Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Year in Recalls -- 151 Recalls in 2011 (edited to add another recall)

Note: Since publication, I've found another recall -- the figures reflect the new recall total.

This year was a great year for recalls, and now we have some numbers to back it up. There were at least 151 recalls in 2011. Here's my Los Angeles Times article discussing the totals, and below are some more key facts from the recalls.

As a whole, the recalls were clearly very successful -- 85 officials bounced, with 76 officials voted out and nine officials resigning from office in the face of recalls. This figure is especially striking compared to the fact that the incumbent reelection rate in the US is at least over 75%. Some other interesting facts:
  • Recalls were held in 17 states, in 73 separate jurisdictions. 
  • The state with most was Michigan, with at least 31 recalls.
  • 30 mayors faced recalls.
  • 17 recalls were school boards.
  • 11 were state legislators (by far the record -- the previous high was 3 in one year)
  • 52 were city councilmembers.
  • One local prosecutor, York, Nebraska County Attorney, faced a recall.
  • 34 jurisdictions held recalls on multiple days.
  • Three jurisdictions adopted the recall
The recall hit cities large and small -- Miami-Dade was the largest municipality to ever hold a recall. Small cities with big names -- Cleveland (Texas), Houston (Alaska), Detroit (Oregon), Decatur (Nebraska) all used the recall this year.

The biggest day was November 8, with 26 recalls.

The reasons for recalls are all over the map. As regular readers of the blog know, I am very dismissive of the idea that the economic downturn is wholly to blame for the recall explosion. In fact, technology is playing a very large role in the expansion of the recall.

As for this Blog -- 700+ posts later, we're still going strong.

In the face of the "Bermuda Triangle" nature of the recall, with this continue? It certainly will, at least for next year. There are well over 100 recall petitioning campaigns out there, including a likely recall against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. And there have already been 22 recalls elections scheduled for 2012.


  1. Who the heck has ever heard of Decatur Nebraska? Pretty sure you mean OMAHA

  2. You may never have heard of it, but google certainly has. As for Omaha, yes I am well aware of that recall, and have written (and been interviewed about it) at length.

  3. Can you give us a Democrat vs Repuplican breakdown of this data. I think that would be interesting.


  4. yep Republican vs. Democrat stats....

  5. We don't need recalls,...we need a little recoil.

  6. Thanks for the request. I have to research the D v. R stats. Since a large number of the recalls were for non-partisan offices, it will not equal 150.
    For the state legislators, it was 8 Republicans faced a recall, and 3 Democrats.

  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decatur,_Nebraska

    If you only had a brain

  8. We ditched (or rather, Mesa, Arizona ditched) the evil Russell Pearce. Good riddance to extremely bad rubbish. Possible criminal charges to come?

  9. fingers crossed.2012 will be ......hmmm. see u on the other side

  10. what is the party breakdown - republican, democrat, independent

  11. The most stunning recall was the ouster of Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce-- father of the infamous "papers please" SB1070. The rate of recall + the rise of the Occupy movement show that at least some Americans are paying attention to government, and they don't like what they see.

  12. I, too, would like a breakdown. Repulican - Democrat - Independent. Who was recalled?

  13. Dear trapspam honeypot , I'm just guessing, but I'd lay money on Buckle Boy's comment about Decatur Nebraska being what we smart people call a joke...get it?

  14. @BuckleBoy There is a Decatur, Nebraska! Decatur is proud to be the second oldest settlement in Nebraska. Google is your friend

  15. we should recall the entire republican Gop tea party congress and republicans in the senate this country would be better off and we could move forward. i sure wish we could, these people are disgusting, they are destroying whats left of this country.

  16. Anyone notice how things have gone to hell in a hand basket since the extreme right wingers have conned their way into state offices?

    This is the work of ALEC and the Koch Bros.

    This is aided by the John Birch Society.

    Every one of the people must be run out of the state on a rail, in a tar and feather suit.

  17. SCOTT WALKER -- The Alfred E. Newman of Wisconsin politics has to be at the top of the recall list!