Laws governing recall in Florida
Florida's recall law says that the law is applicable to Florida's charter counties, regardless of whether the county has specifically included a charter provision in its county charter governing recall. Florida has 67 counties, and as of 2013, 20 of these counties were charter counties. The counties that are charter counties are: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, Volusia and Wakulla.
Who may be recalled?
According to Fla. Stat. Ann §100.36(1), "Any member of the governing body of a municipality or charter county, hereinafter referred to in this section as “municipality,” may be removed from office by the electors of the municipality."
Features of the law
A recall cannot begin until the targeted official has served at least one-fourth of his or her term in office.
Grounds must be given
Grounds for the recall must be provided. There are 7 allowable grounds. They are "malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, and conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude."
Initial signature requirement
- See also: Florida signature requirements
- From the time that the recall petition is approved for circulation, signatures must be collected within 30 days.
- Once signatures are collected, the designated chair of the recall committee that collected the signatures must present them to "the auditor or clerk of the municipality or charter county, or his or her equivalent."
- The clerk who received the signatures must then "immediately" convey the signatures to the Supervisor of Elections for the county within which the recall is taking place. The Supervisor of Elections must then proceed to inspect the signatures; a process that is by the relevant statute confined to 30 days.
- The group seeking the recall must pay to the county's supervisor of elections in advance "...the sum of 10 cents for each signature checked or the actual cost of checking such signatures, whichever is less."
The signature requirement varies based on the number of registered voters in the jurisdiction.
|Number of registered voters in jurisdiction||Signature requirement|
|Fewer than 500||50 registered voters, or 10%|
|500-1,999||100 registered voters, or 10%, whichever is greater|
|2,000-4,999||250 registered voters, or 10%, whichever is greater|
|5,000-9,999||500 registered voters, or 10%, whichever is greater|
|10,000-24,999||1,000 registered voters, or 10%, whichever is greater|
|25,000 or more||1,000 registered voters, or 5%, whichever is greater|
Statement of defense
If the county supervisor of elections determines that sufficient signatures have been filed to force a recall election, he or she must provide a written statement to that effect to the clerk of the relevant jurisdiction. That clerk must then "...at once serve upon the person sought to be recalled a certified copy of the petition. Within 5 days after service, the person sought to be recalled may file with the clerk a defensive statement of not more than 200 words."
Once the five days have elapsed, the clerk must then prepare a form called the "Recall Petition and Defense", which includes the defense statement from the recall target (but only if the recall target provides such a defense statement). The "Recall Petition and Defense" is then presented by the clerk to the recall committee.
Second set of signatures
After receiving the "Recall Petition and Defense", the recall committee must then collect more signatures, equalling "15% of the electors" in the relevant jurisdiction within 60 days after the time that the "Recall Petition and Defense" was delivered by the jurisdiction's clerk to the chair of the recall committee.
Once collected, the second set of signatures are given to the county's supervisor of elections, along with 10 cents for each name to be checked.
The supervisor of elections must inspect the second set of signatures within 30 days.
Date of recall election
If it is determined that sufficient signatures were filed to force a recall election, the recall target is given 5 days to provide a written resignation. If the recall target chooses not to resign at this point, "...the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the municipality is located shall fix a day for holding a recall election." The date for the recall election must be "not less than 30 days or more than 60 days after the expiration of the 5-day period" given to the recall target for tendering his or her resignation.
- Text of Fla. Stat. Ann §100.361
- December 19, 1989 opinion of the Florida Division of Elections regarding the correct interpretation of Fla. Stat. Ann §100.361