Difference between revisions of "Laws governing recall"

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* [[Laws governing recall in New Hampshire|New Hampshire]]<ref>One New Hampshire statute says that municipalities may optionally incorporate the right of recall in municipal charters.  However, a second statute does not include recall in its list of allowable citizens powers.  As a result, according to an email dated January 3, 2011 from David Scanlan, the [[New Hampshire Secretary of State|Deputy New Hampshire Secretary of State]] to [[User:Leslie Graves|Leslie Graves]], Ballotpedia's editor, "The courts in New Hampshire have not supported recall provisions in municipal charters because they are not granted that authority in state statute."</ref>
 
* [[Laws governing recall in New Hampshire|New Hampshire]]<ref>One New Hampshire statute says that municipalities may optionally incorporate the right of recall in municipal charters.  However, a second statute does not include recall in its list of allowable citizens powers.  As a result, according to an email dated January 3, 2011 from David Scanlan, the [[New Hampshire Secretary of State|Deputy New Hampshire Secretary of State]] to [[User:Leslie Graves|Leslie Graves]], Ballotpedia's editor, "The courts in New Hampshire have not supported recall provisions in municipal charters because they are not granted that authority in state statute."</ref>
 
* [[Laws governing recall in New York|New York]]
 
* [[Laws governing recall in New York|New York]]
* [[North Carolina]]<ref>Some cities in North Carolina, such as Morganton, are known to recall provisions in their city charters.</ref>
+
* [[Laws governing recall in North Carolina|North Carolina]]<ref>Some cities in North Carolina, such as Morganton, are known to recall provisions in their city charters.</ref>
 
* [[Pennsylvania]]
 
* [[Pennsylvania]]
 
* [[South Carolina]]
 
* [[South Carolina]]

Latest revision as of 20:38, 12 September 2013

The information on this page is meant for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Those interested in initiating a recall should consult with their local authoritative bodies.


New recall logo.PNG
Historical recalls
Recall news
Recall laws
Recall portal
36 states have provisions allowing for recall of certain elected officials at the local and/or state level.

Background

Recall is a process by which citizens may remove elected officials their positions before the end of their term.[1] It should not be confused with the legislative process of removing officials called impeachment. It should also not be confused with retention elections held in some some states for members of the judiciary.

Recall election of state officials

There are provisions for recalls elections of state officers in 19 states. The process begins with a petition drive and end with an election.[2]

States that allow recall elections of state officials:

Recall trial of state officials

Virginia the has a process of recall by which a trial in the state Circuit Courts is petitioned. Virginia is the only state to use this process. Virginia laws clearly state local officials can be recalled. Whether this would apply to state level officers is unclear given ambiguous legal language and issues with the jurisdiction of the court. There is no precedent of a Virginia state legislator or governor having faced recall.[3] [2]

State officials that can be recalled

The following table indicates which elected state officials (in general) can be recalled based on state law.

State Executive Legislative Judicial[4] Provision
Alaska Approveda


Approveda


Defeatedd


"All elected public officials in the State, except judicial officers, are subject to recall..." (AK Con. Art. 11, §8)
Arizona Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"Every public officer in the state of Arizona, holding an elective office, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall..." (AZ Con. Art. 8, §1-6)
California Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"Recall is the power of the electors to remove an elective officer." (CA Con. Art. 2, §13-19)
Colorado Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"Every elective public officer of the state of Colorado may be recalled..." (CO Con. Art. 21)
Georgia Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"The General Assembly is hereby authorized to provide by general law for the recall of public officials who hold elective office..." (GA Con. Art. 2, §2.4)
Idaho Approveda


Approveda


Defeatedd


"Every public officer in the state of Idaho, excepting the judicial officers, is subject to recall..." (ID Con. Art. 6, §6)
Illinois Approveda
(Governor Only)
Defeatedd


Defeatedd


"The recall of the Governor may be proposed..." (IL Con. Art. 3, §7)
Kansas Approveda


Approveda


Defeatedd


"All elected public officials in the state, except judicial officers, shall be subject to recall by voters..." (Article 4, §3)
Louisiana Approveda


Approveda


Defeatedd


"The legislature shall provide by general law for the recall by election of any state, district, parochial, ward, or municipal official except judges of the courts of record..." (LA Con. Art. 10, §26)
Michigan Approveda


Approveda


Defeatedd


"Laws shall be enacted to provide for the recall of all elective officers except judges of courts of record..." (MI Con. Art. 2, §8)
Minnesota Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"A member of the senate or the house of representatives, an executive officer of the state identified in section 1 of article V of the constitution, or a judge of the supreme court, the court of appeals, or a district court is subject to recall from office by the voters..." (MN Con. Art. 8, §6)
Montana Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"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..." (MT Ann. Code 2-16-6)
Nevada Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"Every public officer in the State of Nevada is subject, as herein provided, to recall from office..." (NV Con. Art. 2, §9)
New Jersey Approveda


Approveda


Defeatedd


"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..." (NJ Con. Art. 1, §2(b))
North Dakota Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"Any elected official of the state, of any county or of any legislative or county commissioner district shall be subject to recall..." (ND Con. Art. 3, §10)


Oregon Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"Every public officer in Oregon is subject, as herein provided, to recall by the electors of the state or of the electoral district from which the public officer is elected..." (OR Con. Art. 2, §18)
Rhode Island Approveda


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


"The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney-general, general treasurer shall be ... subject to recall..." (RI Con. Art. 4, §1)
Virginia Too close to calltc

[5]

Too close to calltc

[5]

Defeatedd


"Upon petition, a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court..." (VA Code 24.2-233)
Washington Approveda


Approveda


Defeatedd


"Every elective public officer of the state of Washington expect [except] judges of courts of record is subject to recall..." (WA Con. Art. 1, Sec. 33-34)
Wisconsin Approveda


Approveda


Approveda


"The qualified electors of the state, of any congressional, judicial or legislative district or of any county may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective officer..." (WI Con. Art. 13, §12)

Specific provisions for state officer recalls

The following table indicates some basic information regarding laws governing recall laws on state officers.[2]

State Legal Provisions Signature Requirement[2] Petition Time[2]
Constitution Statute
Alaska Article 11, §8 Alaska Statutes §15.45 Art. 3 and §29.26 Art. 3 25% of the last votes cast for the office --
Arizona Article 8, §1-6 Arizona Revised StatutesTitle 19, Chapter 2 25% of the last votes cast for the office 120 days
California Article 2, §13-19 California Election Code Division 11 statewide officers': 12% of the last vote casts for the office (signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1% of the last vote for the office in the county)

Senate, Assembly, Board of Equalization, Courts of Appeals, and trial courts: 20% of the last votes cast for the office.

160 days
Colorado Article 21 Colorado Revised Statute Title 1, Art. 12, Part 1 and Title 31, Art. 4, Part 5 25% of the last votes cast for the office 60 days
Georgia Article 2, §2.4 Georgia Code Title 21, Chapter 4 statewide officers: 15% of eligible voters for the office at last election (1/5 from each congressional district)

Others: 30% of eligible voters for the office at last election

90 days
Idaho Article 6, §6 Idaho Statutes Title 34, Chapter 17 20% of eligible voters for the office at last election 60 days
Illinois Article 3, §7 -- 15% of the last votes cast for governor from each of at least 25 counties (plus 20 members of the House, 10 members of the Senate, no more than half for each chamber from one party) 150 days
Kansas Article 4, §3 Kansas Statutes Chapter 25, Article 43 40% of the last votes cast for the office 90 days
Louisiana Article 10, §26 Louisiana Election Code RS 18:1300.1 to 18:1300.17 33.3% of eligible voters for the office at last election (if >1,000 eligible voters)

40% of eligible voters for the office at last election (if <1,000 eligible voters)

180 days
Michigan Article 2, §8 Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 168, Michigan Election law 116-1954, Chapter XXXVI 25% of the last votes cast for the office 90 days
Minnesota Article 8, §6 Minnesota Statutes Chapter 211C 25% of the last votes cast for the office 90 days
Montana -- Montana Annotated Code Title 2, Chapter 16, Part 6 statewide officers: 10% of eligible voters for the office at last election

For district officers: 15% of eligible voters for the office at last election

3 months
Nevada Article 2, §9 Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 306, 294A.006, and 539.160 to 539.187 25% of the last votes cast for the office 60 days
New Jersey Article 1, §2(b) New Jersey Statutes Title 19:27A-1 to 19:27A-18 25% of registered voters in the district for the office Governor / U.S. Senator: 320 days

Others: 160 days

North Dakota Article 3, §1 and §10 North Dakota Chapter 16.1-01-09.1 and Chapter 44-08-21 25% of the last votes cast for the office --
Oregon Article 2, §18 Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 249.865 to 249.887 15% of all votes cast for governor in last general election in the district for the office 90 days
Rhode Island Article 4, §1 -- 15% of the last votes cast for the office 90 days
Virginia -- Virginia Code Title 24.2-233 to 24.2-238 10% of the last votes cast for the office --
Washington Article 1, Sec. 33-34 Revised Code of Washington Chapter 29A.56.110 to 29A.56.270 statewide officers: 25% of the last votes cast for the office

Others: 35% of the last votes cast for the office

Statewide officers: 270 days

Others: 180 days

Wisconsin Article 13, §12 Wis. Stat. Ann. §9.10 25% of all votes cast for governor in last general election in the district for the office 60 days

Choosing a successor

There are three general methods used to choose a successor for a position as a result of a recall election.[2]

Simultaneous Election -- The (potential) successor is chosen on the same ballot. This is used in:

Separate Special Election -- The successor is chosen in a special election following the recall election. This is used in:

Appointment -- The successor is appointed. This is used in:

Recall of local officials

At least 34 states allow for recall of local elected officials. This may only apply in limited situations in some states, which is generally listed below. Other states not listed may also have limited local recall due to home rule provisions. In those cases, the states allow cities and counties to adopt their own charters, which could then provide for local recall, even if no other city or county in the state allows it.[6]

States with provisions for recall of local officials:

Recall of federal officials

The United States Constitution does not provide for recall of any federally elected official. The option was considered during the drafting of the document in 1787, but was not included in the final version. Some states constitutions have stated the right of citizens to recall their members of congress, but whether it constitutionally legal at the federal level has not been yet been ruled upon by the United States Supreme Court. One of the closest noted legal precedent is U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, in which the Supreme Court decided that states did not have the right to impose new terms, qualifications, or conditions of service on federal officials.[7]

Some states have released opinions and rulings on recall of members of the United States Congress. Attorney generals in Arkansas (2010), Louisiana (2009), Kansas (1994), Nevada (1978), and Oregon (1935) all gave opinions against recall of federal officials. The Attorney General of Wisconsin in 1979 give an opinion that state administration could not reject a petition for recall of a member of congress. The Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled against federal recall in 2010. That same year the Supreme Court of North Dakota upheld an opinion by the Attorney General of the state against recall of federal officials. Michigan courts stopped a recall petition against a member of Congress in 2007. And, a federal court in 1967 dismissed a case from Idaho where petitioners hoped to force the state to accept petitions seeking recall of a Senator.[7]

States with no recall provisions

States with no known recall provisions are as follows:

Whether grounds are required

In some states that allow recall, a recall can only occur under certain circumstances. An example of this is Georgia, where an elected official may only be recalled under the circumstances of "an act of malfeasance or misconduct while in office, violation of the oath of office, failure to perform duties prescribed by law, or willfully misusing, converting, or misappropriating, without authority, public property or public funds entrusted to or associated with the elective office to which the official has been elected or appointed."

In other states, recalls may proceed without having to fit within a prescribed set of grounds.

Grounds required

Legend:
State and local recall
Local recall only

States that allow recall elections only if they fit within certain prescribed grounds include:

State Allowable grounds for a recall
Alaska Lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties or corruption (AS §15.45.510)
Florida Malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, and conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude. (Fla. Stat. Ann §100.361)
Georgia Act of malfeasance or misconduct while in office; violation of oath of office; failure to perform duties prescribed by law; willfully misused, converted, or misappropriated, without authority, public property or public funds entrusted to or associated with the elective office to which the official has been elected or appointed. Discretionary performance of a lawful act or a prescribed duty shall not constitute a ground for recall of an elected public official. (Ga. Code §21-4-3(7) and 21-4-4(c))
Kansas Conviction for a felony, misconduct in office, incompetence, or failure to perform duties prescribed by law. No recall submitted to the voters shall be held void because of the insufficiency of the grounds, application, or petition by which the submission was procured. (KS Stat. §25-4302)
Minnesota Serious malfeasance or nonfeasance during the term of office in the performance of the duties of the office or conviction during the term of office of a serious crime (Article VIII, §6, Minnesota Constitution)
Missouri Misconduct in office, incompetence, and failure to perform duties prescribed by law. (Missouri Revised Statutes Section 77.650)
Montana Physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, conviction of certain felony offenses (enumerated in Title 45). No person may be recalled for performing a mandatory duty of the office he holds or for not performing any act that, if performed, would subject him to prosecution for official misconduct. (Mont. Code §2-16-603)
New Mexico Malfeasance or misfeasance in office or violation of the oath of office during the official’s current term. (Article X, §6 (county officers) and Article XII, §14 (school board members) of the New Mexico Constitution. Note: Recall of elective officers in commission-manager municipalities does not require grounds.)
Rhode Island Authorized in the case of a general officer who has been indicted or informed against for a felony, convicted of a misdemeanor, or against whom a finding of probable cause of violation of the code of ethics has been made by the ethics commission (Article IV, §1, Rhode Island Constitution)
South Dakota Misconduct, malfeasance, nonfeasance, crimes in office, drunkenness, gross incompetency, corruption, theft, oppression, or gross partiality. (SDCL §9-13-30)
Virginia[5] Neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office, or upon conviction of a drug-related misdemeanor or a misdemeanor involving a "hate crime" (§24.2-233)
Washington Commission of some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or who has violation of oath of office (Article I, §33, Washington State Constitution)

External links

State:

Local:

Federal:

Additional reading

References

  1. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, "Referenda and Recall: Letting the People Decide," Accessed: July 16, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 National Conference of State Legislatures, "Recall of State Officials," Last updated June 6, 2012
  3. Code of Virginia, "§ 24.2-233," Accessed: July 17, 2013
  4. Additional information on removal of judges can be found at: American Judicature Society, "Methods of Judicial Selection: Removal of Judges"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 It is unclear whether Virginia's recall provisions would apply to state level officer.
  6. National Conference of State Legislatures, "Recall of Local Officials," February 28, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 Congressional Research Service, "Recall of Legislators and the Removal of Members of Congress from Office," January 5, 2012
  8. One New Hampshire statute says that municipalities may optionally incorporate the right of recall in municipal charters. However, a second statute does not include recall in its list of allowable citizens powers. As a result, according to an email dated January 3, 2011 from David Scanlan, the Deputy New Hampshire Secretary of State to Leslie Graves, Ballotpedia's editor, "The courts in New Hampshire have not supported recall provisions in municipal charters because they are not granted that authority in state statute."
  9. Some cities in North Carolina, such as Morganton, are known to recall provisions in their city charters.