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Laws governing recall

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Recall news
Recalls by state
Recalls by year
Recalls by type
37 states have provisions allowing for recall of elected officials.

In 18 states, voters can recall statewide and local elected officials. Nine of these states have provisions that say that the right of recall in their state extends to recalling members of their federal congressional delegation, but it hasn't been clear whether federal courts would allow states to recall their federal politicians.[1]

In 19 states, voters can't recall statewide elected officials or state legislators, but can recall some local officials.

Recall provisions, by state

State and local (9)

State, local, and federal (9)

Local recall only (20)

The states that are listed here as having local recall may only have that option in limited situations, applying only to municipalities that have specifically adopted a recall ordinance or statute relating just to that particular municipality. States not listed here may have some local recall. In states that allow cities and counties to establish themselves as charter cities, or home rule counties, those cities and counties may adopt charters that provide for local recall, even if no other city or county in the state allows it.

No recall (13)

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Vermont

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

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
Virginia 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)

Grounds not required

States where recalls can proceed without having to fit within a prescribed set of grounds include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

External links


  1. Big Government, "The Right of Recall", February 9, 2010
  2. 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 e-mail dated January 3, 2011 from David Scanlan, the Deputy Secretary of State of New Hampshire 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."