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. 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

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.”
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Mayoral Recall Effort on Track in North Dakota

(03/31/17) — “BISMARCK -- Organizers of a petition to recall Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary say they have crossed the 2,000 signatures mark. Under state law the petitioners are required to get 1,898 valid signatures, equivalent to 25 percent of voters in the most recent mayoral race, according to Kevin Glatt, Burleigh County's auditor. There's also a possible candidate to run against Seminary -- Steve Bakken, who said he is "definitely running" -- should the recall happen. And he's confident he would be able to get the 300 signatures needed to get on the ballot. The deadline for filing as a challenger in a recall election is 64 days before the date of the recall election. Paul Maloney, a spokesman for the group who initiated the petition, said they had been aiming for 2,000 signatures to give themselves a buffer but will continue collecting through April 19 to further hedge their bets before delivering the signatures to Bismarck City Administrator Keith Hunke's office. Hunke will then have 30 days, or until May 19, to confirm whether the signers live within Bismarck city limits and are of legal voting age. If enough signatures are valid, he must call an election within 95 to 105 days, likely putting the special election in late August. Seminary ran unopposed for his post as mayor in 2014 and his seat is up for re-election in June 2018, giving any potential successor less than a year in office before running for re-election. Bakken said he was already planning a run for the mayor's seat in 2018. And when he initially heard about recall efforts, he thought the mayor should be allowed to finish his term. "I don't know the tipping point" for the organizers of the recall petition, according to Bakken, adding arguments convinced him of "the damage that could be caused before (Seminary) finishes his term." Bakken said his platform would be one of rebuilding relationships with other government entities and better, more transparent leadership with fiscal accountability to the voters and taxpayers, especially as Bismarck struggles with infrastructure upgrades in a growing city. "It just got to the point we were tired of waiting," said Maloney, adding that the management of Dakota Access Pipeline protest activity and its effect on local business owners was what urged many to act.”
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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.”
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Nevada Sheriff Facing Recall Denies Allegations

(03/23/17) — “RENO -- In a wide ranging interview, embattled Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro denied the allegations that resulted in a successful petition for a recall election next month. The recall stems from allegations made in the past three years that include sexual harassment, wrongful terminations, ethics issues and budget problems. A group of women initially filed a notice of intent with the Nevada Secretary of State seeking to recall the sheriff in late November, according to the Associated Press. That group is now being represented by Kris Thompson, project manager for the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center -- home to such high profile projects like Tesla's Gigafactory. The group leading the recall effort had to obtain 477 petition signatures - 25 percent of the people who voted in Antinoro's 2014 election. They collected 491 valid signatures, Thompson said in an email last week. The recall election is set for April 11.”
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