Petition to recall Snohomish County sheriff gets OK

VIDEO: Petition to recall Snohomish County sheriff gets approved

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — A recall petition to force Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney out of his job just got the green light.

A judge ruled Friday that the petition filed by a Bothell woman can proceed. Now comes the effort to get the petition on the ballot.

This petition to recall Fortney is the first one to get the OK from a court.

Content Continues Below

But now the woman who wrote it all on her own will need the help of thousands to get it on the November ballot.

Lori Shavlik said, like so many, she wants change.

“They do, and I do, too,” said Shavlik. “But I don’t know that I want this change.”

She is a soft-spoken, Bothell wife and mother. But Shavlik has emotions so strong she turned them into a petition to do something few have managed,: to recall a sitting Snohomish County sheriff.

Friday, a Cowlitz County judge declared her petition can proceed.

“It really wasn’t up to the judge whether my statements were correct or true — just that they were not frivolous and that they were legally sufficient," she said.

Her ire was sparked last month when Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney declared the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order unconstitutional and said he would not enforce it.

“I’m not calling for open defiance,” Fortney said in late April. “What I’m calling for is that I want people to be treated equally by the government.”

Shavlik said that left her frightened for herself and her neighbors.

“When you put a sheriff in a position where they’re now making choices whether or not this law should be honored or followed, it’s very dangerous,” she said.

Hers is the first but not the only recall petition Fortney faces. A group of lawyers filed a separate petition Thursday.

But hers is the only one to pass judicial muster. Now she can begin the daunting job of gathering signatures.

Shavlik said she would start a GoFundMe page to hire professionals.

“This isn’t my recall,” she said. “It’s the community’s.”

After Friday’s ruling, Fortney declared on Facebook, “Although I did not ask for this fight, I will not shrink from it.” He hass said nothing more since.

The Snohomish County prosecutor said he wouldn’t defend Fortney against these petitions.

So Fortney, too, has created a GoFundMe account to pay for his defense.