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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions July 24, 2014

4/18/2013 10:04:00 PM
Editorial: Senate comes to senses on recalls

Elections are at the core of our republic, but a bill that seemed on its way to Gov. Jan Brewer would have given incumbents a huge advantage in them.

Two election overhauls - passed by the House in March and by the Senate earlier this week - aimed to protect ambitious incumbents while also creating new hurdles for voters looking to give unpopular politicians the boot.

One measure would have added a primary to all voter-initiated recall elections and ensured the incumbent advanced to the general election regardless of the primary outcome. That means rivals from the same political party would have to beat the incumbent twice to win office.

Ironically, this would have come as the state is working to consolidate elections in the fall.

The other measure sought to make it easier for elected officials to launch campaigns for another office without triggering the state's "Resign to Run" law. Senate President Andy Biggs said of the "Resign to Run" measure, "I might have called it 'The Transparency and Intention' bill."


Thankfully, the Senate struck down the legislation in a rare move that saw Republicans join Democrats. The 10-18 vote Thursday saw seven Republicans cross the aisle to defeat the bill.

"The rest of us go out there and we run in primaries, which are doggone tough, and then we get to go run in generals, which are doggone tough," Republican Sen. Steve Yarbrough said. "So that's how people get elected if they have opponents in primaries."

Yes, and getting elected is not meant to be easy.

Recalls are a decades-old process. Critics say recalls are too easy to accomplish. They add that the legislation would help prevent the ouster of elected officials who are targeted only because of their party affiliation.

Sadly, recalls - while divisive - were intended to provide citizens with remedy. If they do not like how an elected official is doing his/her job, there has to be a fair way to remove them.

Recalls arguably are easier for voters to accomplish on a local level. In bigger races they already are harder to accomplish, even based only on the number of signatures required.

Both of these measures will make it even more difficult for voters to have the opportunity to hold lawmakers accountable.

As for the "Resign to Run" law, voters approved it in 1980 to ensure officials serve without the distraction of campaigning for other offices.

Kudos to the lawmakers who shot this bill down.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Article comment by: The fact

they even attempted to pass this garbage says tons about their intentions. Keep an eye out for this bunch, they're up to no good.

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Article comment by: Yukon Jack

@ Tie me...

Yes you are correct in pointing out that the Senate is one of the houses in Congress. I'm sure you would agree that when talking about the Legislative, generally speaking members are referred to as Senators or Congressmen.

I also agree that it's long past time for Sen. McCain's retirement but that's our choice, collectively.

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Article comment by: Tie Me To The Length Of That

I guess the Courier comment censor did not like the entire last sentence that I had written as they have decided to edit it. They could have at least edited it properly. The censor should have left the words ‘yet again’ as the last two words and then censored the remaining words if they felt it necessary to do so.

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Article comment by: Tie Me To The Length Of That

@ Yukon Jack

Senators are members of Congress. Congress is comprised of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

As for John McCain, let's hope he does not run for office.

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013
Article comment by: Yukon Jack

Tom Tom Tom, There is no provision to recall members of Congress or the Senate. That's why it hasn't been done. You'd have to amend the Constitution to do that. Otherwise the Constitution sets the terms and qualifications for serving.

For someone who claims to be an expert on American politics, you fail a LOT.

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

A recall is called for in our Senator Juan McCain. This RINO is an embarrassment to the State and to Republicans. Hopefully there will be a campaign mounted soon.

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