Recall Bill Gains Traction In Assembly

ALBANY – A proposed constitutional amendment would put the power back in the hands of voters and provide an extra level of checks and balances for legislators.

On Wednesday, Republican Assembly members called for a constitutional amendment to allow voters to recall their elected officials for corruption and other reasons.

According to Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, recall elections are already working in 19 other states. In those states, more than a dozen state legislators have been removed following 36 recall elections. The New York proposal would allow for recall votes every general election in November.

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, is in support of the amendment, saying it will give power back to the voters.

“The whole purpose of this recall process is to make it abundantly clear that legislators work for the people that elected them and no one else,” Goodell said. “It really is all about putting the power back to the voters and making sure that legislators represent the voters of their district.”

If the amendment takes place, in order to get legislators out of office, a petition would need to be started. In order for the vote to go on the November ballot, 20 percent of the turnout of the previous election would need to sign off on the petition.

“In order to get on the ballot in the first place, the candidate has to circulate a petition and obtain at least 5 percent of the registered voters in their party,” Goodell said. “So this is a fairly high standard, they’ve got to get at least 20 percent, so it’s not something that can be done over frivolous reasons, but it’s not too high to prevent people from obtaining a recall vote.”