Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Any holder of an elective office in the town of Belchertown may be recalled therefrom by the qualified voters of the town as provided in this act.
SECTION 2. Any qualified voter of the town may make and file with the town clerk an affidavit containing the name of the elected official sought to be recalled and a statement of grounds for removal. The town clerk shall thereupon deliver to the voter making such affidavit a sufficient number of copies of petition blanks for recall. Said blanks shall be issued by the town clerk with his signature and official seal attached thereto and shall be dated and addressed to the selectmen. Said blanks shall contain the name of the person to whom issued, the number of blank copies so issued, the name of the elected official sought to be removed, the office from which removal is sought, the grounds of removal as stated in said affidavit, and shall demand the election of a successor to said office. A copy of the petition shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of town clerk. Said recall petition shall be returned and filed with the town clerk within 21 days after the filing of the affidavit. Said petition before being returned and filed shall be signed by qualified voters of the town, equal in number to at least 25 per cent of the average total vote in the three most recent annual town elections, but not less than 500 qualified voters of the town. To every signature shall be added the place of residence of the signer, giving the street and number. Said recall petition shall be submitted at or before five o'clock in the afternoon of the Monday preceding the day on which it must be filed, to the registrars of voters in said town, and the registrars shall forthwith certify thereon the number of signatures which are names of voters in said town.
SECTION 3. If the petition shall be found and certified by the town clerk to be sufficient, he shall submit the same with his certificate to the selectmen within three business days, and the selectmen shall forthwith give written notice to said elected officer of the receipt of said certificate and shall, if the said officer sought to be removed does not resign within five days thereafter, thereupon order a removal election to be held on a day fixed by them not less than 65 nor more than 90 days after the date of the town clerk's certificate that a sufficient petition is filed; provided, however, that if any other town election is to occur within 85 days after the date of said certificate, the selectmen may, at their discretion, postpone the holding of the removal election to the date of such other election. If a vacancy occurs in said office after a removal election has been so ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided in this section.
SECTION 4. Any elected officer who has been removed by a vote at the removal election may be a candidate to succeed himself in an election to be held to fill such vacancy. The nomination of all candidates, the publication of the warrant for the removal election and any election to fill a vacancy caused by a removal election, and the conduct of the same, shall all be in accordance with the provisions of law relating to elections, unless otherwise provided by this act. A majority of those voting at the removal election shall be sufficient to recall such elected officer.
SECTION 5. The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the removal election. If said incumbent is not removed, he shall continue in office for the remainder of his unexpired term, subject to recall as before. If not re-elected in the recall election, he shall be deemed removed upon the qualification of his successor, who shall hold office for the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within five days after receiving notification of his election, the incumbent shall be deemed removed and the office vacant.
SECTION 6. Ballots used in the recall election in said town shall submit the following propositions in the following order indicated:
For the recall of (name of officer)
Against the recall of (name of officer)
Immediately at the right of each proposition there shall be a square in which the voter by making a mark may vote for either of such propositions. Under the proposition shall appear the word "candidates" and the direction "Vote for One" and beneath this the names of candidates nominated as hereinbefore provided. In the case of machine voting, or punch card balloting, or other forms of balloting, appropriate provision shall be made to allow the same intent of the voter. If a majority of the votes cast on the recall question is in the affirmative, then the candidate receiving the highest number of votes in the special election to fill the vacancy shall be elected. If a majority of the votes cast on the recall question is in the negative, the ballots for candidates to fill the potential vacancy need not be counted, or take any action relative thereto.
SECTION 7. No recall petition shall be filed against an elected officer of said town within six months after he takes office, nor in the case of an elected officer subjected to a recall election and not removed thereby, until at least six months after such recall election.
SECTION 8. No person who has been recalled from an elected office in said town, or has resigned from office while recall proceedings were pending against him, shall be appointed to any town office within two years after such removal by recall or resignation.
SECTION 9. This act shall take effect upon its passage.