Recall: A New American Revolution
America is awash in near-instant communications technology and 24-7 media. Yet many politicians count on their constituents having short-term memories. These profligate politicians spend tax dollars recklessly and increase the size of government regardless of the public's growing concern over what this unsustainable debt will do the economy and to the next generations. Just before elections, the big-spending incumbents present themselves as budget hawks, with a compliant media fostering amnesia among the plucked taxpayers.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a progressive movement began to use recall to hold office holders more accountable. The impetus at that time was concern over the
political influence of monopolies of industrialists and banks. In our time, government and public employee unions have become major sources of corruption, creating bureaucracies insulated from the people who are paying for it all.
Recall can provide more accountability in between elections and put office holders on notice that they are being watched. Recall is now available to constituents in 18 states. Another 13 states have initiative procedures whereby petitioners could put recall measures on the ballot. RecallTheRogues.org provides each state's relevant laws, plus updated news and commentary on recall efforts around the nation.
Welcome to the new American Revolution.
Latest Recall News
Colorado Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem Recalled over Rental Inspection Program
(12/07/16) — “Recall elections will be held for two city council seats in Federal Heights early next year after residents and petitioners successfully unseated both Mayor Daniel Dick and Ward 1 Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem John Hamlin.
A three-member group of residents formed a recall committee last spring and circulated petitions to remove Dick and Hamlin based primarily on their support for a 2013 city rental inspection program that many residents said was invasive and unfair.
To get a recall, members of that committee -- called Renters Have Rights Too -- needed to gather enough signatures from residents to equal 25 percent of the votes that each candidate received for their election in November 2015.
That came out to 295 votes for Dick and (300 names were confirmed), and 84 votes for Hamlin (102 were confirmed). Both Dick and Hamlin appealed City Clerk Patti Lowell's decision that the petitions were sufficient.
At his hearing, Dick entered pages of complaints by dozens of petition signers who wanted their signatures removed for various reasons -- some saying that they didn't fully understand what they were signing.
Lowell said those names cannot be recanted after the petition has been filed. Dick and Hamlin will retain their seats until the special election, which is set for early next year.
The elections will be held via mail-in ballot. All voters in Federal Heights will receive ballots in the middle of January for the mayor's seat, and voters living in Ward 1 will have an additional question on their ballots for Hamlin's seat. Ballots are due back Feb. 7. ”
Texas Town Rejects Easing Recall Requirements
(11/29/16) — “AUSTIN -- Bastrop voters on Nov. 8 rejected three proposed charter amendments that would have lowered signature requirements for recalls, referenda and initiatives -- all of the ways the public can force a vote on legislative action or the removal or replacement of elected officeholders.
However, voters did approve two charter amendments requiring that signatures for initiatives and referenda be collected within 180 days -- a standard rule absent from the Bastrop charter.
Bastrop voters were asked on the ballot whether to reduce the percentage of signatures from registered voters for initiatives from 20 percent to 5 percent, for referenda from 20 percent to 5 percent, and for recalls from 25 percent to 10 percent. They rejected the measures by 56 percent, 58 percent and 54 percent, respectively.
Because the two measures setting the 180-day standard passed, Bastrop will not be able to amend its charter again for another two years, according to laws of the Texas Constitution.
"We got three out of five," Judy Hoover, treasurer for a political action committee opposing the charter changes, said Wednesday. "I think the more critical three were the ones about the percentage requirements, the lowering of the threshold. I think that the public realized that that would cause unnecessary chaos in the system."
Changes in signature requirements could have made the recall of elected officials much easier by requiring support from one in 10 voters, instead of one in four.
Many contended ahead of the election the change was too low a threshold and would have allowed a small group to force special elections based on personal disagreements.
The charter election was the result of a petition drive this summer by Independent Texans, a political action committee, which turned in 337 signatures to the city secretary in August to place the five items on the November ballot.”
Voters Recall Two Ohio City Officials
(12/07/16) — “East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton Jr. and City Council President Thomas Wheeler were both narrowly recalled from their positions in a special election Tuesday night.
The final, unofficial results show that Norton lost by a margin of 20 votes -- 548 to 528 -- according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website. Wheeler's margin was even narrower -- 18 votes.
The official election results will become available Dec. 19 after the votes are certified, according to the Board of Elections.
This is the third time Wheeler has been up for recall in a special election, once in December 2015 and again in June 2016. He narrowly won his June recall election with about 51 percent of the vote, though only about 7 percent of East Cleveland registered voters cast a ballot.
The Tuesday election was Norton's first time facing a recall since becoming mayor.”
Three Arkansas Mayors Recalled
(11/29/16) — “LITTLE ROCK -- Three Arkansas mayors have been removed in recall elections.
This marks the most recalls in an election since a state law allowing the removal of elected officials was enacted in 2009, according to Arkansas Municipal League executive director Don Zimmerman. Voters are allowed to remove officials in the middle of their four-year terms, if they can gather signatures from at least 25 percent of the town or county's qualified electors.
Earle Mayor Carolyn Jones, Humphrey Mayor Rodney Henderson and Hartford Mayor James Baker were recalled in the Nov. 8 election, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Earle City Attorney Davis Loftin said the City Council will appoint an interim mayor, with a special election for a new mayor held in January.
Humphrey alderman Michael Hodges said the City Council appointed recorder and treasurer Robert Blessing as the interim mayor.
"He was a tough dude to work with," Hodges said. "He was not mayor material."
According to Baker, Sebastian County city recalled him because he "was not a puppet" and he broke a tie vote among council members to renovate City Hall. Baker also said he angered some council members by firing the city's museum director.”