Session Law

2014

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Chapter 137 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR RECALL ELECTIONS IN THE TOWN OF LANCASTER

     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 elected office in the town of Lancaster may be recalled from office for any reason by the registered voters of the town as provided in this act.
     SECTION 2.  Fifty or more registered voters may file an initial recall affidavit containing their names and addresses with the town clerk. The affidavit shall also contain: (i) the name of the officer; (ii) the office sought to be recalled; and (iii) a statement of the grounds for recall. The town clerk shall immediately forward the affidavit to the board of registrars for verification of signatures.
     SECTION 3.  Within 14 calendar days of receipt of the initial recall affidavit, the board of registrars shall verify the signatures on the initial recall affidavit.  If the affidavit is found to contain a sufficient number of signatures, the town clerk shall deliver to the first 10 registered voters who signed the affidavit a formal numbered printed recall petition sheet with the town clerk’s official seal and addressed to the board of selectmen demanding the recall. The town clerk shall fill out the top portion of each recall petition sheet stating the name of the elected official, the grounds for recall in the petition, the names of the first 10 registered voters that signed the affidavit and demanding the election of a successor to the office. A copy of the recall petition shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of the town clerk.
     The registered voters that filed the affidavit shall have 30 days from the date of delivery of the recall petition sheets to file the signed recall petition sheets with the town clerk which shall contain the signatures, names and street addresses of at least 10 per cent of the registered voters in the town.
    Within 5 working days of receipt, the town clerk shall submit the recall petition sheets to the board of registrars and the board shall within 5 working days certify the number of signatures that are names of registered voters in the town.
     SECTION 4.  If the board of registrars certifies that the recall petition sheets are sufficient, the recall petition shall be submitted with the certificate of the board of registrars to the board of selectmen without delay. The board of selectmen shall immediately give written notice of the receipt of the certificate to the officer sought to be recalled. If the officer does not resign within 5 calendar days of the date the notice is given by the board of selectmen, then the board of selectmen shall promptly 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; provided, however, that if any other town election is scheduled to occur within 90 days after the date of the certificate, the board of selectmen may postpone the recall election to the date of the other election and may include the question of recall on the ballot for the other election. If a vacancy occurs in the office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall proceed as provided in this act.
     SECTION 5.  An officer sought to be removed may be a candidate to succeed the officer in an election held to fill the vacancy. 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 recall election and the conduct of the recall election shall be under the laws relating to elections unless otherwise provided in this act.
     SECTION 6.  The officer sought to be removed shall continue to perform the duties of the office until the recall election. If the officer is not recalled, the officer shall continue in office for the remainder of the unexpired term subject to recall except as provided in this act. If the officer is not re-elected in the recall election, the officer shall be considered removed from office immediately and the office shall be considered vacant.
     SECTION 7.  Ballots used in a recall election shall contain the following question: shall (insert name and office) be recalled from office? Immediately at the right of the proposition, there shall be a designated place for voters to vote for or against the proposition.      Following the proposition shall appear the word “Candidates” with directions to voters as required by section 42 of chapter 54 of the General Laws. Beneath the word “Candidates” appears the names of candidates nominated as provided in this act.
     If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall are in favor of recall, the officer shall be recalled and the votes for the candidates shall be counted. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected for the vacant office. If less than a majority of the votes cast are in favor of recall, the votes for candidates need not be counted.
     SECTION 8.  An initial recall affidavit shall not be filed against an officer within 3 months after the officer takes office or within the last 3 months of the term; provided, however, that an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled may not be recalled again until at least 3 months have elapsed after the election at which the recall was submitted to the voters of the town.
     SECTION 9.  A person who has been recalled from an office or who has resigned from office while a recall petition was pending against such person shall not be appointed to any town office within 2 years after the recall or resignation.
     SECTION 10.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, June 17, 2014.