Recalling an elected official in Oklahoma

Tuesday, October 7th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

If Oklahoma voters turned against a politician - there is a way to boot them out of the office. But it's not always in the hands of the people - and when it is, it's not as easy as in California.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story. He’s our Governor, Brad Henry - and like him or not we'll keep him. Oklahoma law doesn't allow for the recall of elected state officials. He could be "ousted", a procedure the Attorney General handles for neglect of duty, public intoxication or a criminal conviction.

On the city level - recalls are possible, for all elected officials - including the mayor and city council. If someone wanted to recall the mayor, the process starts with a recall petition with 5% of voters signing on. The city requires a supporting petition be filed with 25% of voters agreeing to the recall. That triggers a recall election - where a simple majority could throw the mayor out of office. So we can't recall the governor, but we could recall the mayor.

So the question becomes if he was recalled - who should replace him? California has a deep pool of actors to choose from when they make a change. Tulsa has country music stars, so we chose 7 for a straw poll downtown. Man: "Boy it's a hard one, Roy Clark would be a good mayor, but I'm going to go with Garth Brooks, he's such a nice guy." Our voters went the popular route. Woman: "Definitely Garth. Garth all the way."

In our hypothetical, unscientific poll - Garth Brooks won by a landslide. He could be mayor - but who would want to? Even if you're elected - someone might decide to terminate you.

Even though the recall option is available in Tulsa - it's never been used.