Laws governing recall in New Jersey
The recall amendment applies to all elective officers after the first year of the term for which the incumbent was elected.
The New Jersey Recall Amendment specifically authorizes the recall of members of New Jersey's U.S. Congressional delegation.
Article 1, Section 2b
The section of the New Jersey Constitution that authorizes recall says:
- "The people reserve unto themselves the power to recall, after at least one year of service, any elected official in this State or representing this State in the United States Congress. The Legislature shall enact laws to provide for such recall elections. Any such laws shall include a provision that a recall election shall be held upon petition of at least 25% of the registered voters in the electoral district of the official sought to be recalled. If legislation to implement this constitutional amendment is not enacted within one year of the adoption of the amendment, the Secretary of State shall, by regulation, implement the constitutional amendment, except that regulations adopted by the Secretary of State shall be superseded by any subsequent legislation consistent with this constitutional amendment governing recall elections. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question."
Recall of federal officialsNew Jersey Recall Amendment, enacted in 1993, explicitly authorizes the recall of members of New Jersey's congressional delegation, on January 11, 2010, Nina Mitchell Wells, the New Jersey Secretary of State, issued a "final determination" letter saying that her office was refusing to accept a Notice of Intention to Recall and its accompanying Petition in the matter of the U.S. Senator Robert Menendez recall. Wells maintains that the recall provisions in the New Jersey Constitution conflict with the U.S. Constitution.
The recall action against Robert Menendez was started by members of a Tea Party group in Sussex County, New Jersey. They sought judicial review of the determination from Nina Wells, requesting reversal of the "final determination" and an order directing the New Jersey Secretary of State to approve the Notice of Intention so the recall group can start collecting signatures.
The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division issued a motion to accelerate the appeal on January 14, 2010.
Notice of intention
A recall committee of at least three registered voters is needed to initiate recall proceedings. This process may not begin until 50 days before the completion of the incumbent's first year of the current term in office. The recall committee must notify the appropriate election official of the names and addresses of at least three members of the recall committee. The election official accepting the petition will then review the notice of intention for compliance with statutory provisions, calculate the cost of a special election, and notify committee members of the acceptance or rejection of the notice, within three business days. The election official also notifies the incumbent of the notice of intention of recall within five business and publishes a notice of the recall effort.
Upon approval of the petition, the recall committee and other registered voters in the jurisdiction of the recall election will solicit the signatures of other registered voters in that jurisdiction. The recall effort is limited to 320 days for a Governor or 160 days for other elected officials from the date of the notice of intention. The petition requires the signatures of 25% of the registered voters in the jurisdiction, as of the last general election.
The election official reviewing the petition will then certify the number of signatures and determine validity within 10 days. If the petition is accepted, the election official will schedule the recall election.
New Jersey Division of Elections
44 South Clinton Avenue, 7th Floor
P.O. Box 304
Trenton, NJ 08625-0304