Recalls seem to be back on the normal track this year after two years of coronavirus-related drop-offs, with 415 (now, I would say 417) attempts. 88 recall elections (I'll explain the discrepancy from the article below). 51 officials were removed and 37 survived. There were 18 resignations. (updated to 51 from 50 with a discovered Nebraska School Board recall).
The recalls took place in 21 states, including perhaps the first removal in Minnesota since at least the adoption of the state-wide law in 1996. The big ones were the San Francisco District Attorney and three SF School Board members, as well as the failed Los Angeles District Attorney recall. On the international level, the Mexican Presidential recall was the big moment, albeit an anticlimactic one.
The number of officials who faced actual recall elections rose this year, but the number of attempts to recall officials dropped back to more normal levels. In 2020 and 2021, voter anger over pandemic-era lockdowns inspired far more recall efforts. In 2021 alone, voters attempted to recall officials more than 600 times, compared with 415 times this year.
In 2020, just 66 officials were forced into recall elections, and 14 more resigned before they had to face a recall. The same number, 66, faced recalls in 2021, and another 17 resigned early.
In 2019, 87 officials faced a recall vote (37 removals, 16 resignations, 34 survived). In 2018 (which I never published) saw 150 recalls make the ballot or lead to a resignation, with 85 removals, 28 resignations and 37 survivals. In 2017, we had 102 recalls, 2016, we have 119 recalls. In 2015, there were 109; 2014 (which, I never actually wrote up), 126 recalls. In 2013, we had 107 recalls. 2012 we had 166, and a 2011 we had 151 (the numbers do not always exactly match up to the links – I checked back and found additional recalls and removed a few).
Some caveats here:
- We are definitely missing recalls here. As I've mentioned many times before, the death of local newspapers is a disaster for local political coverage (not to mention for the country and democracy in general). The result is a number of recalls fall the cracks and are not reported on. Sometimes they pop up later.
- 2021 was the first time since I've been keeping track (since 2011) that more officials survived a recall vote than lost. 2022 is back to form.
- The one missing recall survival that I've added was the East Cleveland one. I was not sure how to put that one in because they weren't counting the results, but it's clear it should be in the survived recall column.