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Andrew McNair

2023 sees increase in recall attempts from 2022

In 2023, Ballotpedia covered 284 recall efforts against 418 officials. This was a slight increase in the number of recall efforts and a slight decrease in the number of officials targeted for recall compared to 2022, when we covered 267 recall efforts against 450 officials. The year with the greatest number of recall attempts covered by Ballotpedia was 2021, with 357 recall efforts against 545 officials.

City council officials faced more recall attempts than any other officeholder type in 2023, accounting for 42.1% of recall targets. This was a continuation of a pattern as city council officials saw the most recall efforts started against them compared to other office types from 2010 to 2020 and again in 2022. The one exception, 2021, saw school board members with the most. The next most commonly targeted officeholders in 2023 were school board members, comprising 22.4% of the total.

The state with the highest number of officials targeted in recall efforts was Michigan with 141. Michigan also had the highest number of officials targeted for recall in 2022. The next-closest two states in 2023 were California with 57 and Colorado with 30. The state with the most recall attempts relative to its population was also Michigan, with 1.41 recalls per 100,000 residents. The next-closest two states were North Dakota with 1.03 and Nebraska with 0.97.

Notable recalls across 2023 included the following:

  • A recall election against Oregon state Rep. Paul Holvey (D) took place on October 3, 2023. Proponents of the recall effort criticized Holvey for multiple reasons, including his lack of support for House Bill 3183, his vote on a 2019 bill that reduced pension benefits, and his failure to secure pandemic benefits for grocery workers. Holvey defeated the recall effort with 90% of the vote.
  • An effort to recall three of the five members of the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education in California began in June 2023. The recall was started by the One Temecula Valley Political Action Committee. The officials named in the recall effort — Gonzalez, Wiersma, and Komrosky — were elected to four-year terms on the board in November 2022.
  • An attempt to recall Cochise County District 1 Supervisor Tom Crosby in Arizona began in January 2023. The recall effort failed after supporters did not collect the required number of signatures by the May 3 deadline. In late November 2023, Crosby and Judd were charged with felonies for delaying the county’s vote counting and interfering with the statewide count.
  • An effort to recall Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price in California was initiated in 2023. Recall organizers argued that Price should be recalled for leniency in sentence enhancements and her mishandling of homicide cases. Price responded to the recall attempt by arguing that the effort was organized by Republican-connected special interest groups and that sentencing enhancements propagate racial disparities.
  • Recall elections against Township Clerk Kathy Young and Treasurer Pat Williams were held on November 7, 2023, in Webber Township, Michigan. The recall was organized by Piedad Medina, who said the officials should have been recalled for what she believed were unlawful expenditures, violations of ordinances, and failures to maintain financial records. Young was recalled after a tie-breaking ceremony and Williams retained her seat as treasurer.

Additional reading:

Ballotpedia’s 2022 Recall Analysis

Ballotpedia’s 2021 Recall Analysis

Political recall efforts

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