There has been a movement afoot to change our recall laws in Wisconsin. While I am all for reforming the recall laws, I am not into taking the power away from the people. With that in mind I have come up with some common sense reforms that will make recalls a bit more difficult to pull off, but at the same time still holding our elected officials accountable to their electorate. My changes are as follows:
1. Change the percentage of signatures needed to recall from 25% of the total of last Governor’s race to 35%. Most districts where recalls are plausible 25% of the electorate is a card carrying member of one of our two major parties. By increasing the percentage the recallers would have to find some independent voters to sign the petitions. This would help prevent any party from running a recall just because they know they can.
2. All money needed to launch a recall effort must be raised within the district where the recall is taking place. This will prevent out of state interests from targeting a specific seat etc…
3. All volunteers for the recall effort MUST be residents of said district. Again this takes outside interest out and forces the recall to be a true grassroots effort.
4. Cut the time granted to get recall signatures from 6 weeks to 4 weeks. This again assures that the effort is indeed grassroots and that the district is truly motivated for a recall.
5. The recallers must state a universal reason for the recall and must have that statement clearly posted on the top of every page of signatures. This helps in 2 ways. First of all it will help prevent recallers from convincing people that their signature is actually in support of the potential recall candidate (which did in fact happen in our Senate recalls), and also it would also serve to help eliminate people signing it just because their neighbor did etc…In short this makes people aware of what they are signing and why they are signing it.
I believe these changes would make recalling an elected official still possible, which makes them more accountable to us, while at the same time assuring the public that the recall is local in origin. It also makes the signature process a bit more challenging which again reaffirms that the recall is indeed grassroots and its supporters are wide-spread.
Yes my proposal stops short of limiting what actions the elected official has to do to make a recall possible so I know many here won’t like it, but when you really think about this country is already taking our rights away on a daily basis. Do we really want to lose another one by taking the potential of a recall out of the hands of the citizens?