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. A holder of an elective office in the town of Montague may be recalled therefrom by the registered voters of the town as herein provided, for reason of lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, corruption, malfeasance, misfeasance or violation of oath.
SECTION 2. Twenty registered voters of the town may file an affidavit with the town clerk containing the name of the officer sought to be recalled and a statement of the grounds for recall. The town clerk shall thereupon deliver to the voters copies of printed form petition blanks addressed to the board of selectmen demanding the recall. The blanks shall be issued under the signature and official seal of the town clerk. They shall be dated, and shall contain the names of all persons to whom they are issued, the name of the person whose recall is sought, and the grounds of recall as stated in the affidavit. In addition, the petitions shall demand the election of a successor to the office. A copy of the petition shall be entered in a 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 20 days after the filing of the affidavit, with signatures, names and street addresses of at least 20 per cent of the registered voters of the town. Within 24 hours of receipt, the town clerk shall submit the petition to the registrars of voters in the town, and the registrars shall forthwith certify thereon the number of signatures which are names of registered voters of the town.
SECTION 3. If the petition shall be found and certified by the town clerk to be sufficient, it shall be submitted with his certificate to the board of selectmen without delay. The board of selectmen shall forthwith give written notice of the receipt of the certificate to the officer sought to be recalled. If the officer does not resign within 5 days, the board of selectmen shall forthwith order an election to be held on a date fixed by them not less than 64 nor more than 80 days after the date the election is called after receipt of the certificate, but if any other town election is scheduled to occur within 100 days after the date of the certificate, the board of selectmen shall postpone the holding of the recall election to the date of such other election. If a vacancy occurs in the office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided in this act.
SECTION 4. An officer sought to be removed may be a candidate to succeed himself in an election to be held to fill such vacancy, and unless the officer requests otherwise in writing, the town clerk shall place said name on the ballot without nomination. The nomination of 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 the law relating to elections, unless otherwise provided in this section.
SECTION 5. The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the recall election. If the incumbent is not removed, he shall continue in office for the remainder of his unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in this act. If not re-elected in the recall election, he shall be deemed removed upon the qualification of a successor, who shall hold office during the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within 5 days after receiving notification of election, the incumbent shall thereupon 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 of (name of officer)
Against the recall of (name of officer)
Immediately at the right of each proposition there shall be a designated place for voters to vote for either of the propositions. Under the proposition shall appear the word "Candidates", the directions to voters required by section 42 of chapter 54 of the General Laws, and beneath this, the names of candidates nominated as hereinbefore provided.
If a majority of votes on the question is against the recall, the ballots for candidates need not be counted or take any action relative thereto. If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall is in favor of the recall, the officer shall be recalled and the ballots for candidates shall be counted. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.
SECTION 7. No recall petition shall be filed against an officer within 3 months after he takes office, nor, in the case of an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled thereby, until at least 3 months have elapsed after the election at which the recall was submitted to the voters of the town.