The Daily Brew: 164 recall efforts so far in 2021, the most since 2016

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 15, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 164 recall efforts so far in 2021, the most since 2016
  2. Ballot measures certification update
  3. Special elections happening today

164 recall efforts so far in 2021, the most since 2016

Ballotpedia has published our eighth mid-year recall report. In the first half of 2021, we tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This is the most recall efforts we’ve tracked through this point in the year since 2016, when we tracked 189 efforts against 265 officials. 

Here are some key findings from our 2021 report:

  • Forty-eight percent of officials facing recall petitions were school board members, the highest share for that group of officials since 2015. From June 2016 to June 2020, school board members accounted for 15% to 27% of officials named in recall efforts. City council members—the officials who drew the most efforts from 2016 to 2020—account for 25% of officials facing recall efforts in 2021. 
  • California had the most officials facing recall elections of any state (78) for the fifth time in the past six years. However, Alaska had the most recalls per 100,000 residents with 0.55. By that metric, California had the 10th-most recalls with 0.11 per 100,000 residents.
  • We’ve tracked 77 recall efforts related to the coronavirus and government responses in 2020 and 2021, part of 395 total efforts from 2020 to 2021.

One-hundred-four of the 164 recall efforts we’ve tracked so far have been resolved. Of the 104, 77 did not make the ballot, 12 were defeated, and nine resulted in officials being removed from office. In addition, six targeted officials resigned.

Several of the most notable recall efforts are those against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem (R), Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and six of the nine school board members in Virginia’s Loudoun County school district.

You can browse the full report at the link below.

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Ballot measures certification update

Our Ballots team has been hard at work tracking the statewide ballot measures certified for both 2021 and 2022. Since we’re at the halfway point through the year, I wanted to provide you with a quick update on how the landscape is shaping up.


  • As of June 13, 28 statewide ballot measures are certified for the 2021 ballot in seven states.
    • 15 measures are certified for the Nov. 2 ballot.
    • 2 measures are certified for the Oct. 9 ballot.
    • 4 measures were on the ballot on May 18 in Pennsylvania. They were approved.
    • 7 bond measures were on the ballot on March 2 in Rhode Island. They were approved.


  • Fifty-four statewide ballot measures are certified for the 2022 ballot in 26 states.
    • 44 measures are legislatively referred amendments
    • 4 are ballot initiatives
    • 1 is a veto referendum
    • 5 are legislatively referred state statutes

Here are some quick stats on where things stood with ballot measures by the second week of June in past years.

  • In odd-numbered years from 2011 through 2019, an average of 16 measures had been certified for that year’s ballot. An average of 31 were certified by the end of the year.
  • In even-numbered years from 2012 through 2020, an average of 37 measures had been certified for the ballot. An average of 173 measures were ultimately certified for even-year ballots during those years. 

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Special elections happening today

Georgia and Wisconsin are holding state legislative special elections today, June 15. Here’s a rundown:

  • Georgia House of Representatives
    • District 34: The seat became vacant on April 30 after Bert Reeves (R) resigned to become Georgia Institute of Technology’s vice president of university relations. Five candidates (two Democrats, two Republicans, and one Libertarian) are running in the general election.
    • District 156: The seat became vacant on April 13 after Greg Morris (R) resigned to join the Georgia Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Board. One Democrat and two Republicans are running in the general election.
  • Wisconsin State Assembly District 37: The seat became vacant on April 23, 2021, after John Jagler (R) was sworn into the Wisconsin State Senate. He won a special election for state Senate District 13 on April 6 of the same year. Eight candidates are running in the Republican primary.

Keep reading