A screenshot from the livestream of the June 22 Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education meeting.
Following the successful recall of Temecula Valley Unified School District Board President Joseph Komrosky, the remaining three board members voted to fill the seat through a special election. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The now three-member Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education is looking to the future following the successful recall of Board President Joseph Komrosky, opting to fill the vacant seat through a special election.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to the business of the school district and putting students first,” Board Member Allison Barclay said in a statement to TN News. “There have been a lot of distractions over the last 18 months, and I am excited to re-focus our efforts on ensuring all students in Temecula receive an excellent education.”

At the June 22 special meeting, the board adopted a resolution ratifying the election results and calling for a special election to be held in November to fill the Trustee Area 4 seat for the remainder of the term in conjunction with the regular elections for Trustee Area 1 and Trustee Area 5 and a special election for Trustee Area 2, which has been vacant since the resignation of former Trustee Danny Gonzalez in December.

“I’m hopeful that we’re gonna have a good turnout,” Trustee Steven Schwartz said in an interview with The Record. “It is a presidential election year, as it was when I ran, so there will probably be a lot more people voting than people who voted in the past, and I’m hopeful that people will go down ballot and vote for city council people and school board people, and we will have a good representation of the community.”

According to the certified results posted by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters (ROV), Komrosky was recalled with 51% of voters who cast a ballot supporting the effort.

“I think it’s important to say as we pass this resolution, that despite [a] tremendous amount of money and time, with heavy union support, Sacramento’s involvement, a press that didn’t always give you balance, even my colleagues choosing to participate in some of the recall activities, Dr. Komrosky did lose by a little over 200 votes,” Board Clerk Jen Wiersma, who did not respond to a request for comment from The Record, said at the meeting.

But for Schwartz, the recall effort was proof that “democracy works.”

“The people have spoken, and they’ve made their decision,” he said in an interview with The Record. “I don’t think the election was rigged, so we have to go along with what the people wanted, which was a different person to represent them.”

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But some county residents, like Greg Langworthy, said they felt that the ROV could not credibly certify the election and neither the district nor the county could credibly ratify the results due to issues with the voter rolls and the signature verification process.

“The essence of an election [is] the voters, and you count votes from voters, but if the voters are not legally registered, if they’re ineligible to vote, yet you still sent them ballots, you’ve just corrupted your election,” Langworthy said in an interview with The Record. “That’s why voter rolls are so crucial, because you only allow legally registered voters to vote, and that voter roll that they’re using for the recall…has not been cleaned, so there are still ineligible voters on that voter roll.”

In a statement to The Record, Elizabeth Florer, public information officer for the ROV, said the office takes “every precaution” to ensure the accuracy and fairness in all of its processes.

“Regarding concerns about voter rolls, it’s important to clarify that the ROV conducts routine maintenance and verification of voter registrations in compliance with state mandates,” she said. 

Those processes, she said, include hiring Experience to “enhance” the accuracy of voter rolls as well as “rigorous verification processes, secure handling of ballots and robust auditing procedures post election.”

“Ensuring transparency, accuracy, and trust in our electoral system is our top priority,” she said. “We are committed to addressing concerns and upholding the democratic process.”

Komrosky did not respond to a request for comment from The Record, but addressed the recall at the June 11 TVUSD board meeting.

“I want to thank my community for allowing me to represent your voices,” he said. “And I look forward to serving my community again, beginning in November.”

TN News is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet providing Riverside County with high-quality journalism free of charge. We’re able to do this because of the generous donations of supporters like you!

Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.

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