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 elected town office may be recalled therefrom by the qualified voters of the town of Ayer as herein provided.
SECTION 2. Any 50 qualified voters of the town of Ayer may initiate a recall petition by filing with the town clerk an affidavit containing the name of the officer sought to be recalled and a statement of the grounds for recall. The town clerk shall thereon deliver to said voters making the affidavit copies of the petition blanks demanding such recall, copies of such printed form of which shall be kept available. Such blanks shall be issued by the town clerk, with his signature and official seal attached thereto. Such blanks shall be dated, shall be addressed to the board of selectmen of said town and shall contain the names of all the persons to whom they are issued, the name of the person whose recall is sought, the grounds of recall as stated in the affidavit and shall demand the election of a successor to the said office. A copy of the petition shall be entered in the record book to be kept in the office of the town clerk.
The recall petition shall be returned and filed with the town clerk within 14 days after filing of the affidavit and shall have been signed by at least 25 per cent of the qualified voters of the town, who shall add to their signatures the street and number, if any, of their residences. The town clerk shall within one working day of receipt submit the petition to the registrars of voters in the town and the registrars shall forthwith certify thereon the number of signatures with the names of qualified voters of the 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 board of selectmen without delay and said board shall forthwith give written notice of the receipt of the certificate to the official sought to be recalled and shall, if the officer does not resign in five days thereafter, order an election to be held on a date fixed by them not less than 60 days and not more than 70 days after the date of the town clerk's certificate that a sufficient petition has been filed; provided, however, that if any other town election is to occur within 90 days after the date of the certificate, said board shall postpone the holding of the recall election to the date of such other election. If a vacancy occurs in said office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided in this act.
SECTION 4. Any officer sought to be removed may be a candidate to succeed himself and, unless he requests otherwise in writing, the town clerk shall place his name on the warrant without nomination. The nomination of the other candidates, the publication of the warrant for the 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.
SECTION 5. The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the recall election. If then reelected, he shall continue in the office for the remainder of his unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in this act. If not reelected in the recall election, he shall be deemed removed from office 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 thereon be deemed removed and the office vacant.
SECTION 6. Ballots used in a recall election shall submit the following propositions in the order indicated:
For the recall (name of the officer)
Against the recall of (name of the officer)
Immediately at the right of each proposition there shall be a square in which the voter, by making a cross mark (x) may vote for either of said propositions. Under the proposition shall appear the word "candidates", and the directions to voters required by section 42 of chapter 54 of the General Laws, beneath this the names of candidates nominated as hereinbefore provided. If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall is in the affirmative, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected; provided, however, that at least 20 per cent of those entitled to vote shall have voted. If a majority of votes on the question is negative, the ballot for candidates need not be counted.
SECTION 7. No recall petition shall be filed against an officer within six months after he takes office, or, in the case of an officer subject to recall election and not recalled thereby, until at least six months after the election at which his recall was submitted to the voters.