How to Recall a U.S. Senator

by Catherine Flanagan

Maybe you disagree with your Senator's stance on an issue. Or maybe you are discontent with his or her voting policies. Contrary to what you may believe or wish, you cannot recall members of the U.S. Congress. Recalling a member of the Senate is not allowed by the Constitution, and no one has been removed from the Senate from a recall.

Historical Discussion About Recalling U.S. Senators

Even though no one in the Senate has been recalled, that doesn't mean that it has not been a topic of discussion in the past. In fact, when the nation's founders were at the Constitutional Convention, they considered adding a provision to the Constitution regarding a recall and decided against it – arguing that the provisions already in the Constitution provided enough balance of power and stability.

Constitutional Expulsion

Though you cannot recall Senators, rest assured that the nation's founders created a clause in the Constitution to expel Senators. In the past, this has only been used to expel members for disloyalty after the Civil War.


  • The 18 states allowing for recall are as follows: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.
  • A website or a phone campaign are good ways to get your petition going. Going door-to-door is also an option although it is more time consuming than the other two. This is important since you only have a set number of days to obtain the correct number of signatures-anywhere from 30 to 180 days.


  • You will be fighting an uphill battle to recall a U.S. Senator. No member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States.

About the Author

Catherine is an editor at Demand Media. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in English.