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Elected officials in Wisconsin must hold their office for at least one year before a recall is initiated, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

In Wisconsin, recall petitions must gain signatures from qualified electors equal at least a 25% of the votes cast in the most recent governor’s election within the official’s jurisdiction.

Recalled officials must run a second time to stay in office. If they lose, the winning candidates replace them, according to the Wisconsin Legislative Council.

A recall effort against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in 2020 failed to gain the necessary 670,000 signatures. The organizer, Misty Polewczynski, cited Evers’ responses to COVID-19 and unrest in Kenosha. 

In 2012, former Republican Gov. Scott Walker became the first governor to win a recall election. Only three other U.S. governors have been recalled, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who retained his seat in 2021. 


State of Wisconsin: Recall Elections

Wisconsin State Legislature: Removal of Elected Officials: Recall, Impeachment, Expulsion, and Removal

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Effort to force a recall election of Gov. Tony Evers fails to gather enough signatures

Eagleton Center on the American Governor: Recalling Governors: An Overview

Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.