Nothing is more powerful in a democracy than fed up citizens lawfully yanking public officials out of their jobs. Considering all the frustration and anger about government that is too big, expensive, corrupt and dysfunctional, it is wise to consider how much better American democracy would be if citizens could recall members of Congress, the President and even Supreme Court Justices. In a world moving at faster and faster speeds why wait for the usual ways to fix government, especially when none of them seem to work?
Fearful politicians have given citizens in relatively few states and local governments the right to recall government officials. A most memorable and recent recall was the governor of California, Gray Davis, in 2003.
Direct voting to recall government officials is a prime example of direct democracy. The action may be called a recall election or a recall referendum. It is needed when representative democracy fails the public. Which most Americans definitely think is the case for Congress.
Only eighteen states allow recall of state officials. Specific grounds for recall are required in only eight states. Eleven states allow recall of judicial officials. Inat least 29states (some sources place this number at 36), recall elections may be held in local jurisdictions. Three-fourths of recall actions in the US are at the city council or school board level.
Here are some other recent successful recalls.
1983 recall efforts of two Michigan state senators