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Voters tired of recalls but thankful for the right

By Carrie Vick, cvick@wkbt.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 05:33:17 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2013 05:56:02 PM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -- -

City Council President Audrey Kader easily held on to her City Council seat in a recall election Tuesday night.

It's the latest in a two-year stretch full of recalls.

While the ability to recall is the public's right, some wonder if it's being used the way it should be.

Kader  took home 73 percent of the votes in last night's election, leaving her opponents in the dust.

The results show that voters didn't agree with the recall, despite organizers' ability to pull it off.   

City of La Crosse residents may agree with the idea of being able to recall a public official.

"I think it's good to have," said La Crosse resident Brooke Anderson.

But there's no question that some voters may be wearing out from two full years of recall elections in Wisconsin.

"I would be one of those people that's kind of exhausted," said La Crosse resident Linc Middleton.

"I know personally, I'm over elections in general," said Anderson.

The power to recall was made state law decades ago.

"They put it in the books on the assumption that if a person wasn't close enough to the people, they weren't responding to the public will, they didn't have to wait to the next election," said University of Wisconsin-La Crosse political science professor Joe Heim.

The law doesn't define what a person can be recalled for, which means as long as someone can collect the signatures, an election is guaranteed.

"It's always been implied that something serious must be wrong in order to go ahead with a recall. Of course, what is serious and how important something is is left to the voter, frankly," said Heim.

In City Council President Audrey Kader's case, the voters decided the recall wasn't necessary.

"I think they made  judgment, pretty strong judgment, the voters did, that it wasn't particularly warranted in this case," said Heim.

While voters may be wearing out from all the recalls, they'll put up with it in order to protect their rights.

"It's better to have and not need than need and not have," said Middleton.

"I think if someone sees that a person that we've elected isn't using the office for the way that we wanted them too, then we have the right to voice that opinion," said Anderson.

The recall petition filed for Audrey Kader had 169 valid signatures. Only 68 people voted against Kader in last night's election.

The recall election cost the city almost $2,000.

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