Newsom’s allies turn their ire to the recall process
With California Gov. Gavin Newsom having successfully defeated a recall effort, his allies in the one-party state are exploring ways to make sure future recall efforts never get on the ballot.
It’s more than just the legal challenges that seek to have the century-old progressive process declared unconstitutional. It’s to make the barriers for getting a recall on the ballot prohibitively high:
Most of the reform proposals being floated would make it more difficult for voters to challenge their leaders. California requires the signatures of 12 percent the number of those who voted in the last relevant election, which is the lowest recall threshold in the country; most are at around 20 percent. “Other states with recall provisions, like Minnesota and Washington, require an act of malfeasance or a conviction for a serious crime for the recall to proceed,” The New York Times notes wistfully. (Such designations being too important to leave in the hands of mere voters.) Newsom himself prefers the automatic installation of the lieutenant governor in case of recall, which would in the current electoral climate lock Republicans out of the statehouse.
The catch is that any such change in the state constitution has to be approved…via statewide ballot referendum. Public opinion surveys show that Californians are open to tinkering, but they do appreciate having the recall power.
Of course they do, because unlike the creatures of state government, voters like having the ability to check their elected officials when they believe it’s needed. Recalls can upend the plans and schemes (and livelihoods) of a host of government-dependent people. Changing the rules is very much in their personal and pecuniary interest.