An Illinois lawmaker said on Tuesday he has started the process of pushing to recall Governor J.B. Pritzker. Republican State Representative Allen Skillicorn of Crystal Lake said in a press release Tuesday that his decision came because of “continued inaction” by the governor’s office to fix the Illinois unemployment claims issue, and the Illinois Department of Employment Security website.
Skillicorn listed a detailed timeline of issues and grievances with the governor’s office in a press release to the Illinois press on Tuesday. Skillicorn says that the governor has had “ample time” to fix the issue and that the “incompetence can’t continue.”
According to Article III, Section 7, of the Illinois Constitution, a recall of the governor can be proposed if a petition gets a number of signatures equal to at least 15% of the total votes cast for governor in the previous election, from at least 25 different counties. Additionally, an affidavit must be signed by 20 or more state House members and 10 or more state Senators. No more than half of the signatures in each chamber can be from a single political party.
Skillicorn will have to file the petition with the State Board of Elections if he collects the minimum number of signatures. If the board certifies the petition, a special election would then be held for Illinois, asking voters if Pritzker should be removed from office.
Pritzker responded to the issue in his daily COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday saying that IDES couldn’t have possibly anticipated the record number of unemployment claims during the pandemic. Pritzker says that a lot of adaptation had to be improvised: “You’re building the plane while trying to fly it, and you’re trying to fly it while putting a million passengers on board, an almost impossible job, but one that IDES has handled as best it could.”
No Illinois governor has ever been voted out of office by a recall election, and it’s only happened twice in the nation’s history. In 1921, Governor Lynn Frazier of North Dakota was recalled over issues surrounding state-owned industries; and in 2003 Governor Gray Davis of California was recalled over the state’s budget. Additionally, in 1988 a recall election was approved in Arizona for Governor Evan Mecham but he was impeached and convicted before the issue made the ballot.
Illinois passed recall election procedures via referendum in November 2010 in light of former Governor Rob Blagojevich’s corruption scandal.