Recalls? Oregonians split over reasons for giving officeholders the boot
Oregonians are split over whether policy disagreements alone are valid reasons to recall an elected official who has not been accused of misconduct.
A campaign to recall Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, with a petition that began being circulated in early July, is short on specifics, but did said that "Portland has endured years of crisis. When we needed a leader to solve problems, Ted Wheeler's inaction made our challenges worse."
A recent survey by the Oregon Value and Beliefs Centers (OBVC) found that 43% of Oregonians across the state agree that policy disagreements are sufficient to recall someone from office, compared to 41% that say that is not enough and 16% who are unsure.
Urban residents are most likely to oppose recalls without misconduct accusations at 47%. Men are more likely than women to agree that policy disagreements alone are valid reasons to recall an elected official who has not been accused of misconduct (50% vs. 36%). Oregonians ages 55 and older were significantly more likely to oppose recall based on policy disagreements (49%) compared to those 54 and younger (31%).w
A plurality of Black, indigenous and other Oregonians of color say that policy disagreements alone are sufficient grounds for a recall (48%), while white Oregonians are split equally between whether policy disagreements are (42%) or are not (42%) sufficient grounds.
Respondents were provided the open-ended opportunity to share their thoughts about recalling state and local officials in Oregon. According to the OBVC, respondents who believe that policy differences alone are an insufficient reason for a recall tended to cite elections as the preferred method for change.
"I think the recall process should be used when an elected official has done or is believed to have done something that is illegal. Just because an official disagrees with you shouldn't be reason to recall them," said a white female Marion County resident between 65 and 74.
Those who say that policy differences alone are sufficient tended to cite concerns about politicians who have policies that may not be criminal, but are harmful in some way, as well as stressing that recalls are an appropriate way to make their voices heard in the political process.
"You should be able to recall any officials for any reason — if the reason has no validity, then the recall will be defeated," said a white male Washington County resident over the age of 75.
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