Ballotpedia's 2012 Recall Analysis

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By Kelly O'Keefe

A total of 38 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of recall. In 2012, voters took advantage of the right to recall by launching 211 separate recall campaigns against 370 elected officials. Of the 370 office holders targeted for recall, an equal number of officials – 54 – were retained and recalled. A total of 24 officials resigned in the face of recall campaigns.

A total of 14.5% of targeted officials were successfully recalled, while another 14.5% of targeted officials survived recall elections. That means 70% of officials who faced recall did not have to take part in a recall election. A small percentage of these officials were the beneficiaries of judicially invalidated recalls, while the majority of these thwarted recall campaigns were due to a lack of sufficient signatures. In addition, 6.5% of targeted officials chose to resign rather than face a recall election.

Two states, California and Michigan, were responsible for almost half of the recall action that took place in 2012. In California, 87 officials were targeted for recall, while in Michigan, 79 officials faced removal. Oregon, Texas, and Colorado round out the top five states for the use of recall.

All told, officials in 19 different states were recalled in 2012.

2012 recall statistics

State Targeted officials Recalled Retained Resigned
Arkansas 9 2 4 0
Alaska 8 1 0 0
Arizona 19 6 4 2
California 87 11 4 6
Colorado 16 2 6 2
District of Columbia 3 1 0 0
Florida 1 0 0 0
Georgia 3 0 0 0
Idaho 10 2 0 0
Kansas 10 5 4 0
Louisiana 6 0 0 1
Maine 3 3 0 0
Massachusetts 7 4 0 0
Michigan 79 5 13 3
Minnesota 1 0 0 0
Missouri 4 0 0 0
Montana 4 1 0 2
Nebraska 9 1 2 0
Nevada 1 0 1 0
New Jersey 12 0 0 0
New Mexico 7 0 0 1
North Dakota 3 2 1 0
Ohio 1 0 0 0
Oklahoma 3 1 0 1
Oregon 24 3 8 4
Rhode Island 1 0 0 0
Tennessee 2 0 0 0
Texas 17 1 1 0
Washington 7 2 0 1
West Virginia 1 0 0 0
Wisconsin 12 3 4 1
Total 370 54 54 24

See also