Can Pennsylvania Recall Gov. Tom Corbett?

"See what happens when you literally mess with a giant?"

"Dance, puppets, dance!"

In light of Gov. Corbett’s budget address yesterday, in which he most prominently stripped more money away from higher education—30 percent cut for Temple University and a 28 percent reduction for Penn State, among others—a Facebook page titled, “Recall Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett,” began getting hit on and “talked about” throughout the social networking community. A quick search for “Recall Tom Corbett” brings up five Facebook groups. A Google search brings up a hell of a lot more, including a petition. The point of such online materials is to hold a recall election, using a democratic vote to pull Gov. Corbett from office before he’s able to smash any more of our hopes and dreams.

But is that something we, as Pennsylvanians, can actually do? No. Sorry.

Recall elections are a process in which supporters gather enough signatures to put a current politician back on the ballot for a future election day, and voters can vote to strip him from office. Currently, only Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Rhode Island, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota and New Jersey allow recall elections. And there have only been two successful recall elections of governors in the history of the United States—one of which eventually gave the world “The Governator.” Three-quarters of U.S. recall elections are held at the City Council and school board levels. Unlike impeachment, recall is not a legal process—it is literally a matter of public opinion.

Pennsylvania only allows recall elections at the local levels, right now (although this is debatable). Want to change that? Get it done at the state level? You need a legislative initiative in the state government. Good luck.

In some states, petitioners seeking the recall have to identify some sort of misconduct on behalf of the elected official while in office in order to even begin the process. In others, you need nothing. The number of signatures required varies from state-to-state but is often based upon the number of voters in the last election.

Last year saw an unprecedented number of recall elections, when a large portion two of eight Republican Wisconsin legislative spots up for recall were yanked in light of that state’s radical anti-union agenda pushed by Gov. Scott Walker, who is also up for a recall.

10 Responses to “ Can Pennsylvania Recall Gov. Tom Corbett? ”

  1. Joe says:

    If there’s any law you can think of that actually helps people deal with something shitty, you can be guaranteed PA doesn’t have it.

  2. JCS says:

    1. Recall elections are not legal for any office in Pennsylvania. Though the wording may still be in some home rule charters, it was found to be unconstitutional by the PA Supreme Court in the 1977 Citizens Committee to Recall Rizzo case.

    2. Regarding Wisconsin, I wouldn’t characterize the successful recall of 2 GOP Senators (one of whom had a sex scandal and the other had represented an overwhelmingly Dem district) out of 33 senators as “a large portion”, especially when the GOP retained control.

  3. Randy LoBasso says:

    Hey JCS:

    Thanks for the heads up. The law is, indeed, still in many home rule charters. And as for Wisconsin, the writing there was obviously unclear but meant in a “they needed three, they got two” sense. I’ve made a couple changed to the blog for the sake of clarity.


  4. [...] to extracurricular activities Philly’s presence known at capitol budget protests Can PA recall Gov. Corbett? Daily Grinder: On Rick Santorum and Tom Corbett [...]

  5. Larry W says:

    What JCS said.

    I ran in 2007 partly under the issue of trying to make recall elections legal once more in this state, and we really need them. A large part of the reason Philly has become such a cesspool of corruption is because this important check of balance is gone.

  6. Devon Grubb says:

    We can`t recall Governor Corbett, but we can have him impeached. So please sign the growing petition using the following link Thank you and please pass this link on to your friends and family who live in PA

  7. Robert S. says:

    I do advocacy for people with disabilities, their support services and funding are being demolished by Tom Corbett and his cronies. It would be great to recall him, or better yet, impeach him. If that doesen’t work embarassing him as the unempathetic, intolerant,and anti-intellectual person that he is would be gratifying.

    He is vulnerable on “what he knew and when he knew it in the Penn State child sex abuse case and why he didn’t move faster as Attorney General to bring it out in the open”. Those children of lower socio-economic baskground were sacrificed for greed and Corbett’s political career. He should lose his job for that, as well as, his treatment of our states most vulnerable people!

  8. Juno says:

    Corbett covered up the Penn State scandal for which he should step down. This is what we can use to force him out to save Pennsylvania’s hopes and dreams. The facts will show that Corbett and his grand jury withheld information so he could get contributions and endorcements for his election to Governor. Let us make public his multi-year silence about child abuse for his selfish ambition. If and when it comes out that abuse continued during Corbett’s cover-up he will be forced to step down.

  9. Jeanne Andrews says:

    Please read Annette John Hall’s article in today’s Inquirer (”Those of privilege get pass after pass”) and please write, email or call her to encourage more articles like this on our current Governor. Where is the outrage?????

  10. Rice-er-Roni says:

    The Corporation shall now rule the earth. Working Man is weak and shall be subjugated to the needs of The Corporation. This has begun. The installation of Governor is phase 1 of enslavement of Working Man into the service of The Corporation. This is necessary to maintain the natural order, as God intended, of The Corporation’s domination of Working Man.

    Soon, God willing, Working Man shall no longer need retirement, health care or proper housing. Working Man shall no longer require downtime or love. Working Man shall provide labor and future workers to the glory of The Corporation.

    All hail The Corporation. All hail Governor. All hail the glory of Allah, God, Yesheva and Jesus Christ. All hail the grand and glorious GOP.

    Phase II, the elimination of Government will commence shortly.

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