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
Local California District Board Member Survives Recall
(04/26/17) — “Linda Santos breathed a long and thankful sigh of relief late Tuesday when results of a recall attempt indicated she will keep keep her seat on the Oakdale Irrigation District board.
According to incomplete returns, "no" votes against the recall came to nearly 56 percent. If the trend holds as remaining ballots are counted in coming days, the balance of power on the deeply divided OID board soon could be thrown into doubt.
The other half of Tuesday's ballot - choosing Santos' successor - became moot in her apparent victory. If she had been recalled, Nate Ludlow - the only candidate to sign up - would have taken her spot.
Because Ludlow is aligned with the current board majority, his ascension would have assured that the old guard stays in power even after Gary Osmundson gives up his seat when he changes homes in a few weeks.
Instead, Santos' win on Tuesday is expected to neutralize the board's power struggle, as she and political ally Gail Altieri will be able to match votes with Steve Webb and Herman Doornenbal once Osmundson moves out of Division 5, forcing him to give up his seat. The power stalemate is likely to continue until the November ballot, when Osmundson's successor will be chosen; Webb and Doornenbal also are up then for re-election.”
Maine Legislators Consider Bill to Establish Recall Elections
(04/13/17) — “Spurred in part by public frustration at having no way to oust Gov. Paul LePage after a series of embarrassing comments, lawmakers are taking a look at a measure that would allow the recall of elected officials in Maine.
Its sponsor, Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, said this week he wants "to give power back into the hands of the people."
His proposal would allow people to gather signatures to force a special recall election when an official is accused of neglect of duty, misuse of office or incompetence. It would also apply if an elected leader turns to crime, obstructs voter-approved initiatives or violates ethics laws.
It would apply to town board members, mayors, legislators and the governor.
"On the surface, it would be easy to view this bill as a direct response to the governor, but there is a reason why I include each level of government in this bill," Chenette said. "This is about holding all of us accountable, not just about one position or about one man."
"In fact, by the time this would be in effect and in place, it wouldn't really impact the current occupant of the Blaine House," he told the Legislature's Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.
The Maine Municipal Association took a firm stand against the bill this week. It said town charters already govern recalls and that recalls require a lot of administrative work.
Besides, it said, "recalls are initiated as much to cause political and partisan mischief as they are to root out an incompetent or otherwise inappropriate elected official."
Chenette pointed out that 19 states already allow recalls of state officials and 29 for municipal leaders. The only one in New England is Rhode Island.”
ACLU, Council Members Sue Alaska City over Recall Election
(04/25/17) — “According to three city council members in Homer, Alaska, it's not up to voters to decide if they are "unfit for office." It's up to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The three, who are facing a recall vote, have enlisted the ACLU of Alaska to help them sue the City of Homer over what they claim is an unconstitutional recall election scheduled for June 13.
Donna Aderhold, David Lewis, and Catriona Reynolds are facing the discontent of hundreds of local residents who signed recall petitions in March. The petitions said they were unfit to represent the city.
The council members had worked as a group to craft a resolution that would have made Homer a "sanctuary city," where illegal immigrants would find safe haven from law enforcement. The effort was cloaked in secrecy and residents were surprised when they learned of it. Under local fire, the resolution was eventually watered down and it failed passage.
The "Sanctuary Three" didn't stop there. They also worked to establish an official position for the City of Homer opposing the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota and support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its resistance against the project. Some Homer citizens felt the council members had "gone rogue" in trying to make the entire city weigh in on a project thousands of miles and several states away, for no good reason other than obsequious political correctness.
The ACLU, in a press release, said that the three have done "nothing more than exercising their free speech rights."
But the citizens are also expressing their right -- their right to vote people out of office. They gathered 437 signatures -- far more than needed -- on petitions to recall the three council members. The city clerk, after consulting with the city's attorney, said the petition was strong enough to allow it to go for a vote. The law provides liberal language that supports the public's right to remove lawmakers.”
Louisiana Lawmaker Wants to Make Recall Petitioning Easier
(03/31/17) — “NEW ORLEANS -- Motivated by recent failures to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni and former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan, a lawmaker filed a bill March 30 to reduce the threshold for petition signatures that must be collected to get a recall election on the ballot.
State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, said he believes both houses of the Legislature will support his proposal when the session starts April 10 and will support the need to ease requirements under the state's recall law, which he called the most onerous in the country.
"I look at Louisiana compared to all the other states that allow for recalls and Louisiana's threshold is by far the highest requirement and I certainly don't want it to be the lowest and likewise I don't want it to be easy, I just want it to be possible."
Under current law, Louisiana districts with more than 1,000 electors need signatures from a third of all registered voters to trigger a recall election. Hollis wants to keep that in place for smaller districts, but lower the threshold to 25 percent of electors in districts with more than 25,000 voters and down to 20 percent of those registered in districts with more than 100,000 voters.
He noted that a number of signatures equal to just 12 percent of the total votes cast in the previous election are needed in California, where voters successfully removed Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
By contrast, large Louisiana districts like Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes must collect signatures from a third of voters registered there.”