This article highlights the weaknesses of the electoral recall mechanisms in California and the way in which the Washington recall process has avoided such weaknesses. Part II provides general background information on the development of recall mechanisms. Part III explores how the United States Supreme Court has ruled on recall attempts and the specific guidance the Court has provided for states in developing adequately protective recall processes. Part IV analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the California recall provisions by examining the recall-related opinions of California courts and the complexities of Governor Davis's recall. Part V provides a solution to the California dilemma by exploring an alternative form of recall established in Washington, examines both the constitutional and statutory provisions of Washington's recall mechanism, and analyzes Washington courts' interpretation of these provisions. After comparing the two recall regimes, Part V argues that the Washington mechanism is superior to California's process. Finally, Part VI urges California legislators to promote the true purposes of recall by ensuring government accountability and public participation while minimizing the risks of hindering the government functioning that such harassment of elected officials tends to elicit.
Joshua Osborne-Klein, Electoral Recall in Washington State and California: California Needs Stricter Standards to Protect Elected Officials from Harassment, 28 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 145 (2004).