Nineteen states currently allow citizens to recall state officials and if a new group has its way, Ohio may become the 20th.
According to Portia Boulger of “Recall Protects Us All”, volunteers will begin collecting petition signatures for a ballot initiative that would amend the Ohio Constitution to provide citizens the right to a recall referendum of all elected officials other than judges.
The right of recall by citizens is not a new issue. Similar calls for recall power were voiced during the previous Governor’s administration, even prompting a Recall Ted Strickland Facebook group.
But the recent anti-union actions of Ohio’s Republicans have spurred renewed interest in providing this power to Ohioans, prompting State Reps Bob Hagan and Mike Foley to introduce similar recall legislation last April.
The authors of this ballot initiative want to clear that their amendment is not aimed at any individual politician and it’s not focused on one specific issue. The goal, according to Committee member Mark Cleland, is to “put the power in the people’s hands.” “Ohio’s citizens are frustrated with the attacks on their entire community from education, the elderly, right to work, women, the poor, and minorities. It’s time to protect Ohio citizens”, says Paula Garfield.
Ms. Boulger sums up the purpose of the proposed amendment: “When elected officials at all levels of government do not support or legislate and vote the will of at least the simple majority of their constituents, the electorate must have the authority to fire them.”
Collecting signatures for ballot initiatives is typically expensive business. But volunteer efforts can and have been successful. Regardless of how you feel about Chris Littleton’s Tea Party-driven, anti-health care initiative last year, it should serve as a lesson: don’t discount a dedicated group of motivated volunteers willing to put in long hours for a cause they truly believe in. With enough time and a little luck, they just might surprise you.
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