If you haven't read this Chicago Tribune editorial yet, don't wait now. The Tribune believes that voters should be allowed to recall a Governor...
Should Rod Blagojevich remain as governor of Illinois?
He shows no inclination to resign from office. And while the state constitution does allow for his impeachment by the Illinois House and trial by the Senate, it's doubtful legislators could bring themselves to such drastic action. So the realistic question becomes this: Given the multiple ineptitudes of Rod Blagojevich -- his reckless financial stewardship, his dictatorial antics, his penchant for creating political enemies -- should citizens create a new way to terminate a chief executive who won't, or can't, do his job?
That is, should Illinois join the 18 states that give voters -- as opposed to lawmakers -- the ballot power to remove state officials from office?
The Blagojevich experience suggests that the answer is yes, Illinois should write a recall mechanism into its constitution. Having endured the Blagojevich era, we believe voters never should have to endure another one like it. They instead should have the power to recall an inept governor.
The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a succinct summary of how a recall provision would be useful in a predicament such as Illinois': "Proponents of the recall maintain that it provides a way for citizens to retain control over elected officials who are not representing the best interests of their constituents, or who are unresponsive or incompetent. This view holds that an elected representative is an agent, a servant and not a master." (The NCSL takes no position on whether states should have recall provisions.)
This serious mechanism is rarely used. Only two U.S. governors have been recalled. North Dakotans ousted Lynn Frazier in 1921. In 2003, Californians voted to remove Gray Davis and, in a separate ballot measure, selected Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him.