No, you can't recall your congressman

I've been kind of following the stories about the recall vote of the parks commissioners in Ashland, which made me wonder if it's possible to recall a congressman? I'm not naming names, but it's accurate to say that I'm not a big fan of our current congressman.

— JoAnn, Medford

Since you're not naming names, JoAnn, neither will we, although through our great powers of inductive reasoning we're pretty sure to which congressman a Medford resident would be referring.

The answer to your question, however, is no, there is no method of recall for a member of Congress.

The website notes the following: "As to removal by recall, the United States Constitution does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as Senators, Representatives, or the President or Vice President, and thus no Member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States."

According to an article in, the drafters of the Constitution in 1787 did consider a provision for recall, but it was not included in the final version sent to the states for ratification.

That article noted: "A Congressional Research Service report cited Luther Martin of Maryland who, while speaking to the state Legislature, lamented the fact that members of Congress 'are to pay themselves, out of the treasury of the United States; and are not liable to be recalled during the period for which they are chosen.' "

Members of Congress may be removed by other members, however. Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution says "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member."

Members of the House of Representatives, of course, stand for re-election every two years, with a primary in May in Oregon. That means that, even though there is no recall provision, voters get to weigh in on the merits of their representative very regularly.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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