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Recall campaigns by year
Recall news
Recall laws
Recall is a process available in most jurisdictions whereby an elected official can be removed from office either for malfeasance or in some jurisdictions for any action the recall language specifies. For recalls, most state laws have set the highest signature threshold for any type of petition - most often requiring 25% of all registered voters or 25% of voters in the last election for the recalled office to sign a recall petition.

Notable recalls

Gubernatorial recalls

Only three United States governors have faced recall elections. Two of them (Lynn Frazier, 1921 and Gray Davis, 2003) were consequently removed from office while the other (Scott Walker, 2012) retained his seat.[1][2][3]

Wisconsin, 2012

Shortly after taking office in 2011, Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin proposed legislation (Wisconsin Act 10, known as the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill") that restricted public workers' collective bargaining abilities.[4] The proposal sparked massive protests statewide, most notably in downtown Madison, as unionized workers gathered to resist the measure.[3]

The bill's opponents targeted Walker for recall, successfully forcing him to face a recall election on June 5, 2012.[5] He ran against Democrat Tom Barrett, whom he had previously faced in the general election, and defeated him 53% to 46%. He became the first governor to survive a recall.[3]

The legislation also triggered several recalls of State Senators. See below for a list of other Wisconsin officials recalled in the 2012 conflict.[3]

California, 2003

The most recent successful recall was that of Democratic Governor Gray Davis of California in 2003.[2]

Davis, first elected in 1998, enjoyed popularity for much of his first term, maintaining a 58% approval rating and 12% disapproval rating.[6] Then in May 2001, in the midst of the California electricity crisis, his numbers began slipping—only to be further aggravated by his middle-of-the-road approach to politics, such that by October 2003 his approval rating was only 27%.[7]

Davis was defeated by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the special election held on October 7, 2003.[2] He said in his concession speech,

We've had a lot of good nights over the last 20 years, but tonight the people did decide it is time for someone else to serve, and I accept their judgment.[2][8]

North Dakota, 1921

Though a popular governor throughout his first two terms (spanning 1917 to 1920), Republican (Nonpartisan League) Governor Lynn Frazier met political dissonance upon his third election. Economic trouble in North Dakota following poor farming seasons and World War I led to conflict between political forces, especially in light of the newly established Industrial Commission, put in place to oversee state-owned industries.[9]

The state constitution had recently been amended to provide for the recall of public officials, and was immediately used to recall Frazier and the other officials that comprised the Industrial Commission.[9]

Other recalls

  • In 1983, two Democratic State Senators were recalled in Michigan shortly following the election of Governor James Blanchard, who upon taking office earlier that year promised to raise taxes. The State Senator switched hands into Republican control, and no tax increase occurred.
  • In Michigan, Leon Drolet, former Michigan State Representative (2001 - 2007) and Macomb County Commissioner (2007 - ?), formed a group called the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance which has referred to Michigan's 1983 history with a button "Recall 1983." Drolet has threatened to recall any legislator who votes yes on tax increases in Michigan and has received considerable media attention as a result. Drolet is also known for co-chairing the Michigan Civil Rights Amendment, Proposal 2 (2006) (MCRI) Committee, which successfully passed Michigan's Proposal 2 of 2006, ending race and gender-based types of affirmative action in government hiring, education, and contracting.
  • A recall proceeding is underway in Washington State in regard to Thurston County Commissioners Wolfe, Valenzuela and Romero, for alleged illegal expenditures of public funds to a private "Shadow Government" agency, the Washington State Association of Counties.

Statewide recall

Currently, nineteen states permit the recall of state officials.[10] The states that permit Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Officials eligible by state

Many states allow for the recall of all elected officials, while others only allow for recall in limited cases. The map below displays and links to more information on the laws governing recalls in each state.

Laws governing recall in NevadaLaws governing recall in AlaskaHawaiiLaws governing recall in ArizonaUtahLaws governing recall in New MexicoLaws governing recall in ColoradoLaws governing recall in WyomingLaws governing recall in CaliforniaLaws governing recall in OregonLaws governing recall in WashingtonLaws governing recall in IdahoLaws governing recall in MontanaLaws governing recall in North DakotaLaws governing recall in South DakotaLaws governing recall in NebraskaLaws governing recall in KansasLaws governing recall in OklahomaLaws governing recall in TexasLaws governing recall in MinnesotaIowaLaws governing recall in MissouriLaws governing recall in ArkansasLaws governing recall in LouisianaMississippiLaws governing recall in AlabamaLaws governing recall in WisconsinLaws governing recall in IllinoisLaws governing recall in TennesseeKentuckyIndianaLaws governing recall in MichiganLaws governing recall in OhioLaws governing recall in GeorgiaLaws governing recall in FloridaSouth CarolinaNorth CarolinaLaws governing recall in VirginiaLaws governing recall in West VirginiaPennsylvaniaLaws governing recall in New YorkVermontVermontLaws governing recall in New HampshireLaws governing recall in New HampshireLaws governing recall in MassachusettsLaws governing recall in MassachusettsLaws governing recall in Rhode IslandLaws governing recall in Rhode IslandLaws governing recall in ConnecticutLaws governing recall in ConnecticutLaws governing recall in New JerseyLaws governing recall in New JerseyDelawareDelawareMarylandMarylandLaws governing recall in MaineRecall who 2013.png
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Recalls by type of political office

See also