Recalls too easy? Are you kidding? | WisCommunity

Recalls too easy? Are you kidding?

Recalls are just too easy, the Journal Sentinel editorial board

The recalls were unwarranted. A vote or stance on one issue is not sufficient in our view to justify the expense of a recall election...

And if recalls are going to be held every time a group disagrees with the stance of an elected official, constant political campaigns threaten to become the norm.

Too easy? To recall a state legislator, or statewide official, requires signatures from 25% of the people who voted for governor in the last election. In Walker's case, that is 540,206 signatures, a monumental task.

In State Senate districts, the 25% requirement also set the bar high, from 13,000 to 20,000-plus signatures, based on 2010 turnout. The signatures need to be collected in a 60-day period. It took legions of volunteers working countless hours to get that done. Republicans failed to reach the required number in several districts where they tried to retaliate against Democrats. And no Democrat was successfully recalled.

What the newspaper fails to acknowledge is that this summer's recall season was an extraordinary event, sparked not by one vote on some minor issue but on a major change in direction that too away 50 years of tradition and hard-won rights from Wisconsin workers, something that Walker and the Republican state senators never mentioned when they asked for our votes.

What they did wasn't illegal, but it was outrageous. And recalls gave people a way to express their unhappiness with what their elected officials had foisted upon them.

The right to recall officials has been in the state constitution for 85 years, but rarely used. Before this year, four state officials were recalled since 1926, two surviving elections, two not. There is no reason, despite the current upheaval, to think that recalls will become routine in the future, either.

Citizens for Responsive Government, the rightwing group that helped elect Walker as Milwaukee County executive in a recalll election, and successfully recalled a number of county board members over their votes on a pension scandal, has tried to export the ideas and use the recall as a weapon against local officials in other communities, but has failed dismally. In a number of cases, they fell woefully short of collecting the required signatures.

It only works when there is widespread anger over something an elected official has done. And when that's the case, what's wrong with a recall?  It is the only recourse voters have.  Why take it away?


September 24, 2011 - 1:37pm