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Municipal Recalls On The Rise Nationwide, California And Michigan Lead The Way

34 city council/municipal recalls initiated in US between Jan-Jun 2023, with nearly half in California and Michigan

The recalling of city council and other municipal elected officials saw a rise nationwide between 2021 and 2022, and is on track for another increase in 2023. 

Between January 1, 2023 and June 15, 2023 – a total of 166 days – Zenger News identified 34 city council/municipal recalls initiated across the United States.

By comparison, Zenger News identified 62 city council/municipal recalls initiated nationwide in 2021, and 69 city council/municipal recalls initiated nationwide in 2022.

Nearly half of all municipal recalls over the past three years have taken place in two states – California and Michigan. 

Thirty out of 62 initiated recalls nationwide identified by Zenger News in 2021 took place in California (17 recalls) and Michigan (13 recalls). In 2022, Michigan (22 recalls) and California (eight recalls) combined for 30 of 69 identified city council/municipal recalls nationwide. 

Between January 1, 2023 and June 15, 2023, Michigan accounted for 10 of the 34 city council/municipal recalls identified by Zenger News. California accounted for two of the recalls. 

In 2021, California and Michigan were the only two states nationwide to have more than three recalls, and in 2022, California and Michigan were the only two states nationally to have more than five recalls. Through the first 166 days of 2023, Michigan was the only state with more than four recalls.

With an increase in municipal recalls nationwide has come an increase in the number of states holding recalls. Another national trend in municipal recalls is an increase in the number of recalls involving more than one elected official, and a decrease in the number of recalls involving a single elected official. 

Through the first 166 days of 2023, Zenger News identified 19 recalls nationwide that included more than one municipal elected official, and 15 recalls involving a single municipal elected official. 

By comparison, Zenger News identified 27 out of 62 recalls involving more than one municipal elected official in 2021, with 35 recalls involving a single municipal elected official. 

In 2022, Zenger News identified 35 recalls involving more than one municipal election official out of 69 recalls, with 34 recalls involving a single municipal elected official. 

A Demonstration in Downtown Vancouver Canada. Between January 1, 2023 and June 15, 2023 Zenger identified 34 city council/municipal recalls initiated across the United States.  ALBERT STOYNOV/UNSPLASH

In 2021, city council/municipal recalls were initiated in 20 states, while 21 states initiated such recalls nationally in 2022. Through the first 166 days of 2023, municipal recalls were initiated in 26 states.

In 2021, Zenger News identified seven municipal recalls nationwide – three in California, two in Colorado, and one each in Kansas and Michigan – that involved mayors and/or town supervisors in addition to city council members. Zenger News identified 13 such recalls in 2022 – eight in Michigan, and one each in California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, and Oregon. 

Through the first 166 days of 2023, four recalls of mayors/town supervisors and city council members were identified by Zenger News – two in Michigan, and one each in Colorado and Texas.

Produced in association with Ballotpedia

Edited by Rachmad Imam Tarecha and Joseph Hammond

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