Monday, September 9, 2013

Colorado: The distilled Top 10 list of facts for the Colorado recall

Tomorrow ends the voting on the recalls of Colorado State Senate President John and state Senator Angela Giron. So far, Republicans have turned out very heavily in the Morse recall, though it is not clear how independents will break.

Last week I wrote a huge round-up on the recall -- available right here. Since then, I've seen some stories with incorrect facts on the history and use of the recall. In case you don't want to read through 4000+ words, here's a top line finding:

1. The recall (among the 11 states like Colorado that have a political recall) has never been limited to or focused on corrupt officials. The argument that the recall was suppose to be used only to oust corrupt officials is a long running canard, one disproved by both history and the fact that there are actually seven states that limit the recall to corruption issues.

2. The two recalls represent the 37th and 38th recalls of state legislators in US history, and the first in Colorado's history.

3. The removal record in the 36 legislative recalls up till now is 18-18 (caveats in the link). Generally (on the local level), recalls result in removal more than half the time (85 out of 151 in 2011, 108 out of 168 in 2012).

4. There have been recalls focused on gun control in the past, including one in 1994 of a state legislative leader in California (he survived).

5. Morse is the 5th legislative leader to face a recall vote. 3 of the 4 survived the vote.

6. Big campaign spending in recalls in recalls are nothing new. In at least two other states, the most expensive state legislative campaigns were recalls.

7. Recalls tend to be blowouts, though there are plenty of close races.

8. Multi-official recalls tend to be clean sweeps (either all officials win or lose), though in Wisconsin in both 2011 and 2012 we had split results.

9. Colorado has held between 12 recalls (or resignations) in 2011, 10 last year and 11 this year. Officials have survived at a better than 50% rate.

10. There have been polls showing voters opposed to the use of the recall on policy grounds. There is a very strong partisan divide to the polls -- based on whether you support or oppose the specific recall that is being run. Following recalls, state legislators invariably try to tinker or eliminate the recall, but they never seem to go the voters with a proposal.

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