Why the Recall Ron DeSantis Petition is Doomed to Fail

Despite a petition to recall and remove Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gathering over 50,000 signatures by Monday, unlike other states like Alaska, California and Georgia, the Sunshine State is not able to hold such recall elections.

The petition, which was started by Cameron White, criticizes the Republican governor's stance towards COVID-19, as well DeSantis making it difficult to file for unemployment benefits.

"Governor Ron DeSantis and former governor Rick Scott have made filing for unemployment in Florida impossible. They care more about showing low unemployment numbers than they do if Floridians have enough to eat," the petition reads.

"Aside from this sad fact DeSantis waited until the last minute to issue a stay-at-home order which without a doubt caused the Coronavirus to spread much faster than necessary. The governor has also went directly against CDC guidelines and allowed churches to still have large gatherings. He is not fit to be our governor and needs to be removed as quickly as the constitution allows."

In an update on the petition on August 14, White wrote: "The Delta variant is ravaging Florida and our governor is still putting the lives of Floridians in danger and refusing to follow medical guidance. The responsible citizens of Florida must rise up and do everything in our power to remove our reckless and incompetent governor now."

Despite the petition proving popular, everyday Floridians do not have the power to recall elected officials. The U.S. states that are able to hold recall elections for elected state officials include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin, plus the District of Columbia.

Florida's recall law doesn't pertain to elected state officials, such as the governor, nor elected federal officials, such as members of the state's Congress. Some elected local officials can be recalled in the state if they were elected to a governing body of a municipality or chartered county.

Although the petition was started over a year ago, it has recently picked up steam, with thousands of people signing it in the last few days as Florida sees COVID-19 cases soar. By Monday morning, the petition had signatures 53,635 signatures.

Newsweek has contacted White and DeSantis for comment.

DeSantis has been criticized as Florida grapples with some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in the United States as the Delta variant rapidly spreads. Newsweek reported on Monday that a Florida hospital's intensive care unit is at more than 200 percent occupancy as the virus soars in the state.

On August 13, Florida reported a record number of COVID-19 cases. State health department data showed 151,415 new infections over the past week ending August 13, for an average of 21,630 cases each day.

Separately, DeSantis has been criticized by teachers, school board members and parents of schoolchildren for not allowing Florida's schools to impose mask mandates to stop the spread of the virus.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pictured in Miami on July 13, 2021. Despite a petition to recall and remove DeSantis gathering over 50,000 signatures by Monday, unlike other states like Alaska, California and Georgia, the sunshine state is not able to hold such recall elections. Joe Raedle/Getty