Oklahoma would become the 20th state to allow citizens to petition for recall elections under an amendment proposed by Rep. Danny Morgan (D-Prague). Morgan filed his amendment today to House Bill 2449 by Rep. Marty Quinn (R-Claremore) which deals with municipal elections.
Under Morgan’s amendment, “every elected officer of this state and any political subdivision thereof” will be eligible for a recall. Those wanting to recall an elected official will have 90-days to gather signatures of registered voters totaling at least 15% of the number of voters in the most recent general election. If a petition is successful, the recall election will feature two questions: shall the official be recalled and who shall replace the official? Under the language of the amendment, the official being recalled cannot be on the list of replacements.
In an interview with Oklahoma Watchdog Editor Peter J. Rudy, Morgan said he’s heard from his constituents that they would like the ability to recall officials. Morgan’s amendment does not have any parameters on how soon after an election a recall could be initiated nor any guidelines on how many recalls could be attempted against the same official. When questioned about this, Morgan said, “I’m willing to make some changes to make sure it is so that we can control that because that really is a concern if you have just one group of militant individuals out there that they can circumvent the will of the majority of voters.” (see full interview with Morgan below)
Morgan says he understands there would be a cost associated with a recall – House fiscal staff says a statewide recall election could cost a million dollars – but that sometimes you have to pay that price, “if they are willing to go out and sign a petition, then they think it’s worth the expense.”
Two states that border Oklahoma (Colorado, Kansas) and another in the region (Louisiana) are among the 19 states with recall provisions according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The bill with the Morgan amendment could be heard on the House Floor as early as Wednesday.