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Laws governing recall in Montana

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The citizens of Montana are granted the authority to recall politicians by the Montana Recall Act. All state officials in Montana are subject to recall.

Montana is one of nine states with provisions that say that the right of recall extends to recalling members of its federal congressional delegation, but it hasn't been made clear whether federal courts would allow states to actually recall their federal politicians.[1]

Officers subject to recall

Below is the Montana Code Annotated which outlines which officers are subject to recall. For definitions of terms used in the state recall act, click here.

Montana Code Annotated:

§ 2-16-603

(1) Any person holding a public office of the state or any of its political subdivisions, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall from office.

(2) A public officer holding an elective office may be recalled by the qualified electors entitled to vote for the elective officer's successor. A public officer holding an appointive office may be recalled by the qualified electors entitled to vote for the successor or successors of the elective officer or officers who have the authority to appoint a person to that position.

(3) Physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense enumerated in Title 45 are the only grounds for recall. A person may not be recalled for performing a mandatory duty of the office that the person holds or for not performing any act that, if performed, would subject the person to prosecution for official misconduct. History: En. Sec. 2, I.M. No. 73, approved November 2, 1976; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 364, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 59-612; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 398, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 109, Ch. 61, L. 2007.

Signature requirements

Main article: Montana signature requirements

Montana has the lowest percentage of signatures required for recalling elected officials in the country. It is only ten percent of voters who voted in the last general election for a statewide official and 15 percent of voters for a district official.

Process

The process to recall an official in Montana begins with filing a petition with the Montana Secretary of State or the county election administrator and stating the reason for the official being recalled. The only reasons that an official in Montana may be recalled for are physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense. Once the signatures have been gathered they are sent to the Montana Secretary of State or the county election administrator for approval. The task of actually approving the signatures is done by the county clerk of each county. Each county clerk has 30 days to approve of disapprove of the signatures.

Conduct of election

After the petition signatures have been verified a recall election date is. The election is done on a yes/no ballot. The ballot simply states yes the official should be recalled and no the official should not be recalled. If the majority of voters vote to recall the official the office is considered vacant and a new election must be held to fill the vacancy. If vacancy occurs within 85 days of the general election in the second year of the term (terms are for four years), the county board of commissioners appoints a successor to serve until the election.

Contact information

Montana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 202801
Helena, MT 59620-2801
(406) 444-2034
sos@mt.gov

External links

References