and has taken the oath of office, however there are some legal opinions that are not agreeing as to whether the board has to certify in a special recall election,” Wilbourn said.
While the recall has no bearing on the certification, the elections office cannot dictate the board’s procedures in seating her.
“It is not the elections office’ role to say when she should be seated,” Baldwin said. “We provide them with the code they have to follow, and they proceed from there.”
Baldwin provided the Voice with a letter dated July 17, available in full below, stating that its response is purely based on the elections code.
“It will be up to the District Board to determine when to declare the results of the election and when to swear-in the successful candidate. Presumably both actions will be taken at their next regularly scheduled meeting,” Baldwin stated in the letter. “It should be noted that the “old” Board declares the results of the election. The officer sought to be recalled is not officially removed from office until the new Board Member is sworn-in.”
The hospital district would not have to incur the cost of the recount on top of the recent election — instead, Kumar would need to pay the elections office.
However, Kumar’s supporters could use campaign funds to pay for the cost of a recount. With a combined $80,000 between “Residents for a Responsible Hospital,” a committee opposing the recall, and “Parmod Kumar for TRMC Director Area 3,” the committees likely well-armed for any invoices headed their way.
Baldwin was unable to provide a cost estimate for the recount, but stated that an estimate would be overnighted to Kumar on July 27.
Kumar would then need to provide the funds to finance the recount before it could begin.
Should Kumar — or his allies — provide the funds for a recount, it will be held on at 8am on Monday, July 31, at the Tulare County Registrar of Voters office, 5951 S. Mooney Blvd, Visalia.
While members of the public and organizations are welcome to observe the process, they must contact Denise Ybarra at (559) 624-7300 to prepare an identification badge and reserve space. There is limited seating for observers, and only 10 are able to be seated at once.