Setting a higher threshold for recall elections in Wisconsin is a good idea. And while the devil will be in the details, and this has to be done right, a proposal from Reps. Robin Vos, Gary Tauchen and Paul Farrow at least offers a starting point.
Wisconsin was host to a record number of recall elections this summer, all stemming from the controversy surrounding Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair and budget bills earlier this year. Six Republicans and three Democrats were the subjects of recalls – the Republicans generally because they had favored Walker’s proposals, the Democrats generally because they had left the state to delay action on the proposals.
The recalls were unwarranted. A vote or stance on one issue is not sufficient in our view to justify the expense of a recall election. And they were expensive: The elections cost the state and local governments $2.1 million; the opposing sides in those campaigns spent a record $44 million, with Democrats and their allies outspending Republicans by just under $3 million, or about 14%.
Disagreeing with the votes of elected officials is as American as the proverbial apple pie. A never-ending election cycle is not. And if recalls are going to be held every time a group disagrees with the stance of an elected official, constant political campaigns threaten to become the norm.
Furthermore, while elected officials need to pay attention to the wishes of their constituents, they also owe those constituents their best judgment, which sometimes means doing what they think is right instead of doing what’s popular. The threat of recall may inhibit that judgment.
Which is why recalls should be saved for only the most egregious behavior. “There has to be a good reason for the recall; it shouldn’t just be up to one small group,” Farrow told the Editorial Board Thursday. He’s right.
Full Article: Higher recall standards – JSOnline.