Recall election roundup: Florida

Ballotpedia tracked one new recall effort against a local official in Florida from Sept. 4-10, bringing the yearly statewide total to six efforts against five officials. The most recent effort is: 

  • Henry Rosenthal recall, Islamorada, Florida (2023): Seat 4 Village Councilman Henry Rosenthal. 
    • Recall organizers accused Rosenthal of malfeasance, alleging that he asked the village’s planning director to ask the rest of the council how they planned to vote on an amendment he needed for a project to open a theater and entertainment venue in the village, which violated multiple Florida laws.
    • Rosenthal said, “One never knows what motivates people to do what they do. Ultimately, the truth will prevail.”

Of the six recall efforts this year, one has made the ballot. A recall election seeking to remove Cynthia Burton from her position as city commissioner of Crescent City was held on May 30, 2023. Burton was recalled. The Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled the recall petition as legally insufficient and the results of the election were invalidated, with Burton remaining in her position as city commissioner.

Recall efforts make the ballot if recall supporters submit the required number of signatures by a pre-approved date. Recall supporters have 30 days to collect signatures from 10% of registered voters in order to put the Rosenthal recall on the ballot. If the initial signatures are collected and deemed sufficient, Rosenthal would have to submit a statement of defense. Recall organizers would then need to collect another set of signatures equal to 15% of registered voters within 60 days. If a second set of signatures is collected and deemed sufficient, a recall election would be scheduled.

Nationwide, 338 officials are the subject of recall efforts through Sept. 10. Michigan leads the field with 124 officials targeted. Seventy-three targeted officials have made the recall ballot as of Sept. 10. Michigan leads the field with 26 officials on the ballot.

In 2022, Ballotpedia covered a total of 266 recall efforts against 448 officials in 30 states as well as Washington, D.C. Michigan led the way in officials targeted for recall with 133 in 2022. California followed with 72. From 2016 to 2021, California had the most officials targeted in five of the six years.

Looking at Florida alone, three officials were targeted in 2022. This is less than the ten-year average of four.

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