Democrats Take Aim At Recall Rules

After the recent gubernatorial recall election in California, where Newsom ultimately retained his governorship, state lawmakers are already scrambling to ensure holding a recall election in the future will be far more difficult.

Immediately after the election, reports surfaced regarding California Secretary of State Shirley Weber’s comments on the recall process. Weber noted that the recall process hasn’t been adjusted in a century, and added that it is now due for a change.

“What can we do to really make it a system that we believe in?” Weber questioned, adding that “we’re going to do some work on that.”

Democrats across California have suggested doubling the required number of signatures necessary to bring about a recall election, as well as requiring for candidates to have different signatures from various parts of the state. In addition, the Democrats also propose raising filing fees.

The Democrats are presumably motivated to change the recall rules due to a study released by UC Berkeley, which shows that three out of every four voters support recall elections, though the same respondents also believe that reform to the process is necessary.

Eric Shickler, a political science professor at Berkeley, floated potential scenarios for signature requirements, including the following: “In five different counties, you need to have X number of signatures,” which would mean that “it’s not enough to just send signature gatherers to your hometown.”

In addition, the California State Senate Election Committee has already given approval to two different measures, which including banning compensation for petition circulators for the signatures they receive in a recall effort.

Shickler also added that the results of the Berkeley poll reveal that the majority of voters, which would include the majority of Democrats, are in favor of “recall elections in principle.”

However, they also “favor reforms that would impose somewhat higher hurdles” on bringing about recall elections in the future.