Laws governing recall in the District of Columbia

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The District of Columbia laws governing recall pertain to all local officials, including citywide and ward-level offices, as determined by the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall Procedures Act of 1979. A recall petition may not be filed during the targeted official's first or last year of their term in office.[1]

Washington, D.C. recall law does not pertain to elected federal officials, such as the district's delegate to the United States Congress. Compared to Washington, D.C.:

  • Nineteen states, or 38% of all states, allow for the recall of elected state officials. Washington D.C. is not a state.
  • Thirty-four states and Washington D.C., or 68% of all states plus D.C., allow for the recall of elected local officials.
  • Fourteen states, or 28% of all states, do not provide for recall of any elected officials.

Application

Who

Any elected official may be recalled, except the district's delegate to congress.[1]

Procedures

Prerequisites

Term length

A recall petition may not be filed against any official who is in their first 365 days or last 365 days of a given term in office.[1]

Reasons for recall

See also: Requirements for recall

The “Notice of Intention to Recall” must state the reasons for the proposed recall in 200 words. No specific reason has to be given in order to propose a recall.[1] Washington D.C. is not one of 12 states that requires specific reasons for a recall.[1]

Notice of Intention to Recall

The recall process begins when a registered voter files a "Notice of Intention to Recall." This document must state the reasons for the proposed recall in no more than 200 words. A "Notice of Intention to Recall" may not be filed during the first or last year of an elected official's term. The targeted official has 10 days to respond to the "Notice of Intention to Recall." After 10 days have passed, the recall petition can begin to be circulated. The Board of Elections and Ethics must approve the petition before it is circulated and the petition must include the recall proponent's notice as well as the elected official's response.[1]

Signature requirements

Recall organizers have 180 days to submit signatures. The 180 days begin on the day that the elected official submits his or her response to the "Notice of Intention to Recall."

Valid signatures from 10% of the registered voters in the elected official's district are required to force a recall election. For citywide recalls, a ward distribution requirement necessitates the collection of signatures from at least 10% of the voters in at least five of the city's eight election wards, in addition to meeting the 10% citywide requirement.[1]

Petition filing and verification phase

The Board of Elections determines if petition signers are registered voters of the District of Columbia. A random sampling of signatures is verified against the signatory's voter registration record. The Board of Elections has 30 days to complete the signature verification process. Recall proponents and representatives of the targeted official may legally watch the petition verification process.[1]

Recall elections

If the Board of Elections certifies the recall petition, a recall election will be scheduled within 114 days.

The question on the recall election ballot will ask voters whether or not they would like to recall the targeted official. A simple majority is required to recall an official.

Special elections

If the official is recalled, then a special election will be scheduled to fill the vacant office. The special election is held the first Tuesday occurring 114 days after certification of the recall election results. The recalled official may legally choose to enter the special election as a candidate.[1]

Contact information

DC Board of Elections and Ethics
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 250 North
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 727-2525 | TTY: (202) 639-8916 | Tollfree: 1-866-DC-VOTES

See also

External links

References