Wisconsin’s recent recall election was unusual - it was only the third in U.S. history for a governor. The governor and lieutenant governor survived the vote and will remain in office. But it followed on the heels of a slew of recall elections last year for Wisconsin state senators and other state officials (“Governors state their case for growth,” Web, Wednesday). Enough is enough.
Recall, along with popular initiatives and referenda, were among the “progressive” reforms to state constitutions introduced in the early 20th century. The idea was to allow the voters to remove elected officials who had betrayed the public trust, usually because of some form of criminal behavior. Recall was never intended as a do-over for voters whose candidate lost a free and fair election. For such situations, there is another remedy: the next election.
Voters in other states now can be expected to copy Wisconsin’s bad example and try to recall state officials they don’t happen to like. We will either have a revolving door for state officeholders - each reversing the policies and accomplishments of his predecessor - or we will have to scrap recall as an experiment gone bad. Do-overs are all very well on the gradeschool playground, but they are no way to run a state government.
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