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Trenton Mayor Escapes Facing New Election

Flickr User Bearclau

An effort to recall the mayor of Trenton has fallen short.

The “Committee to Recall Tony Mack” says it collected about 8,500 signatures calling for a new mayoral election. They needed over 9,800, equal to one forth of the city’s registered voters. By many measures, Mack’s administration has been a disaster. Gangs have taken hold of many sections of the City and each week seems to bring a new scandal for his administration.

What this failed recall effort ultimately shows is how hard it is for ordinary citizens to effect change. In 1993, legislators enacted a uniform recall law for all public officials. What they did — some say deliberately — was make it almost impossible to collect enough signatures in a relatively short period of time to put any of their tax-payer funded jobs at risk.

The law requires organizers collect a number of signatures equal to the number of REGISTERED voters. As last weeks elections again proved, most registered voters don’t vote. A fairer way would be to set the number of signatures equal to a quarter of the number total VOTES in the last election. That would be a powerful check and balance for taxpayers to use to hold our elected officials responsible.

There have been efforts to modify the recall laws over the last 15 years, but it has little chance of success. Few elected officials support the idea of giving real power to the voters, and making it easier for you to vote them out of a job.

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