Robert Knight

In Wymore, Neb., citizens got fed up with a councilman who kept leaving meetings. So last Tuesday, May 10, they voted him out in a recall election.

It’s part of a nationwide pattern, as citizens discover that they don’t have to wait until the next election to throw the bums out.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., a recall effort against Democrat Mayor Ron Littlefield has been tied up in court since September. But organizers who filed an appeal are not giving up, and say they expect the case to go to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In Florida, tax-happy Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, a Republican, was recalled on March 15 when 88 percent of voters gave him the boot.

In Omaha, voters on Jan. 25 narrowly failed to remove Democrat Mayor Jim Suttle. As Ballotpedia puts it, “Under Suttle's mayoral stint, property taxes increased 15%, despite a campaign promise not to do so. The 'wheel tax' on cars grew more than 40%, from $35 to $50. Restaurants were also handed a 2.5% tax increase.”

In Akron, Ohio, USA Today reports, “lawyer Warner Mendenhall led a failed 2009 effort to recall Mayor Don Plusquellic, a Democrat who has been in office 23 years. ‘The spending has gotten out of hand,’ says Mendenhall, who calls himself a liberal Democrat. ‘The mayor had spent us into a deep, deep hole and needed to go.’”

Of course, recall is a two-edged sword. In Wisconsin, nine senators – six Republicans and three Democrats – are facing recall elections this summer over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bold move to end much of the state’s collective bargaining with public employee unions. In Ohio, public employee unions are pushing a bill aimed at recalling Republican Gov. John Kasich for his backing of a new law that sharply curbs public union power.

In Illinois, voters approved a new law in November that allows recall of the governor. In 2003, California voters dumped Democrat Gov. Gray Davis in a recall election.


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.