An Illinois recall would come with many hurdles

Jun 6, 2012

The recall election which Wisconsin's Republican governor survived Tuesday is a rare occurrence in the United States. Not even half the states have such a process.

Illinois only recently approved procedures to recall a sitting governor, but observers say it wouldn't be easy to do. 

Illinois didn't have a way for voters to remove the governor until a change to the state constitution in 2010, according to  Ron Michaelson, former director of the State Board of Elections. 

“Difficulties with Gov. Blagojevich prompted the legislature finally to pass a recall law which affects the office of governor of Illinois" he said. "Obviously, it's never been used.”

Michaelson says Illinois’ recall process is burdensome. Roughly half a million signatures would have to be collected.  And they would have to be from voters representing at least 25 counties. 

"It's a fairly difficult procedure," he said, "but it does -- finally for the very first time -- move Illinois into that body of states that are a little more progressive in terms of adopting these kinds of ballot measures."

In addition, 30 legislators would have to give their approval.  And they can't all be from the same party.

Critics say those thresholds are so high, it would be nearly impossible for a sitting Illinois governor to be put in Walker's situation.