Ballotpedia's 2013 Recall Analysis

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By Brittany Clingen

A total of 38 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow some form of recall. In 2013, voters took advantage of the right to recall by launching 153 separate recall campaigns against 301 elected officials. Of the office holders targeted for recall, 41 were recalled, while 25 were retained. A total of 12 officials chose to resign.

Amid a year that featured several high-profile recall campaigns, including those of Angela Giron, John Morse, Bob Filner and Evie Hudak, there were whisperings of an impending recall epidemic that some said threatened to squander tax-payer dollars. However, after breaking down the numbers, 65 percent of all recall campaigns resolved in 2013 never advanced to an election.

Forty-seven of the 153 recall campaigns initiated in 2013 have carried over and will be resolved in 2014; eighty-eight of the 301 elected officials who have been targeted for recall will know their fate come the new year. Of the remaining 213 whose recall campaigns were resolved in 2013, 41 were recalled, 25 were retained and 12 resigned. This means that 135 of the 213 individual campaigns resolved in 2013, or 65 percent, never made it to the ballot.

As was the case in 2012, the two states with the most recall efforts were California and Michigan. In California, 67 officials were targeted for recall, while 37 officials faced removal in Michigan. Texas, Maine and Colorado round out the top five states with the most prevalent use of recall.

All told, officials in 13 different states were recalled in 2013. Voters in Maine were the least forgiving, recalling nine of the 21 officials who were threatened with removal. Rhode Island chose to keep the most elected officials, retaining all four of the officials who faced recalls.

2013 recall statistics

State Targeted officials Recalled Retained Resigned
Alaska 2 1 0 0
Arizona 18 1 0 1
California 67 9 1 2
Colorado 19 2 1 3
Florida 5 0 0 1
Georgia 15 0 0 0
Idaho 4 0 3 0
Louisiana 11 2 0 2
Maine 21 9 1 0
Maryland 2 0 0 0
Michigan 37 5 3 0
Minnesota 1 0 0 1
Missouri 1 0 0 0
Montana 5 0 0 0
Nebraska 8 0 1 0
Nevada 2 0 0 0
New Jersey 3 0 0 0
New Mexico 5 1 0 1
North Carolina 2 0 0 0
North Dakota 7 5 2 0
Ohio 1 0 0 1
Oklahoma 2 1 0 0
Oregon 13 2 2 0
Rhode Island 4 0 4 0
South Dakota 1 0 0 0
Texas 30 2 3 0
Virginia 2 0 0 0
Washington 2 1 0 0
West Virginia 4 0 0 0
Wisconsin 7 0 4 0
Total 301 41 25 12

See also