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Growing Number of School Board and City Council Members Being Recalled

  • School board and city council members top the list of recall targets
  • Michigan and California lead the nation in recall efforts

Voters are recalling local and state officials at a growing rate in 2022, a new report shows.

“Recalls are a window into how Americans are participating in our political system,” said Geoff Pallay, Ballotpedia’s editor in chief. “This report gives people a look under the hood to get a peek into the current and historical context to make sense of how recalls work, what drives them, and where we may be headed.”

Recall Rates Remain Elevated
The new Ballotpedia study finds that there have been 152 recall efforts launched against 240 elected officials in 24 states so far this year. While this is an eight percent decrease compared to 2021’s 165 recall efforts, recall rates remain significantly elevated compared to the mid-year points in both 2020 (98 efforts) and 2019 (72 efforts).

School board and city council members top the list of recall targets. Through June 22, recall organizers have tried to recall 80 school board members and 77 city council members. This is the second straight year that school board members are facing the most recalls; city council recalls had topped the charts for the preceding five years.

Of the recall efforts that have concluded, the results are as follows:

  • 20 officials recalled
  • 16 recall efforts defeated
  • 9 officials resigned
  • 110 recalls failed to make the ballot

State Recall Data

Michigan leads the nation in recall efforts this year with 70. California is second with 64. Michigan also had the most recall efforts after adjusting for population, followed by Alaska and Nebraska.

The following table lists the five states with the most recall efforts at the midpoint of the past three years, as well as the top five states after adjusting for population.

 RankTotal recallsTotal recalls per 100k residents
#1California (33)California (78)Michigan (70)North Dakota (0.66)Alaska (0.68)Michigan (0.70)
#2Michigan (11)Arizona (32)California (64)Alaska (0.41)Nebraska (0.41)Alaska (0.68)
#3Colorado (9)Washington (20)Colorado (17)Idaho (0.39)Idaho (0.33)Nebraska (0.36)
#4 Idaho / Massachusetts (tie, 7) Colorado / Michigan (tie, 17)Virginia (16)Nebraska (0.31)Maine (0.29)Colorado (0.29)
#5Oregon (11)New Mexico (0.19)Montana (0.28)North Dakota / Oregon (tie, 0.26)

Recalls are Hyper-Local
“Recall efforts tend to be hyper-local in nature,” said Ballotpedia managing editor Daniel Anderson. “The notable exception is COVID-19, which has been a significant driver behind the increase in recall efforts nationwide over the past couple of years,” Anderson said, adding that school boards are also seeing more conflict and recall activity.

As the coronavirus pandemic grew in 2021, 545 officials faced recall efforts, with 25 being removed from office. In 2020, 301 officials faced recalls, and 35 were removed.

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Hanna Heller

Hanna is the entertainment and lifestyle editor for CDN. Fan of great movies, legendary music, outdoor activities and cool stuff in general, her opinions, as expressed in her articles, are her own and not necessarily shared by anyone .. anywhere .. ever. Follow Hanna on Twitter: @Hanna_CDN

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