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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


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. The holder of an elected office in the city of Salem may be recalled therefrom by the registered voters of the city as provided in this act.

SECTION 2. A recall affidavit signed by at least 500 registered voters including at least 50 names of voters from each of the districts of the city for any official elected at large, and a recall affidavit signed by at least 100 registered voters residing in the incumbent's district for any officer elected by district, may be filed with the city clerk containing the name of the office whose recall is sought and a statement of the grounds for recall. Upon certification of the required signatures, the clerk shall thereupon deliver to the first named voter on the affidavit copies of petition blanks addressed to the city council demanding the recall, copies of which printed forms the clerk shall keep available. The blanks shall be issued by the clerk with his signature and official seal attached thereto. They shall be dated, 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 and 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 clerk. The recall petition shall be returned and filed with the clerk within 21 days after the filing of the affidavit and signed by at least 15 per cent of the registered voters of the city as of the date the affidavit was filed with the city clerk, including a minimum of 100 registered voters residing in each district of the city, for any official elected at large, and for officials elected by district, signed by at least 15 per cent of the registered voters in the district the official sought to be recalled represents on the date the affidavit was filed with the clerk. To every signature shall be added the place of residence of the signer, giving the street and number and the ward and precinct. The clerk shall, within 72 working hours of receipt thereof, certify thereon the number of signatures that are names of registered voters of the city.

SECTION 3. If the petition shall be found and certified by the city clerk to be sufficient, he shall submit the same with his certificate to the city council at its next scheduled meeting and the city council 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 thereafter, the council shall order an election to be held on a date fixed by them not less than 70 nor more than 90 days after the date of the clerk's certificate that a sufficient petition has been filed; but if any other city election is scheduled to occur within 100 days after the date of the certificate, the council shall postpone the holding of the recall election to the date of the 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 section.

SECTION 4. An officer sought to be removed may be a candidate to succeed himself and, unless he requests otherwise in writing, the city clerk shall place his name on the ballot without nomination and without the completion of a candidate's statement. The nomination of other 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 law relating to elections, unless otherwise provided in this act. However, no preliminary election shall be conducted. A candidate's statement shall be filed no later than the deadline for filing nomination papers with the board of registrars for certification.

SECTION 5. The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the recall election. If he is not recalled, he shall continue in office for the remainder of his unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in section 7. If he is recalled, he shall be deemed removed upon the qualifications of his successor, who shall hold office during the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within 5 days after receiving notification of his 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)(office held). Against the recall of (name of officer)(office held).

Adjacent to each proposition, there shall be a place to vote for either of the 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 and, beneath this, the names of candidates nominated. If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall is in the affirmative, then the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. If a majority of votes cast on the question is in the negative, then the ballots for candidates need not be counted. If fewer than 25 per cent of the registered voters of the city participate in the election of a recall for an official elected at-large, or if fewer than 25 per cent of the registered voters of a district participate in the election of a recall of an official elected by said district, no votes need be counted and the election shall be deemed to have determined that the incumbent should not be recalled.

SECTION 7. No recall petition shall be filed against an officer in the last 6 months of his term, nor in the case of an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled thereby, until at least 1 year after the election at which his recall was submitted to the voters of the city has elapsed.

SECTION 8. No person who has been recalled from an office or who has resigned from office while recall proceedings were pending against him shall be appointed to any city office within 2 years after the recall or resignation.

Approved January 1, 2003.