PHOENIX, DEC. 22 -- More than enough petition signatures have been validated to force Gov. Evan Mecham (R) to face a recall election, county recorders announced Monday.

"It's very clear that the citizens of Arizona have spoken with the loudest voice ever yelled in Arizona history," said Ed Buck, founder of the Mecham Recall Committee. "It's now time for Evan Mecham to resign, clearly."

Maricopa County Recorder Keith Poletis and several other county recorders said they had verified 240,512 signatures, well above the 216,746 valid signatures of registered voters required for a recall. Many counties have not completed verification of signatures.

The only way Mecham could avoid recall, Poletis said, is to resign or mount a successful court challenge to the petitions' validity.

Mecham spokesman Ken Smith pointed out that the recall vote will not be official until that declaration is made by Secretary of State Rose Mofford after the counties submit final signature counts, which are due by Jan. 18.

After Mofford verifies the total, Mecham would be given five days to resign before she sets an election date. Her office said Monday that a date likely would be set for mid-May unless a court challenge is made.