Recall elections have been around in Washington since the early 1900s, devised as a way to hold politicians accountable and put more power in the hands of the people. But in recent years, it’s become more of a political cudgel used by an increasingly divided populous.
As for what’s driving this movement, Washington State University political science professor Cornell Clayton believes there are a few factors at play.
“One, of course, is the pandemic, and the government’s response in terms of lockdown measures, mask mandates, closing schools,” he told MyNorthwest. “That’s obviously produced some pushback, as people have challenged officials who are enforcing or not enforcing those restrictions.”
So, where does that leave Washington now? There’s little indication that the frequency of recall petitions will slow any time soon, despite the fact that those efforts have a low likelihood of succeeding. But if the state is going to move forward together, its voters will likely need to find a way to bridge a political divide that’s opened across the country.