Yael T. Abouhalkah

Yael T. Abouhalkah: Recall Gov. Sam Brownback? Not so fast

State law in Kansas makes it tough to recall Gov. Sam Brownback.
State law in Kansas makes it tough to recall Gov. Sam Brownback. AP

On Monday afternoon, a member of the Rotary Club of Overland Park asked me a simple question after I spoke at the group’s luncheon: Can Kansans recall or impeach embattled Gov. Sam Brownback?

It was the same question that The Hays Daily News hinted at in an editorial over the weekend, “Economic chaos,” when it criticized Brownback and indicated the Legislature needed new members: “If Kansas citizens do not have the stomach for recall proceedings, the next best alternative is to rid the Legislature of members who refuse to deny Brownback’s agenda.”

Here’s the straightforward answer: No, Kansans likely cannot recall Brownback at this time.


A good summation of how recall proceedings work can be found here.

The key points: The governor has not been convicted of a felony and, while he certainly has taken part in actions that are harming the state, he also has not been convicted of any illegal “misconduct” in office.

As Star colleague Dave Helling concisely summed up last year, it would take almost 90,000 valid voters’ signatures to even start the recall, then another 350,000 or so to get the recall before the secretary of state for a verdict on whether this was a valid issue to place on the state ballot.

Yes, that’s fellow Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

As the Rotary Club member immediately said Monday when I told him this fact, the possibility of putting a Brownback recall before Kansans is “not going to happen.”

True, there are some online petitions wanting to seek Brownback’s recall. But they have no legal standing.

Summed up: Waiting for Gov. Brownback to be ousted from office before he is scheduled to leave in January 2019?

It’s not going to happen — absent some big, big future legal problems for the governor.