2022 sees second-highest level of recall activity since Ballotpedia began tracking

In 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 247 recall efforts against 414 officials. This is the second-highest number of recall efforts since Ballotpedia began tracking this statistic in 2014. Only 2021 had more recall activity—with 357 recall efforts against 545 officials.

Michigan was the state with the most officials facing recall efforts for the second time since Ballotpedia began tracking this figure. Michigan saw 125 officials subject to a recall campaign, surpassing California, which had 68 officials subject to recall. From 2016 to 2021, California had the most officials subject to recall in five of the six years.

City council members drew more recall petitions than any other type of officeholder in 2022. City council members took the top spot from 2016 until 2021, when school board members were most likely to face a recall campaign.

Since 2020, Ballotpedia has tracked recalls related to government responses to the pandemic. Ballotpedia identified 34 such campaigns this year, or about 14% of recall efforts. This represents a decline from 2020 and 2021, when 37% of the recall efforts Ballotpedia tracked were related to the pandemic.

Notable recalls across 2022 included the following:

  • An effort to recall George Gascón from his position as the Los Angeles County District Attorney did not qualify for the ballot, after organizers fell short of submitting the 566,857 signatures that were required for an election to be scheduled. Recall supporters criticized Gascón for his policies towards recidivist violent offenders and reduced sentences for committers of certain violent crimes.
  • Recall organizers filed a notice of intent to recall Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León in October 2022. The petition cited de León’s participation in an October 2021 meeting in which, according to organizers, de León made racist comments about Councilman Mike Bonin’s son. De León apologized for his participation in the meeting but said he would not resign.
  • Organizers initiated an attempt to recall Colorado state Sen. Kevin Priola (D), after he switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic in August 2022. Proponents of the recall effort criticized Priola over his support of a gas tax and legislation that would provide safe injection sites for drug users. They did not mention the party switch in the recall petition.
  • An effort to recall three of the seven members of the Salem-Keizer Public Schools school board in Oregon did not qualify for the ballot after organizers did not turn in the required number of signatures by the November 2022 deadline. The effort began after the school board voted 4-3 to approve a resolution prohibiting concealed guns on school property.

    Editor’s note: a previous version of this story erroneously reported that Michigan saw 123 officials subject to a recall campaign. It has been corrected to reflect that 125 officials in Michigan were subject to a recall campaign.