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Plano to cancel recall vote after official’s anti-Islam post

August 15, 2018

PLANO, Texas (AP) — A recall election to decide whether to remove a North Texas city council member who made an anti-Islam social media post will be canceled following a judge’s ruling that the recall petition didn’t have enough signatures.

District Judge Mark Rusch ruled Tuesday that Plano used the wrong number of signatures to certify the petition calling for the removal of City Council member Tom Harrison, the Dallas Morning News reported. Rusch found that a flawed copy of the city’s charter was used to determine the signature quota.

Harrison issued a statement after the ruling, apologizing to the city “for the turmoil they’ve been put through.” His term expires in May.

The group Our Plano One Plano launched the recall petition after Harrison shared a social media post in February that included a photo of a student wearing a hijab. The post said, “Share if you think Trump should ban Islam in American schools.”

City officials criticized Harrison, his post and other questionable comments on minority groups that came to light in the aftermath. Mayor Harry LaRosiliere had called Harrison “an utter embarrassment.”

Harrison’s attorney, Art Martinez de Vara, said the city will save an estimated $100,000 by not funding the special election.

Our Plano One Plano official Ann Bacchus expressed disappointment at the ruling.

“It did not change the message of Plano voters who wanted him out of office,” she said. “There is no place in Plano for bigotry.”

The City Council will formally vote Saturday to cancel the election.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

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