Registrar of Voters Invalidates Recall Petition Against Nguyen

An attempt by a former election opponent to recall first district Supervisor Janet Nguyen was invalidated last week by the county Registrar of Voters, citing a failure to personally serve Nguyen with petition papers.

California elections code requires petitioners to notify the official they seek to recall “by personal delivery or by certified mail.”

Long Pham, a Republican and former OC Board of Education trustee who ran against Nguyen in the June primary for State Senate District 34, read his notice of intent to serve Nguyen during public comment at the Board of Supervisors’ Sept. 30 meeting, according to the official meeting video.

Pham ran out of time before he finished reading his statement and handed a copy of the notice to the clerk of the Board. 

“I guess it’s the campaign season,” Nguyen remarked after Pham left the podium.

According to Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, Pham should have directly handed Nguyen the notice. 

“Making an oral statement is not personal service,” said Kelley.

Pham still intends to move forward with the recall and sent Nguyen another notice on Oct. 10 by certified mail.

In the meantime, Pham said he intends to file a complaint with the state, arguing that his method was valid given the circumstances.

“The citizen can’t jump over the fence and stand next to the desk to hand it to her directly. We’re not allowed to do that. So handing…it to the clerk is the official way to give an elected official notice,” Pham said. 

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