A Guide to Recall
County, School District, Special District
and Local Judicial Offices
Material in this guide originated with San Bernardino and Santa Cruz
Elections Offices and has been adapted for use in
Every attempt has been made to assure state law has been
correctly represented here.
In the event of a conflict between anything contained herein and
state law, the state law will prevail.
The links below should be followed for a more detailed
presentation of the state laws and Secretary of State’s procedures on
1. Use of This Guide
guide is intended to provide basic, useful facts about the recall
process for county, school district, special district, and trial court
(Superior court) elected offices.
recall of city officeholders, contact that city’s Office of the
City Clerk directly.
recall of state officeholders, see the "Procedure
for Recalling State and Local Officials" published by the
Office of the Secretary of State.
Federal officeholders are not subject to recall.
guide should be used in conjunction with:
The attached flow chart (Appendix
A) titled, "Qualifying a Recall for the Ballot", which
shows the process of preparing, circulating, and filing a recall
petition, and continuing through qualifying and calling an election.
for Recalling State and Local Officials" (current version),
published by Office of the Secretary of State.
The applicable sections of the California
Elections Code, Government
State law prohibits Elections Office staff from
providing legal advice. The
recall is a complex process; you may also want to contact a
knowledgeable attorney for legal assistance.
as otherwise specified, code sections referred to with the section
number symbol (§) will be those of the Elections Code.
as otherwise specified, references to the number of days means calendar
days, as in " . . . the incumbent’s answer to notice of
intention to recall, is due within seven [calendar] days after the
filing of the notice of intention by the proponents."
2. What is Recall
and What Circumstances Justify It?
California Constitution defines recall as "the power of the
electors to remove an elective officer." (Art. II, Sec. 13) Neither
the California Constitution nor the Elections Code says under what
circumstances recall is justified. Instead, the Constitution says, in
connection with recalls of state officers, "[s]ufficiency of reason
is not reviewable." (Art. II, Sec. 14) The only language in the
Elections Code that has any bearing on this is in §11024. Referring to
the proponents’ statement of reasons for the recall and the incumbent’s
answer, it states that, "[t]he statement and answer are intended
solely for the information of the voters. No insufficiency in form or
substance thereof shall affect the validity of the election
3. Who Can be Recalled?
elective officer including any officer appointed in lieu of election or
to fill vacancy. (§11006)
4. Circumstances Under
Which a Recall is Prohibited
recall may not be commenced if any of these apply (§11007):
The incumbent has not held office during his or
her current term for more than 90 days.
A recall election has been decided in the
incumbent’s favor within the last six months.
The incumbent’s term of office ends within six
months or less.
5. Who Conducts the
are conducted by the “elections official” which is defined as
A county elections official in the case of the
recall of elective officers of a county, school district, county board
of education, community college district, or resident voting district,
and of judges of trial courts.
(b) A city elections official, including, but not
necessarily limited to, a city clerk, in the case of the recall of
elective officers of a city.
The secretary of the governing board in the case
of the recall of elective officers of a landowner voting district or any
district in which, at a regular election, candidate's nomination papers
are filed with the secretary of the governing board.
the event the county elections official is the incumbent whose recall is
being sought, then the duties imposed upon him or her shall be performed
by some other person designated by the Board of Supervisors. (§11201)
6. Who Can Initiate a Recall?
qualified elector may initiate a recall. A qualified elector is defined
as being a registered voter of the jurisdiction and eligible to vote on
the office of the incumbent they seek to recall. (§§11005, 322)
7. Separate Nature of Each Recall
recall is a separate process and requires successful completion of the
steps shown on the flow chart (Appendix
A). If, for example, there are three separate incumbents to be
recalled, there must be three of each of the following (§§ 11020,
11021 and 11044.):
of Time and Manner of Service
of Proof of Publication (or Posting, if applicable) of the Notice of
of Two Blank Copies of the Proposed Petition Formats
error in following any of the steps in connection with a particular
recall may require that some or all steps taken up to that point be done
over. Again, recall proponents may wish to consult an attorney to help
them avoid such errors.
multiple recalls are under way, petition circulators typically will be
circulating multiple petitions, and requesting voters to sign each of
however many petitions are involved. Not all voters will choose to sign
each petition, with the result that when the petitions are filed with
the Office of the County Elections Official, the total number of
signatures submitted for each recall petition will vary.
8. Cost of a Recall
cost of a recall election is charged to the government agency whose
officials are sought to be recalled. Contact the Office of the County
Elections Official for an estimate of the cost. If the recall election
can be consolidated with a regularly scheduled election or another
special election, the cost may be considerably reduced.
II. STARTING THE RECALL
1. Preparing the Notice of Intention
initial step for proponents interested in the recall of an elected
officer holder is the drafting of a Notice of Intention. (§11020) The
Notice of Intention consists of the following:
The name and title of the officer to be recalled.
A statement of no more than 200 words expressing
the reasons for the recall. (See Appendix
B for rules on counting words.)
The printed name, signature, and business or
residence address of each of the proponents. Note: Proponents should
also provide a mailing address if different from above.
The language contained in §11023 informing the
incumbent of his or her right to file an answer.
sample Notice of Intention form is included as Appendix
number of proponents required to sign the Notice of Intention is ten
(10) or equal to the number of signatures required to be filed on the
nomination petition for the office of the incumbent whose recall is
being sought, whichever is higher. (§11020) For example,
in the case of a county elected office, the minimum number of signatures
required on nomination petition is 20 (§8062(a)(3)), hence the minimum
number of proponents required to sign the recall’s Notice of Intention
proponents must be registered to vote in the jurisdiction and eligible
to vote on the office of the incumbent they seek to recall. (§11005)
2. Serving the Notice on the
copy of the Notice of Intention must be served on the
office holder sought to be recalled by personal delivery or by certified
mail (§11021). If serving by certified mail, recall proponents are
advised to obtain from the Office of the County Elections Official the
office holder’s most current and correct mailing address, as
listed on the incumbent’s voter registration record.
3. Filing the Notice and Proof of
original Notice of Intention must be filed with the Office
of the County Elections Official within seven (7) days of the incumbent
having been served, along with an affidavit of time and manner of
service (§ 11021). (See Appendix
D and Appendix
E for examples of affidavits used for personal delivery and
certified mail, respectively.)
separate Notice of Intention shall be filed for each incumbent sought to
affidavit of Proof of Service by Certified Mail (Appendix
E) attests to the date the Notice of Intention was mailed,
the name of the office holder sought to be recalled and his or her
Note to elections
officials: It is recommended that on the day a Notice of
Intention and affidavit of service is filed, that you immediately (1)
notify the office holder sought to be recalled of the filings, (2)
communicate to the office holder the seven-day deadline for filing an
answer and (3) offer to provide the office holder a copy of the filings,
4. Publishing the Notice
are also required to publish, at their expense, the Notice of Intention
at least once in a newspaper of general circulation serving the
jurisdiction of the incumbent whose recall is being sought (§11022;
Government Code §6061). There
is no timeframe specified for publication. However, proof of publication
is required at the time blank copies of the petition are filed.
Proponents must request and obtain from the newspaper a signed affidavit
proving publication . . . this document will need to be filed with the
Office of the County Elections Official later in the process. (§11042)
timely publication in a newspaper of general circulation is not
possible, the Notice of Intention shall be posted in at least three
public places within the jurisdiction of the incumbent whose recall is
being sought. If posting is used, an affidavit attesting to the postings
will be required to be filed with the Office of the County Elections
Office holder’s Answer
office holder has the right to provide a response to the grounds for the
proposed recall contained in the proponents’ Notice of Intention.
Should he or she choose to do so, the response is limited to 200 words
and must be filed with the Office of the County Elections Official
within seven (7) days after the filing of the Notice of Intention
by the proponents. It must be signed, and shall be accompanied by the
incumbent’s printed name and business or residence address (§11023).
that same seven (7) day period, the incumbent shall also serve a copy of
his or her response on one of the proponents named in the Notice of
Intention. Service is to be by personal delivery or certified mail.
(§11023) (There is no requirement that the incumbent file any proof of
service with the Office of the County Elections Official.)
Note to proponents:
In the event office holder’s answer is apparently not received by any
proponent, contact the Office of the County Elections Official, since
the incumbent’s answer must also be filed there under the same
deadline. It is the proponents’ responsibility to verify with the
Elections Office whether an answer has been filed prior to proceeding to
the next step in the recall process.
6. Campaign Finance Reporting
recall proponents who organize to qualify a recall for the ballot, and
those who organize to oppose such a recall effort will have campaign
disclosure and filing obligations under state law. See Section
X, Part 8 for additional information.
BUILDING THE PETITION
language and design of the recall petition are strictly controlled by
the Elections Code (§§100, 100.5, 11040, 11041, 11043, 11043.5 and
for a sample recall petition form. A similar version is also provided in
"Procedures for Recalling State and Local Officials"
published by the Secretary of State.
Important: Before proceeding with circulation of any recall
petition, proponents are required to submit their petition’s design
and format to the Office of the County Elections Official for its review
and approval as to whether the petition conforms to the
requirements of the Elections Code (§11042).
Proponents may want to communicate early with the Elections
Office and/or a knowledgeable attorney on format and content.
2. Format of the Recall Petition
recall petition format provided by the Secretary of State or County
Elections Official is mandatory and must be used (§§11041, 11043.5).
recall petition may consist of any number of separate sections, which
must be duplicates except as to signatures and matters required to be
affixed by signers and circulators. The number of signatures attached to
each section is left up to the discretion of the person soliciting the
signatures. Each section may consist of any number of separate pages. A
page is defined as each side of a sheet of paper on which any signatures
margin at least one inch wide shall be left across the top of each page
and a margin at least one-half inch wide shall be left blank along the
bottom of each page (§§100, 11043).
petition sections must be printed in uniform size and darkness with
uniform spacing (§11041).
On each page, in no less than 8-point type, there must
requesting that an election be called to elect a successor.
of the Notice of Intention, including the statement of reasons for
Note to proponents:
The Notice of Intention to appear on the petition must be identical to
that which was published, with the exception of the language related to
the incumbent’s right to file an answer (§11021).
names of at least ten (10) of the proponents listed on the
Notice of Intention (signatures and addresses do not need to be
incumbent’s answer, if any. If no answer was filed, the petition
must so state.
b. Signature Space:
above the signature space(s) shall be the following statement:
of the undersigned states for himself/herself that he or she is a
registered and qualified elector of the [insert name of electoral
jurisdiction, e.g., Central Fire Protection District] of [insert
name of geographical location, i.e., County of Humboldt],
Note to proponents:
When a petition is circulated in more than one county, each section of
the petition shall bear the name of the county in which it is
circulated, and only registered voters of that county may sign that
The petition must be designed so that each signer can
personally affix his or her
address, giving street and number, or if no street or number exists,
adequate designation of residence so that the location may be
readily determined; and
of incorporated city of unincorporated community (§11043) .
Pursuant to the California
Supreme Court’s decision in Assembly v. Deukmejian (1982) 30 Cal.3d
638, 180 Cal.Rptr. 297, the petition form must direct signers to include
their "residence address" rather than "address as
registered" or other address. Noncomplying petition forms will be
rejected as invalid.
spaces must be consecutively numbered commencing with the number one for
each petition section.
space at least one inch wide must be left blank at the right margin of
the page after each name and address for the use of the County Elections
Official in verifying the petition.
c. Declaration of Circulator:
Each section of the petition must have attached to it a
declaration signed by the circulator (person soliciting signatures) of
that section of the petition, setting forth in the circulator’s own
hand, all of the following:
name of the circulator;
address of the circulator, giving street and number, or if no street
exists, adequate designation of residence so that the location may
be readily determined; and
between which all signatures to the petition were obtained.
The declaration must also include the following:
the circulator circulated that section and witnessed the appended
signatures being written;
according to the best information and belief of the circulator, each
signature is the genuine signature of the person whose name it
purports to be;
the circulator is a registered voter in the electoral jurisdiction
of the incumbent sought to be recalled; and
the circulator certifies to the content of the declaration as to its
truth and correctness, under penalty of perjury. The circulator
shall state the date and the place of execution on the declaration
along with his or her signature. (§§104, 11046)
3. Filing of Blank Copies of Petition and
Proof of Publication
blank copies of the recall petition must be filed with the Office of the
County Elections Official within ten (10) days after the filing of the
incumbent’s answer, if any. If no answer was filed, the copies are due
within ten (10) days after the deadline for the incumbent to file an
affidavit attesting to the proof of publication (or posting, as
applicable) of the Notice of Intention is due at this same time
4. Review and Approval of Petition Format
Office of the County Elections Official shall review the petition format
within ten (10) days and notify the proponents in writing that the
petition is either approved for circulation or requires modification
changes are necessary, proponents have ten (10) days to file two blank
copies of the corrected petition with the Office of the County
Elections Official. This process shall be repeated until no further
alterations are necessary (§11042).
Note to elections
official: As a courtesy, the incumbent should also be
notified when approval on format is given.
SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS AND CIRCULATION DEADLINES
1. When Circulation of the Recall
Petition May Begin
may not begin collecting signatures until the form and wording of the
recall petition have been approved by the Elections Office as meeting
the requirements of the Elections Code (§11042(d)). The time period
available for circulating the petition is measured from when the
Elections Office notifies the proponents that the petition meets the
form and wording requirements (§11220(a)).
2. Number of Days to Circulate Petition
circulation period of a recall petition is based on a sliding scale
using the number of registered voters in the electoral jurisdiction
eligible to vote on the office of the incumbent subject to recall
(§11220), as follows:
of Days to Circulate
50,000 and above
Thus, for a countywide office, proponents would have 160 calendar
days to circulate petitions.
of Signatures Needed
number of valid signatures required on a recall petition to qualify and
trigger a recall election is also based on a sliding scale using the
number of registered voters in the electoral jurisdiction eligible to
vote on the office of the incumbent subject to recall, as follows
% of Total Registered Voters
100,000 and above
number of registered voters shall be determined using the last official
report of registration by the Office of the County Elections Official to
the Secretary of State prior to the approval of the petition for
An exception to the above occurs in the case of trial court judges,
where the signature requirement is 20% of the total number of votes
cast for all candidates in the last election for that office
(Cal. Const. Art. II, Sec. 14(b)).
Often, however, judges have not been required to appear on the
ballot for several terms because they drew no opposition when up
for election (§8203). The number of signatures needed is then
calculated as 20% of the total number of votes cast within that
judicial jurisdiction (countywide for Superior Court, for
example) for all candidates in the countywide office (e.g.,
Sheriff or District Attorney) with the least number of
votes in the most recent general election (§11221).
"Countywide office" is defined as "an elective
office wholly within the county, which is voted on throughout the
4. Withdrawal of Signatures from
voter who has signed a recall petition who wishes to have his or her
signature withdrawn from the petition may file a written request with
the Office of the County Elections Official no later than the day
before the petition is filed (§§103 and 11303).
written request must identify the subject recall petition -- and clearly
indicate the requestor indeed signed such petition – and contain the
person’s name, residence address, and signature.
The Office of the County Elections Official will have no way of knowing
for sure when the proponents will choose to file the recall petitions.
Consequently, it will not be able to advise persons who wish to withdraw
their signatures as to any "deadline" for filing their
requests – other than the fact that the request must be received no
later than the day before the petition is filed.
1. Who Can Circulate a Recall
voters in the jurisdiction who are qualified to vote on the office of
the incumbent sought to be recalled (§11045).
2. Who Can Sign?
registered voters who, at the time of signing the recall petition, are
qualified to vote on the office held by the incumbent whose recall is
sought (§§ 322, 11045). Each
signer must personally sign and print his or her name and residence
address – giving street and number (or, if no street and number
exists, an explanation of how to locate place of residence) (§§100,
voter physically unable to sign a petition may request someone
else to print the voter’s name and residence address on the petition.
The voter then must affix his or her mark in the appropriate space on
the petition, and have two persons witness the mark by signing their
names on the same line next to the mark (§ 100.5, Gov. Code § 16)).
According to the Secretary of State’s legal counsel, witnesses do not
have to be registered, and the circulator may serve as a witness.
a recall petition is circulated in more than one county, a separate
section should be used for each county. Each section of the petition
must include the name of the county in which it is circulated, and only
registered voters of that county may sign that section. (§11047 and Section
III, Part 2.b of these guidelines.)
3. Registering or Re-Registering
potential signers who are eligible but currently not registered to vote,
or those who are registered but have since moved, a newly completed
voter registration card will ensure his or her signature on a recall
petition can be counted as valid. For this to work, the new registration
card must be signed on or before the date the voter signs the petition .
. . and the registration card itself must be received by the
Office of the County Elections Official on or before the date the
petition is filed (§ 2102(b)).
Note to proponents:
It will assist the Office of the County Election Official in verifying
signatures on the petition if the circulator notes in the left hand
margin of the petition, adjacent the signature, these newly-completed
registration card’s affidavit number and notifies the election’s
office at the time of delivery that these registration cards are related
to the specific petition. Proponents should also be aware that completed
registration cards must be delivered to the Office of the County
Elections Official within three (3) days of receipt from the voter. (§ 2138)
4. Circulator Must Complete and Sign
Declaration of Circulator
circulator must personally affix – in his or her own
handwriting -- his or her printed name and residence address and the
specific dates of circulation of each petition section in every
circulator’s affidavit. Preprinted dates, or generalized dates other
than the particular range of dates on which the petition section was
circulated are not permitted (§§104, 11046).
5. Including a "Cushion"
to Allow for Invalid Signatures
need to allow for invalid signatures by including extra signatures above
and beyond the minimum needed to qualify the petition.
6. Causes of Invalid Signatures
Signatures that appear on the petition may be determined
to be invalid for a number of reasons . . . some of the most common are
listed below (See §§ 100, 105, 321, and 359.):
signer is not eligible to vote on the office held by the incumbent
whose recall is being sought.
signer has moved since last registering to vote and failed to
signer writes in a P.O. box or business address as his or her
address of residence.
signer signs the petition more than once. Only the first signature
encountered during verification will count; moreover, any duplicate
signatures found in the "random sample" are penalized
under the sufficiency formula (see Section
residence address appearing on the petition was
"pre-printed" and not written in personally by the signer.
signer’s signature does not compare to the voter’s signature on
his/her voter registration card on file with the Office of the
County Elections Official.
defects in the declaration of the circulator, such as failure of the
circulator to sign the declaration (§§104 and 11046), may invalidate
all signatures appearing on that section. Recall proponents should
advise their circulators of the importance of fully and accurately
completing the declaration.
should be advised that under no circumstances should they make any
changes or "corrections" in the signatures or addresses that
the voters have written on the petition.
verifying petitions, the Office of the County Elections Official may use
the most current version of the Secretary of State’s "Official
Petition Verification Guidelines."
7. Legibility of Signatures
ensure that signatures are readable, use a firm writing surface beneath
the petition page being signed and ball point pens, not felt tip
markers. If circulating recall petitions against multiple officeholders,
it is suggested printing the recall petitions on lightly-tinted colored
paper with a different color for each office.
8. Circulation of Recall Petitions on
circulators often seek to circulate petitions at shopping centers and
other private property. With shopping centers being private property,
the courts have had to balance the private property rights of the
shopping center owners against the free speech and petition rights of
petition circulators. Both supporters and opponents of a recall are
advised to contact the property manager or owner in advance of
circulating petitions and to seek legal counsel when issues arise as to
their speech and petitioning rights at shopping centers or private
9. Penal Provisions
following are selected penal provisions relating to circulation of
recall petitions. (See §§18600 et. seq. for all the relevant code
a. Provisions Relating to Circulators
is a misdemeanor for anyone circulating a recall petition to
intentionally misrepresent or intentionally make a false statement
concerning the contents, purport or effect of any petition to any person
who signs, desires to sign, is requested to sign, or who makes inquiries
with reference to it, or to whom it is presented for his or her
signature. It is also a misdemeanor to willfully and knowingly
circulate, publish, or exhibit any false statement or misrepresentation
concerning the contents, purport, or effect of any recall petition for
the purpose of obtaining any signature to, or persuading or influencing
any person to sign, that petition. (§18600)
person working for the proponents of a recall petition who refuses to
allow a prospective signer to read the petition is guilty of a
person who offers or gives money or other valuable consideration to
another in exchange for his or her signature on a recall petition is
guilty of a misdemeanor (§18603).
one shall knowingly or willfully permit the list of signatures on a
recall petition to be used for any purpose other than qualification of
the recall question for the ballot. Violation is a misdemeanor
b. Provisions Relating to Fraudulent Signatures
person who solicits any circulator to affix to a recall petition any
false or forged signature, or to cause or permit a false or forged
signature to be affixed, is guilty of a misdemeanor (§ 18610).
who circulates or causes to be circulated a recall petition knowing it
to contain false, forged, or fictitious names is punishable by a fine
not exceeding $5,000 or by imprisonment in state prison for 16 months or
two or three years or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by
both fine and imprisonment (§ 18611).
person who knowingly signs his or her name more than once to a recall
petition or signs his or her name to that petition knowing himself or
herself at the time of signing not to be qualified to sign it is guilty
of a misdemeanor (§ 18612).
person who subscribes to any recall petition a fictitious name, or who
subscribes thereto the name of another, or who causes another to
subscribe such a name to that petition, is guilty of a felony and is
punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four
years (§ 18613).
person who files in the office of the election official any recall
petition to which is attached any signature which the person filing the
petition knows to be false or fraudulent or not the genuine signature of
the person whose name it purports to be is punishable by a fine not
exceeding $5,000 or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or
two or three years or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by
both the fine and imprisonment
c. Threats to Prevent Petition Circulation or Filing
person who threatens to commit an assault or battery on a person
circulating a recall petition or on a relative of such a person or to
inflict damage on the property of the circulator or relative, with the
intent to dissuade the circulator from circulating the petition or in
retribution for the circulation, is guilty of a misdemeanor (§ 18630).
FILING THE RECALL PETITION
sections of the recall petition circulated within a particular county
must be filed at the same time with that county’s Elections Office. No
additional signatures may be filed or accepted after that time. The
petition sections must be filed by the proponents or by any person or
persons authorized in writing by a proponent. A copy of the written
authorization must be included with the filing (§11222(a)).
the Elections Office determines that the number of signatures, on its
face, appears to be equal to or greater than the minimum required, the
petition will be accepted for filing. If the number is less than the
minimum required, the petition will not be accepted for filing
and will be returned to the proponents (§11222(b)).
the petition was circulated in more than one county, the elections
official of each county shall affix, with the certificate showing the
results of his or her examination, the number of registered voters of
the county residing within the electoral jurisdiction of the officer
sought to be recalled (§11223).
VERIFICATION OF PETITION SIGNATURES
Elections Office has 30 days from the date of the filing of the petition
in which to examine it and determine the total number of valid
signatures (§§ 11224 and 11225).
examination involves verifying the validity of all the signatures on the
petition (§ 11224) or verifying a random sample of 500 or 5%, whichever
is greater, and determining the sufficiency of the petition through the
statistical method provided by §11225. To save time and money, election
officials typically choose the latter when presented with petitions with
large volumes of signatures.
the number of valid signatures, as determined by the random sample, is
equivalent to 90-110% of the number needed to qualify the recall for the
ballot, the election official is required to conduct a 100% signature
examination of the petition. (If the random sample shows that the number
is less than 90%, the petition will be certified as insufficient. If it
is over 110%, it will be certified as sufficient (§11225)).
CERTIFYING RESULTS OF SIGNATURE VERIFICATON
1. Insufficient Number of Valid
the petition is found to contain an insufficient number of valid
signatures to qualify the recall for the ballot, no further action is
taken and the petition remains on file (§11226).
insufficiency in a petition against any officer shall bar the later
filing of a new petition against that officer (§11300).
2. Sufficient Number of Valid
the petition is found to have sufficient valid signatures to qualify the
recall for the ballot, the Office of the County Elections Official will
immediately certify the results of the signature examination to the
governing body for consideration at its next regular meeting (§§
11224, 11225, and 11227). The certificate shall contain the following:
of officer whose recall is sought;
of his or her office;
of signatures required by law;
number of signatures on the petition;
of valid signatures on the petition; and
of signatures that were disqualified.
3. Restrictions on Access to Recall Petitions
voters may have concerns about possible harassment if they sign
initiative, referendum, or recall petitions. Government Code § 6253.5
provides that such petitions (and any memoranda prepared by the election
officials in examining the petitions) are not deemed to be public
records and are not open to inspection. There are two exceptions:
of the County Elections Office responsible for verifying the
proponents, should the petition be deemed insufficient and fail to
qualify for the ballot. In that event, proponents have the right to
examine those signatures found to be invalid and the reasons
therefore. "Proponents" are those individuals listed on
the Notice of Intention (or a person authorized in writing by the
proponent.) Any such examination shall begin within 21 days
following certification of insufficiency (§11301).
RESIGNATION OF OFFICEHOLDER
the incumbent whose recall is being sought resigns (or a vacancy occurs
for any other reason) at any time following the filing of the recall
petition, the recall process will nevertheless proceed. Anyone appointed
to fill the vacancy serves only until a successor is selected and
qualifies for the office (§11302).
THE RECALL ELECTION
1. Calling the Election
14 days after the meeting at which the governing body considers the
certificate of sufficiency received from the Office of the County
Elections Official, the governing body is to issue an order calling the
election (§ 11240).
the governing body fails to act within those 14 days, the County
Elections Official shall call for the election within five days (§
recall election shall be conducted, canvassed, and the results declared
in substantially the manner provided by law for a regular election for
the office (§ 11328). One election is sufficient for the recall of
several officers (§ 11329).
the recall is to be voted on by voters in more than one county, the
elections official of the county with the largest number of registered
voters who will be voting in the election shall set the date in
consultation with elections officials of the other counties (§ 11241).
any case, the election must be held between 88 and 125 days from the
date of the order (§ 11242). Also, no election shall be held on any day
other than Tuesday or the day after a state holiday (§1100).
If a regular or special election is to be held throughout the electoral
jurisdiction of the incumbent sought to be recalled within this time
period, the recall election shall be held on the same day (§11242).
2. Filing Requirements for Candidates
the recall election is called, there will be a nomination period for
candidates to file for election to the office.
Exception: Although it is clear
that trial court judges – both Municipal and Superior court –are
subject to recall, Article VI, Section 16 of the California
Constitution creates some legal uncertainty as to whether the
successor to a recalled judge is elected by the voters . .
. or appointed by the Governor. If it is the latter,
obviously the need for a contest involving successor candidates is
eliminated. This question was first raised in 1997 in Nevada
County (see County Counsel of Nevada County opinion, Appendix
G) but never resolved since the recall petition never
qualified for the ballot. It is, therefore, suggested that
elections officials seek their own legal counsel to clarify this
issue should it arise.
nomination period must not open before the day the order of election is
issued and must close not later than the 75th day before the election.
If the County Elections Official is required to certify to the governing
board the names of candidates to be placed on the ballot, that shall be
done by the 71st day prior to the election (§ 11381(b)).
incumbent may not be a candidate to succeed himself or any other member
of the same governing board that is also the subject of recall (§
11381(c)) . . . but he or she may submit a statement for publication
in the sample ballot booklet (§§ 11327, 13307).
The nomination period for recall elections may very likely be truncated.
For example, the election could be called to be held in the minimum 88
days. Since the nomination period under any circumstances must close on
the 75th day (§ 11381b), the nomination period will consist of just 14
days. See Petitions In-Lieu
of Filing Fee below for other possible date consequences.
petitions may or may not be required of candidates, depending on the
office held by the incumbent. The number of nominating signatures, if
any, will be the same as required of candidates seeking that particular
office in a regular election (§ 11381). Check with the Office of the
County Elections Official regarding this requirement.
are no filing fees for school or special district office. Filing fees
for County Supervisor and countywide office are based on 1% of the
official’s annual salary (§ 8104(b)).
Petitions In-Lieu of Filing Fee
there is a filing fee, petitions in-lieu of payment of that fee must be
made available to candidates, who may circulate these petitions and
gather signatures for credit against the fee (§§ 8061, 8106).
Petitions in lieu are required to be made available 45 days
before the first day for circulating nomination papers (§ 8106(b)).
Given the deadlines for calling the election, this could create a
situation where petitions in lieu should be available before the
signatures on the petitions have been verified.
addition to filing nomination documents (declaration of candidacy and
nomination petition), each candidate may have to provide documentation
of his or her qualifications (§ 13.5).
statements for publication in the sample ballot pamphlet are optional.
The cost of statements in a recall election will be determined by the
Office of the County Elections Official once the election has been
candidates, the statement is due at the time his or her nomination
papers are filed (§13307(a)(2)).
incumbent whose recall is being sought may also submit a statement for
inclusion in the sample ballot pamphlet (§ 11327). Statement must be
filed to no later than 5 p.m. on the last day of candidate filing.
Note to elections
Notify incumbent of his or her right to submit a statement and deadline
candidate and incumbent statements shall remain confidential until the
close of the filing period.
3. Design of the Ballot
question on the ballot will be: "Shall [name of incumbent sought to
be recalled] be recalled (removed) from the office of [title of
office]?" with the voter marking either "Yes" or
"No" (§ 11320). Below that will appear the names of the
candidates who have filed to seek election to the office in the event
the recall is successful. Appropriately identified write-in space must
also be provided (§ 11322).
there are multiple recalls that have qualified for the ballot, following
the list of candidates to succeed to one office would be the recall
question for the next office, and so on. Candidates will be listed in
randomized alphabet order based on a drawing of letters by the Secretary
of State. In the case of candidates for countywide office, they will be
listed in randomized alphabet order and then rotated in conformance with
§§ 13111(g) and 13112.
4. Sample Ballot Pamphlet
sample ballot pamphlet shall include both the grounds for the recall
(from the Notice of Intention) and the incumbent’s answer, if one was
filed. The grounds for the recall and answer shall be printed on the
same page or on facing pages and shall be of equal prominence (§11325).
the recall of more than one incumbent is sought, the grounds for the
recall and answer for each shall be printed together and clearly
distinguished from those of any other (§ 11325).
5. The Voter’s Responsibility While
Voting in a Recall
a vote for a candidate running to succeed to the office to be counted,
the voter must vote either "Yes" or "No" on the
question of recall (§ 11382).
6. Majority Vote Required to Recall
the majority vote on the question is to recall, the incumbent shall be
removed from office upon the certification of election results and
swearing-in of his or her successor (§ 11384).
7. Plurality Vote to Elect a
the incumbent is recalled, the candidate receiving the greatest number
of votes shall be elected to the incumbent’s unexpired term. There is
no runoff election (§ 11385).
the candidate with the highest number of votes fails to qualify within
ten days after receiving his or her certificate of election, the office
to which he or she was elected shall be vacant, and shall be filled
according to law (§ 11386).
8. Campaign Finance Reporting
Requirements and Limitations
the recall proponents who organize to qualify a recall for the ballot
and those who oppose a recall effort -- as well as candidates -- will
have to meet the filing obligations and campaign disclosure requirements
required by the state Political Reform Act, as well as any additional
limitations or requirements established by local ordinance, if any.
is imperative for all parties involved with a recall to check
with the Office of the County Elections Official on any and all
applicable state and local laws in this regard.
information about specific disclosure requirements is available by
contacting the state Fair Political
Practices Commission, which enforces the Political Reform Act, at
(916) 322-5662. The address is 428 "J" Street, Suite 800,
1. Repeating a Recall if the
Incumbent is not Recalled
the recall election is conducted and the incumbent is not recalled, a
new recall may not be commenced against the official within six
months of that election nor during the last six months of the official’s
term of office (§ 11007).
2. Right of the Recalled Incumbent to
Run in Future Elections
successful recall election applies only to the current term of office.
There is nothing in the law to prevent a public official recalled in one
election from running for the same or any other office in an election
for a subsequent term of office.