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Frequently Asked Questions

This recall is not about masks nor is it a partisan issue. The recall is about elected officials being held responsible for unlawful actions they took while in office.

On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, Richland School Board Directors Semi Bird, Audra Byrd, and Kari Williams participated in a special meeting, held a vote that was not included on the meeting agenda, and took the final action of making masks optional in Richland Schools, effective immediately. In doing so, they broke several Washington State laws and violated their oaths of office.

In addition, there is evidence that the three collaborated before the meeting to plan for taking the vote, which is in violation of RCW 42.30, the Open Public Meetings Act..

A detailed list of the violations can be found in Additional Concerns. Not all of the charges were approved to proceed beyond the review by Judge Norma Rodriguez or the Washington State Supreme Court. In the interest of making background information available for the public to review, we have decided to keep the complete list of details intact.

  • Audra Byrd, Richland School Board Director, Position 1 (elected November 2021, term expires November 2025)

  • M. Semi Bird, Richland School Board Director, Position 3 (elected November 2021, term expires November 2023)
    Rick Donahoe was elected to Position Three in 2019 but had to step down. Ken Gosney was nominated to fill the seat until the next election. Ken Gosney chose not to run in the 2021 election. Semi Bird was elected to finish the term.

  • Kari Williams, Richland School Board Director, Position 4 (elected November 2019, term expires November 2023)

Audra Byrd (Position 1), M. Semi Bird (Posistion 3), and Kari Williams (Position 4), are charged with committing misfeasance, malfeasance, and/or violating their oath of office. Specifically, the charges allege the directors:

1. Violated the Open Public Meetings Act by voting at a special meeting taking final action on a matter, to wit: masking optional, that had not been included in the published public meeting agenda.

2. Voted to make masks at schools optional, in knowing violation of the law and in excess of the powers of a school board, even after warnings from the State and from legal counsel.

3. Violated District Policies and Procedures by failing to assure compliance with law and policy.

The recall was on the August 1, 2023, primary ballot.

The recall petition was approved by the Washington State Supreme Court on February 9, 2023, the recall committee had up to 180 days to collect the required number of signatures to place the recall on the ballot.

More than 18,000 signatures were submitted to the Benton County Auditor for verification on May 2, 2023.

Click the image below to view a full-size version of the recall timeline.

Recall Timeline

As of August 4, 2023, it appears that there are enough YES votes to recall Direcctors Byrd, Bird, and Williams from office. The recall becomes effective and the directors must vacate their offices when the election results are cerfitifed by the Benton County Auditor, Brenda Chilton, on August 15, 2023.

RCW 29A.04.410 Every city, town, and district is liable for its proportionate share of the costs. Special election costs must be borne by the city, town, or district concerned.

That means that the Richland School District pays for the cost of the recall election.

However, enough signatures were gathered in time to put the recall on the August 2023 primary ballot along with candidates for three school board seats and offices in the city of Richland and the Port of Benton. The total cost of the primary election is therefore divided between RSD, the city of Richland, and the Port of Benton. Final cost will not be available until after the election is certified August 15, 2023, but Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton estimated the total cost would bes between $75,000-100,000.


This recall is an effort to send a clear message that the voters of the Richland School District expect their representatives to act ethically, lawfully, and in the best interest of the Richland School District. Directors Audra Byrd, M. Semi Bird, and Kari Williams knowingly violated the law when they voted to go mask optional, and have often demonstrated poor judgement in the execution of their duties as elected officers. The recall was organized because Richland School District voters have a right to decide whether Directors Byrd, Bird, and Williams should remain in office.

The Directors Byrd, Bird, and Williams chose to stretch out the recall process instead of allowing the issue to go before Richland School District voters immediately. They chose to appeal Judge Norma Rodriguez's May 11, 2022, decision to the Washington State Supreme Court. Their lawyer asked for extra time to file legal briefs with the Supreme Court. There may have been good reasons for those delays, but to outside observers it appears they were trying to run out the clock or wait for people to forget about the issue.


Recall organizers think it was to ensure that Directors Byrd, Bird, and Williams could keep their elected positions and avoid suffering any consequences for their actions.

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