Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Any person who holds an elected office in the town of Townsend and who has held that office for four months and has more than six months remaining in the term of such office on the date of filing of the affidavit, referred to in section two, may be recalled from office solely upon the grounds set forth in said section two by the registered voters of said town.
SECTION 2. One hundred and twenty-five or more registered voters from each precinct of the town of Townsend for a total of at least four hundred registered voters or ten percent of the registered voters of said town, whichever is greater, as certified by the registrars of voters as of the date of submission of petition to the town clerk, may file with said town clerk of said town an affidavit containing the name of the officer whose recall is sought and a statement of the grounds upon which the petition is based as set forth herein:
Lack of fitness, insobriety while performing official functions, involuntary commitment to a mental health facility, being placed under guardianship or conservatorship by a probate court;
Corruption, conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude, conviction of bribery, or extortion;
Neglect of duties, repeated absences from meetings without just cause, which shall include but not be limited to illness or regular vacation periods; and
Misfeasance, performance of official acts in an unlawful manner, or a willful violation of the open meeting law.
In no case shall the exercise of discretion in voting on matters before the officer constitute grounds for recall.
The town clerk shall deliver to the said voters petition blanks demanding said recall, printed forms of which the clerk shall keep available. Said blanks may be completed by writing or typewriting, they shall be addressed to the board of selectmen, they shall contain the names of the persons who filed the affidavit and the grounds for recall as stated in the affidavit, shall demand the election of a successor to the office and shall be dated and signed by the town clerk. A copy of the petition shall be kept on file in the office of said town clerk in a record book maintained for that purpose. The recall petitions shall be returned and filed in the office of said town clerk within twenty-one days following the date the petitions were issued, signed by at least ten percent of the total number of registered voters duly recorded on the registration list of said town clerk as of the preceding town election. Said town clerk shall within twenty-five hours following such filing submit said petitions to the registrars of voters who shall, within seven days, certify thereon the number of signatures which are names of registered voters of the town, and certify the total number of registered voters in the town as of the date of filing the petition with the town clerk. The registrars shall determine whether a sufficient number of registered voters has signed the petition.
SECTION 3. If the petition shall be certified by the registrars of voters to be sufficient, the town clerk shall forthwith submit the same to the board of selectmen. Upon its receipt of the certified petition, said board of selectmen shall within forty-eight hours give written notice of said petition and certificate to the person whose recall is sought. If said officer does not resign his office within five days following delivery of the said notice, said board of selectmen shall order an election to be held not less than sixty nor more than ninety days after the date of the registrars' certificate of the sufficiency of the petition. If, however, another town election is to occur within one hundred days after the date of the certificate, said board of selectmen shall hold the recall election on the date of said other town election. If a vacancy occurs in the office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided in this section, but only the ballots for candidates need be counted.
SECTION 4. An officer whose recall is sought may be a candidate to succeed himself at the recall election. The nomination of candidates, the publication of the warrant for the recall election, and the conduct of the same shall all be in accordance with the provisions of laws relating to elections, unless otherwise provided in this act.
SECTION 5. The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the recall election. If he is not recalled in the election he shall continue in office for the remainder of his unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except that he cannot be recalled thereby until at least six months after the election at which his recall was submitted to the voters.
If the officer is recalled in the election, he shall be deemed removed upon the qualification of his successor who shall hold office during the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within five days after receiving notification of his election, the incumbent shall thereupon be deemed removed and the office vacant.
SECTION 6. Ballots used at a recall election shall contain the following propositions in the order indicated:
For the recall of (name of officer); and
Against the recall of (name of officer).
Adjacent to each proposition, there shall be a place to mark a vote. After the propositions shall appear the word "Candidates" followed by the names of candidates arranged alphabetically by surname.
If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall is in the affirmative, and provided that at least twenty-five percent of the total number of registered voters as of the date of the most recent town election have participated in such recall election, the officer shall be deemed to have been recalled.
The ballots for candidates shall then be counted, and the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. If a majority of the vote on the question is in the negative, the ballots for candidates need not be counted except as provided in section three.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon its passage.