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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR RECALL ELECTIONS IN THE TOWN OF HAWLEY.

     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 Hawley may be recalled from that office by the registered voters of the town for conduct that substantially damages the town, or the town’s citizens, environment or public image, following the procedures provided in this act.
     SECTION 2.  Not less than 20 registered voters of the town of Hawley may file with the town clerk a recall affidavit, using either a blank recall affidavit as prepared by the town clerk or an affidavit substantially similar to that, containing the name and position of the officer whose recall is sought and a statement of the grounds for the recall. Upon certification of the required signatures by the registrars of voters, a copy of the filed and certified affidavit shall be conveyed by the town clerk without delay to the officer whose recall is being sought and, simultaneously, to the board of selectmen.  The town clerk shall also immediately deliver to the first named voter on the affidavit copies of petition forms, addressed to the board of selectmen, demanding the recall, copies of which the town clerk shall keep available. The petition forms shall be issued by the town clerk with the signature and official seal of the town clerk attached to them. The petition forms shall be dated and shall contain the names of the first 20 registered voters whose names appear on the recall affidavit, the name and position of the officer whose recall is sought and the specific grounds of recall as stated on the affidavit and the petition forms shall demand the election of a successor to the office. A copy of the petition forms shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of the town clerk. The recall petition forms shall be returned and filed with the town clerk not later than 21 days after the delivery of the petition forms and shall be signed by not less than 25 per cent of the registered voters of the town.  Every signature shall include the place of residence of the signer, including the street and number, if any. The town clerk shall, not later than 72 hours after receipt of the signed petition forms, submit the forms to the registrars of voters in the town and the registrars shall certify on the forms the number of signatures which are the names of registered voters of the town.
     SECTION 3.  If the petition forms shall be found and certified by the town clerk to be sufficient, the town clerk shall without delay submit the same, with the certificate to that effect, to the board of selectmen. The board of selectmen shall immediately give written notice of the receipt of the certificate, either by hand or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the officer whose recall is being sought. If the officer does not resign within 5 days after receipt of the notice, the board of selectmen shall immediately order an election to be held on a date fixed by them, not less than 64 days nor more than 90 days after the date on which they ordered the election; provided, however, that if any other town election is scheduled to occur within 100 days of that date, the board of selectmen shall postpone the holding of the recall election to the date of the other election, if it is practically and legally possible, and the question of the recall shall appear on the ballot of 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, however, only the votes cast for candidates to replace the officer whose recall was sought shall be counted.
     At the request of the officer whose recall is sought the selectmen shall call a special town meeting to take place not less than 21 days before the ordered recall election, for the sole purpose of discussing the recall matter. Both the petitioners and the officer whose recall is being sought shall have the opportunity to make a statement supporting or opposing the recall.
     SECTION 4.  An officer whose recall is being sought may be a candidate to succeed in the office.  The nomination of candidates, the publication of the warrant for the recall election and the conduct of the same shall be in accordance with the laws relating to elections.
     SECTION 5.  The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of the office until the recall election. If not recalled, the incumbent shall continue in office for the remainder of the unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in this act. If recalled, the incumbent shall be considered removed. 
     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)
          Against the recall of (name of officer), (office)
     Immediately to the right of each proposition there shall be a designated place for voter to vote for either of the propositions. Under the propositions 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, as provided above in section 4. 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. If a majority of votes cast upon the question of recall is in the negative, the ballots cast for candidates to fill the potential vacancy shall not be counted.
     SECTION 7.  A recall petition shall not be filed against an officer during the 6 months after the officer takes office, nor in the last 6 months of the term, nor in the case of an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled thereby, until 6 months after the previous recall election.
     SECTION 8.  No officer who has been recalled from an office or who has resigned from an office while proceedings were pending against that officer shall be appointed to the same office within 1 year after the recall or resignation.
     SECTION 9.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, January 13, 2017