Recall of Local Officials

Many states allow citizens to recall a variety of local officials, like county commissioners, mayors, or school board members. Details of these recall processes vary by state. Below is a list of state statutes and constitutional provisions governing the recall of local officials.

State

Officers Subject to Recall

Key Steps in the Recall Process

Alabama

Ala. Code §11-44-130 - 11-44-134

Municipal commissioners and mayors

No restrictions on when a recall petition may be commenced

No specific grounds are required

No time limit for gathering signatures

Registered voter must present petition to city clerk

Signature requirement is number equal to 30% of those who voted in the last election (§11-44E-168)

Alaska*

Const. Art. 11, §8

Alaska Stat. §29.26-240 et seq.

All elected public officials in the state, except judicial officers

Recall may commence after first 120 days in office.

Grounds for recall are misconduct in office, incompetence, or failure to perform prescribed duties.

Time for gathering signatures is 60 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the votes cast for that office in the last regular election.

Arizona*

Const. Art. 8

Every public officer in the state holding elective office, either by election or appointment

Recall may commence after 6 months in office.

No specific grounds are required.

Time for gathering signatures is 120 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the votes cast for that office in the last regular election.

Arkansas

Ark. Code §14-47-112,

Ark. Code §14-48-114,

Ark. Code §14-61-119,

Ark. Code §14-92-209

Mayor, member of board of directors, commissioners of suburban improvement districts (for the latter, a petition triggers a recall hearing, rather than an election)

Recall may commence after six months in office

No specific grounds are required

No time limit for gathering signatures

Signature requirement for mayors and directors is number equal to 35% of ballots cast for all candidates for the office at the preceding primary at which the officials were nominated or elected; for commissioners of suburban improvement districts requirement is number equal to 25% of the owners of realty within the district

California*

Const. Art. 2, §19

Cal. Election Code §11000 et seq.

Elective officer of a city, county, school district, community college district, or special district, or a judge of a trial or appeals court

County and city charter provisions providing for recall are not affected by state provisions.

Recall may commence after 90 days in office.  Recall may not commence if officer has six months or less left in term.

No specific grounds are required.

Time for gathering signatures is 40 to 160 days (depending upon the size of the jurisdiction).

Signature requirement varies according to the number of registered voters in the jurisdiction:  30% if registration is less than 1,000; 25% if registration is between 1,000 and 9,999; 20% if registration is between 10,000 and 49,999; 15% if registration is between 50,000 and 99,999; 10% if registration is 100,000 and above.

Colorado*

Const. Art. 21, §4

Colo. Rev. Stat. §31-4-501 et seq.

Elective officers of any county, city and county, city and town

Cities, counties and towns may provide for the manner of exercising the recall, but cannot require a petition be signed by more than 25% of the entire vote cast in the last election for the office subject to recall.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann §100.361

Any member of the governing body of a municipality or charter county

No recall may commence until official has served at least one-fourth of his term

Grounds for recall are malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, and conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude

Time for gathering signatures is 30 days

Signature requirement varies according to the number of registered voters in the jurisdiction:  50 electors or 10% of the total electors, whichever is greater, in a district of fewer than 500 electors; 100 electors or 10% of the total electors, whichever is greater, in a district of 500-1,999 electors; 250 electors or 10% of the total electors, whichever is greater, in a district of 2,000-4,999 electors; 500 electors or 10% of the total electors, whichever is greater, in a district of 5,000-9,999 electors; 1,000 electors or 10% of total electors, whichever is greater, in a district of 10,000-24,999 electors; 1,000 electors or 5% of the total electors, whichever is greater, in a district of 25,000 or more electors

Georgia*

Const. Art. 2, §2.4

Ga. Code §21-4-1 et seq.

All state and local officials who hold elective office

No recall may commence during the first or last 180 days in office.

Grounds for recall are conduct which relates to and adversely affects the administration of his or her office and adversely affects the rights and interests of the public; and act(s) of malfeasance, violation of oath of office, failure to perform duties prescribed by law willful misuse, conversion or misappropriation of public property or funds.

Time for gathering signatures is 45 days for a petition requiring 5,000 signatures or more; 30 days for a petition requiring fewer than 5,000 signatures.

Signature requirement is number equal to 30% of the electors registered and qualified to vote at the last regular election.

Idaho*

Const. Art. 6, §6

Idaho Code §34-1701 et seq.

Every public officer in the state of Idaho, excepting the judicial officers.  Specifically includes:  County officers--members of the board of county commissioners, sheriff, treasurer, assessor, prosecuting attorney, clerk of the district court, and coroner.  City officers-mayor, members of the city council.  Special district elected officers for whom recall procedure is not otherwise provided by law.

Recall may commence after 90 days in office.

No specific grounds are required.

Time for gathering signatures is 75 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 20% of the number of electors registered to vote at the last regular election at which the officer was elected.  For special district elected officers, requirement is number equal to 50% of electors who cast votes in the last election in the district.

Kansas*

Const. Art. 4, §3

Kan. Stat. Ann. §25-4301 et seq.

All elected public officials in the state, except judicial officers

Recall may not commence during first 120 or last 200 days in office.

Grounds for recall are conviction of a felony, misconduct in office or failure to perform duties prescribed by law.

Time for gathering signatures is 90 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 40% of the votes cast for the office in the last election.

Louisiana*

Const. Art. 10, §26

La. Rev. Stat. §18:1300 et seq.

Any state, district, parochial, ward, or municipal official except judges of the courts of record

Recall may not commence during last six months in office.

No specific grounds are required

Time for gathering signatures is 90 days if fewer than 1,000 eligible voters reside within the voting area, and 180 days if more than 1,000 eligible voters reside within the voting area.

Signature requirement is number equal to between 20% and 40% of the electors of the voting area, depending on how many eligible voters within the voting area.

Maine

Maine Rev. Stat. title 30-A §2505

State law provides for recall of any elected official of a municipality. Individual municipalities’ charters or ordinances may provide otherwise

Recall may commence at any time.

Grounds for recall are conviction of a crime against the municipality that occurred during the official’s term.

Time for gathering signatures is 14 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to at least 10% of votes cast in the municipality in the last election for governor.

Michigan*

Const. Art. 2, §8

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.951 - 168.977

All elective officers except judges of courts of record

If term is less than two years, recall may not commence during first or last six months in office.

If term is more than two years, recall may not commence during first or last year in office.

No specific grounds are required

Time for gathering signatures is 60 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the persons voting in the electoral district at the time of the last election for governor

Minnesota*

Minn. Stat. Ann. §351.14 - 351.23

Any public official who is elected to countywide office or appointed to an elective countywide office, including county attorney, county sheriff, county auditor, county recorder, county treasurer, soil and water conservation supervisor, county commissioner elected or appointed from a commissioner district or a soil and water conservation district supervisor elected or appointed from a supervisor district

Recall may not be commenced in the 180 days immediately preceding a general election for the office which is held by the officer subject to the recall.

Grounds for recall are malfeasance or nonfeasance in the performance of official duties during the current or any previous term.  Prior to a recall election, there must be a public hearing to determine if the petition shows clear and convincing evidence of facts that constitute malfeasance or nonfeasance.

No time limit for gathering signatures.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the persons who voted in the last election for the office subject to recall

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. §77.650

Mo. Rev. Stat. §78.260

Any elective office in a third class city

Recall may not commence during first six months in office

Grounds for recall are misconduct in office, incompetence, and failure to perform duties prescribed by law.

Time for gathering signatures is 60 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the total registered voters in the city

Montana*

Mont. Code Ann. §2-16-601 et seq.

Every person holding a public office of the state or any of its political subdivisions, either by election or appointment

Recall may not commence during first two months in office.

Grounds for recall are physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense

Time for gathering signatures is three months.

Signature requirement for county officials is 15% of the persons registered to vote at the last county general election; for municipal or school district officials, requirement is 20% of the persons registered to vote at the last election

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. §31-786 - 31-793

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-1301 - 32-1309

Any elected official of a political subdivision and any elected member of the governing bodies of cities, villages, counties, irrigation districts, natural resources districts, public power districts, school districts, community college areas, educational service units, hospital districts, metropolitan utilities districts, and sanitary and improvement districts.

The recall procedure and special election provisions apply to the mayor and members of the city council of municipalities with a home rule charter notwithstanding any contrary provisions of the home rule charter.

Recall may not commence during first six months in office or within six months prior to the incumbent filing deadline for the office

No specific grounds are required.

Time for gathering signatures is 30 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 35% of the total vote cast for that office in the last election except that a) for an office for which more than one candidate is chosen, requirement is 35% of number of votes cast for the person receiving the highest number of votes for that office in the last election; b) for a village officer, requirement is 45% of the total votes cast for the person receiving the most votes for that office in the last election

Nevada*

Const. Art. 2, §9

Every public officer in the State of Nevada is subject to recall from office by the registered voters of the state, or of the county, district, or municipality which he represents.

Recall may not commence during first six months in office.

No specific grounds are required

Time for gathering signatures is 90 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the persons voting in the last election

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 49D:3(e)

Charters adopted by towns, cities, village districts and unincorporated places may provide for recall.

Provisions vary by jurisdiction’s individual charter.

New Jersey*

Const. Art. 1, §2(b)

Any elected official in the state or representing the state in the United States Congress.  Includes local officials.

Recall may not commence during first year in office.

No specific grounds are required

Time for gathering signatures is 160 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the registered voters of the district

New Mexico

Const. Art. 10, §9

Elected official of a county

A recall election cannot be conducted after May 1 in a calendar year in which an election is to be held for the office subject to the proposed recall.

Grounds for recall are malfeasance or misfeasance in office or violation of the oath of office during the official’s current term.  Prior to circulating a petition, there must be a court hearing to determine whether there is probable cause for the grounds for recall.

No time limit for gathering signatures.

Signature requirement is number equal to 33 1/3% of persons who voted in the last election for the office

North Dakota*

Const. Art. 3, §10

Any elected official of the state, of any county or of any legislative or county commissioner district

Recall may be commenced at any time.

No specific grounds are required.

No time limit on gathering signatures.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of those who voted for governor in the relevant voting area in the last election

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code §705.92

Any elective officer of a municipal corporation

Recall may not commence during first year in office.

No specific grounds are required

Time for gathering signatures is 90 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 15% of the total votes cast in the last regular municipal election

Oregon*

Const. Art. 2, §18

ORS §249.865 - 249.880

Every public officer in Oregon

Recall may not commence during first six months in office.

No specific grounds are required

Time for gathering signatures is 90 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 15% of all votes cast in the electoral district for governor at the last election

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws §9-13-29 - 9-13-35

The mayor, any commissioner, any alderman, or any board of trustees member in municipalities with or without a city manager

Recall may commence at any time.

Grounds for recall are misconduct, malfeasance, nonfeasance, crimes in office, drunkenness, gross incompetency, corruption, theft, oppression, or gross partiality

Time for gathering signatures is 60 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 15% of registered voters at the time of the last general election in the municipality

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. §6-31-301

Members of boards of education, city council members

No recall election may be held during the 90 days before or the 90 days after a municipal election

No specific grounds are required.

No time limit for gathering signatures.

Signature requirement is number equaling 66% of the total vote cast for the candidate receiving the highest number of votes at the last election

Washington*

Const. Art. 1, §33-34

Wash. Rev. Code §29A.56.110 et seq.

Every elective public officer of the state of Washington expect judges of courts of record

Recall may commence at any time.

 

Grounds for recall are acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office or violation of oath of office

Time for gathering signatures is 180 days.

 

Signature requirement for city officers of cities of the first class and county officers of counties of the first, second and third classes is 25% of total votes cast for the office at the last election; for all other political subdivisions, requirement is 35% of total votes cast for the office at the last election

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §8-12-4(3)

Any city may be charter provision provide for the recall of an elected officer.

Recall may commence at any time.

No specific grounds are required.

No restriction on time for gathering signatures.

Signature requirement is number equaling 20% of the qualified voters of the city.

Wisconsin*

Const. Art. 13, §12

Wis. Stat. Ann. §9.10

The qualified electors of the state, of any county, city, village, town, of any congressional, legislative, judicial or school district, or of any prosecutorial unit may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective official

Recall may not commence during first year in office.

No specific grounds are required

Time for gathering signatures is 60 days.

Signature requirement is number equal to 25% of the votes cast for governor in the last election in the electoral district of the officer being recalled.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. §15-4-110

Any elected officer of a city or town operating under the commission form of government.

Recall may commence at any time.

No specific grounds are required.

No restriction on time for gathering signatures.

Signature requirement is number equaling 25% of all registered electors in the city or town.

* State also has provision for recall of state-level and legislative officials.
 

Additional Resources

See also: Recall of State Officials