iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Cynthia Dill

Cynthia Dill

Posted: March 10, 2011 09:52 AM

Should Maine Have a Citizens Recall Process?


Pretend for a moment that I am a legislator. Now imagine me readings bills that would deny legal immigrants welfare benefits, require citizens of foreign descent to carry their papers or be arrested, require photo identification and proof of citizenship in order to vote, require candidates to prove citizenship, allow concealed weapons in the state house and in state parks, reverse constitutional protections for women, and make whoopie pies the state dessert.

Now picture me reading the GOP platform advocating for the protection of our borders, recognition of Jihad, the arrest and immediate deportation of all illegal immigrants (even if they were born here, are educated, working and paying taxes), a return to principles of Austrian Economics, and protection against One World Order.

In a moment of weakness, hypothetically, I blurt out, "The GOP has been hijacked by radical, racist, Islamaphobic Tea Party people! They are not just Islamaphobic, they are really xenophobic! I mean basically they believe in sort of white, gun-toting, middle-America. I mean it's scary!"

You could criticize my grammar. You might disagree with me. But since I'm an elected state official and not an employee of National Public Radio, you could not fire me.

Or, let's say I was a constitutional officer and my job was to manage the state's accounts, buy bonds and pay the interest, but instead I kept traveling to the state house to stand on a soap box and tell you falsely that Maine's fiscal house is on the brink of insolvency.

Or picture for a moment that you are one of the 62% of Maine people who did not vote for me as Chief Executive, you're unhappy with my performance, and all I have to say is, "Kiss my butt!"

Even Donald Trump could not fire me because Maine, unlike 18 other states, does not allow a citizen recall of state officials.

Maybe it's time we did.

Recall is a political procedure that allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the end of a term of office by collecting a certain number of signatures and then having a special election. There are pros and cons, of course. Should citizens have recourse over elected officials who are not representing their best interests or incompetent? On the other hand, would too much 'democracy' lead to gridlock and give more influence to special interests?

You might be thinking, "Yeah, okay, but I thought everything was supposed to be about the economy and jobs?"

An amendment to the Maine Constitution to allow a citizen recall of state officials might not only increase democracy and campaign spending, it could create jobs and bring desperately needed cash in to the state.

In Wisconsin, for instance, recall efforts are gaining steam with the help of groups from outside the state. Eight Republican and six Democratic senators have been targeted for recall. Nationwide liberal groups Progressive Change Campaign Committee, based in Washington, and Democracy for America, based in Vermont, have raised more than $500,000 online in the past week.

It really is about jobs, right?

 

Follow Cynthia Dill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dillesquire