How to Recall a U.S. Senator

by eHow Culture & Society Editor

Senators have to find a balance between voting their conscience and voting as their constituents would like. If senators vote their conscience too heavily, constituents tend to get angry. When this happens, constituents may ask for a recall of their U.S. Senator.

Consider your location. Few states allow for a recall of a senator-only 18 and the District of Columbia. If you're not living in one of these states you have no constitutional rights to recall.

Determine the grounds for recall. You'll need this information to make your case to the population but in 7 of the 18 states specific grounds are actually required. In these states, if your reasons don't measure up, you won't be allowed to proceed with the recall.

Get signatures. You'll need a petition to get a recall election. The number of signatures is usually a percentage of the voters at the last election but this differs by state.

Prepare for a response. At some point during the process, the senator will be notified that a petition for recall is being circulated. She will then have a chance to respond to the allegations.

Get voters to the recall election. Once the recall election is granted, alert the community and get them out to vote. The ballot will ask whether or not the senator should be recalled and the state may hold an election at the same time to elect the next person for that office.

Tips

  • 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.

Warning

  • 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.

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