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Session Law

2006

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Chapter 398 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR RECALL ELECTIONS IN THE TOWN OF HATFIELD.

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 elective office in the town of Hatfield 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. Ten per cent or more of the qualified persons registered to vote may make and 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. Upon certification of the required signatures, the clerk shall forthwith deliver to the first named voter on the affidavit of the petition blanks addressed to the board of selectmen demanding the recall, copies of which printed forms the clerk shall keep available. 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 first 10 registered voters whose names appear on the recall affidavit, the name of the person and the position of the person whose recall is sought, and the grounds of the 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 30 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. The town clerk shall, within 72 hours following the day of the filing with the office of the town clerk, submit the recall petition forms to the board of registrars of voters in the town, and the registrars shall, within 5 work days after the day of receipt, certify in writing thereon the number of signatures which are names of registered voters of the town. The board of registrars of voters, upon completion of their certification, shall return the recall petition forms to the town clerk.

SECTION 3. If the recall petition forms shall be certified by the board of registrars of voters to contain at least 20 per cent of the qualified persons registered to vote and if the petition shall be found and certified by the town clerk to be sufficient, the town clerk shall give notice without delay, in writing, to the elected officer, whose recall is sought by sending to that officer a copy of the affidavit and the recall petition form together with notice of the number of qualified voters certified by the board of registrars of voters who signed the recall petition forms and the total number of qualified voters in the town as of the most recent town election.

If the officer to whom notice is directed by the town clerk does not resign the office within 5 calendar 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 90 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, but only ballots for new candidates shall be counted.

SECTION 4. An officer sought to be removed may be a candidate to succeed himself in an election to be held to fill the vacancy, and unless the officer requests otherwise in writing, the town clerk shall place the officer’s 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 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 considered removed upon the qualification of a successor, who shall hold office during the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within 10 days after receiving notification of election, the incumbent shall thereupon be considered removed and the office vacant.

SECTION 6. Ballots used in a recall election shall contain 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. A recall petition shall not be filed against an officer within 6 months after he takes office, nor, in the case of an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled thereby, until at least 6 months have elapsed after the election at which the recall was submitted to the voters of the town.

SECTION 8. A person who has been recalled from an office or who has resigned from office while recall proceedings were pending against him shall not be appointed to any town office within 2 years after the recall or resignation.

Approved December 31, 2006.


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