citizens' initiative and referendum


The Recall

Source: http://www.basiclaw.net/Principles/Direct%20democracy.htm


     The recall is the people's power to force a public official out of office. It can be found at the state (and local) level in the U.S. and at the cantonal (and local) level in Switzerland.

     As for the other instruments of direct democracy it comes in several forms:

               all public officials whether elected or not,
               all public officials except judges
               all elected public officials including judges, and
               all elected public officials except judges
          direct or indirect

     The term "direct recall petition" means a petition that leads directly to a new election. Indirect petitions only lead to a new election if they are successful, i.e., if the official in question is actually recalled at the polls.

     Besides these distinctions, there are numerous other variations. Sometimes, the recall may only be employed once during an official's term, in other cases the official gains 6 months' or 1 year's immunity against new recall attempts, and sometimes the defeat of the recall implies reelection for a new term.


The recall process resembles the "citizens' initiative" used in direct democracy.  A person or group makes a public proposal (here to dismiss a politician or elected public official) then an agreed proportion of constituents must endorse the proposal, in order that a "vote of no confidence" (leading to "recall", dismissal) be held.