A petition to recall and remove Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has doubled its support in 6 days, amassing more than 70,000 signatures, as the sunshine state battles its highest daily COVID-19 cases on record.
On August 16, Florida recorded 56,036 new cases of COVID-19 as the Delta variant surged across the state.
According to CDC data, there were 13,703 people hospitalized in the state on average daily between August 8 and August 14, a 13 percent increase from the previous seven days.
The virus is rising among the young too and Florida has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infected kids in the country. According to data from the Covkid project, which monitors the virus in children, Florida has a rate of 10,098 cases per 100,000 children.
DeSantis has come under fire for not implementing tougher restrictions to quell the virus, including prohibiting schools from being able to implement mask mandates.
The petition to recall him, which was started by Cameron White, had 70,526 signatures by Saturday morning. It 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 also 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.”
Newsweek has contacted White and DeSantis’s office for comment.
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.