Spectator Editorial: Recall madness

The idea of a recall election is a good one that all states should adopt, but California needs to revise its policy.

Sixteen states have the power to recall public officials but procedures vary among states.

In California’s situation, a recall was the right thing for the people because they were upset about the way the state’s budget was being handled by Gray Davis.

The issue:
California voters put Gov. Gray Davis out of office Oct. 7 and voted in Arnold Schwarzenegger

People were angry enough to get an election, and 65 to 70 percent of registered voters participated in the election, stated Caifornia’s Secretary of State Kevin Shelley in an Associated Press article.

The recall proved the public has political power even in off-election years.

But there are still a few problems with California’s recall procedures.

California’s system allows a recall election at any time during a governor’s term, which could mean that Schwarzenegger might be recalled if his opposition began collecting signatures.

To initiate a recall in California, only 12 percent of the total number of people who voted in the previous election need to sign a petition in 160 days.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s policy on recalls makes it harder to perform a recall.

Wisconsin requires signatures from 25 percent of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, and a recall can only be initiated one year after an official was put in office.

Not only does Wisconsin require more signatures, it also demands they be collected in 60 days. Thus, people in Wisconsin would have to be very motivated and outraged to oust an official.

Holding a recall election diverts the attention and effort of running the state government toward campaign efforts. In addition, elections cost a lot of money.

Though California needs to reform its recall procedures, the Oct. 7 election served as a wake-up call to politicians who dabble in mediocrity.