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Florida > The Florida Election Code > General, Primary, Special, Bond, And Referendum Elections

§ 100.361 Municipal recall.

Statute

(1) APPLICATION; DEFINITION.Any member of the governing body of a municipality or charter county, hereinafter referred to in this section as “municipality,” may be removed from office by the electors of the municipality. When the official represents a district and is elected only by electors residing in that district, only electors from that district are eligible to sign the petition to recall that official and are entitled to vote in the recall election. When the official represents a district and is elected at-large by the electors of the municipality, all electors of the municipality are eligible to sign the petition to recall that official and are entitled to vote in the recall election. Where used in this section, the term “district” shall be construed to mean the area or region of a municipality from which a member of the governing body is elected by the electors from such area or region. Members may be removed from office pursuant to the procedures provided in this section. This method of removing members of the governing body of a municipality is in addition to any other method provided by state law.

(2) RECALL PETITION.

(a) Petition content.A petition shall contain the name of the person sought to be recalled and a statement of grounds for recall. The statement of grounds may not exceed 200 words, and the stated grounds are limited solely to those specified in paragraph (d). If more than one member of the governing body is sought to be recalled, whether such member is elected by the electors of a district or by the electors of the municipality at-large, a separate recall petition shall be prepared for each member sought to be recalled. Upon request, the content of a petition should be, but is not required to be, provided by the proponent in alternative formats.

(b) Requisite signatures.

1. In a municipality or district of fewer than 500 electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 50 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.
2. In a municipality or district of 500 or more but fewer than 2,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 100 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.
3. In a municipality or district of 2,000 or more but fewer than 5,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 250 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.
4. In a municipality or district of 5,000 or more but fewer than 10,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 500 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.
5. In a municipality or district of 10,000 or more but fewer than 25,000 registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 1,000 electors or by 10 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.
6. In a municipality or district of 25,000 or more registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 1,000 electors or by 5 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.

All signatures shall be obtained, as provided in paragraph (e), within a period of 30 days, and all signed and dated petition forms shall be filed at the same time, no later than 30 days after the date on which the first signature is obtained on the petition.

(c) Recall committee.Electors of the municipality or district making charges contained in the statement of grounds for recall, as well as those signing the recall petition, shall be designated as the recall committee. A specific person shall be designated in the petition as chair of the committee, and this person shall act for the committee. The recall committee and the officer being recalled are subject to the provisions of chapter 106.

(d) Grounds for recall.The grounds for removal of elected municipal officials shall, for the purposes of this act, be limited to the following and must be contained in the petition:

1. Malfeasance;
2. Misfeasance;
3. Neglect of duty;
4. Drunkenness;
5. Incompetence;
6. Permanent inability to perform official duties; and
7. Conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.
(e) Signature process.Only electors of the municipality or district are eligible to sign the petition. Each elector signing a petition shall sign and date his or her name in ink or indelible pencil. Each petition shall contain appropriate lines for each elector’s original signature, printed name, street address, city, county, voter registration number or date of birth, and date signed. The form shall also contain lines for an oath, to be executed by a witness who is to verify the fact that the witness saw each person sign the counterpart of the petition, that each signature appearing thereon is the genuine signature of the person it purports to be, and that the petition was signed in the presence of the witness on the date indicated.
(f) Filing of signed petitions.All signed petition forms shall be filed at the same time, no later than 30 days after the date on which the first signature is obtained on the petition. The person designated as chair of the committee shall file the signed petition forms with the auditor or clerk of the municipality or charter county, or his or her equivalent, hereinafter referred to as “clerk.” The petition may not be amended after it is filed with the clerk.

(g) Verification of signatures.

1. Immediately after the filing of the petition forms, the clerk shall submit such forms to the county supervisor of elections. No more than 30 days after the date on which all petition forms are submitted to the supervisor by the clerk, the supervisor shall promptly verify the signatures in accordance with s. 99.097, and determine whether the requisite number of valid signatures has been obtained for the petition. The committee seeking verification of the signatures shall pay in advance to the supervisor the sum of 10 cents for each signature checked or the actual cost of checking such signatures, whichever is less.
2. Upon filing with the clerk, the petition and all subsequent papers or forms required or permitted to be filed with the clerk in connection with this section must, upon request, be made available in alternative formats by the clerk.
3. If the supervisor determines that the petition does not contain the requisite number of verified and valid signatures, the clerk shall, upon receipt of such written determination, so certify to the governing body of the municipality or charter county and file the petition without taking further action, and the matter shall be at an end. No additional names may be added to the petition, and the petition shall not be used in any other proceeding.
4. If the supervisor determines that the petition has the requisite number of verified and valid signatures, then the procedures outlined in subsection (3) must be followed.

(3) RECALL PETITION AND DEFENSE.

(a) Notice.Upon receipt of a written determination that the requisite number of signatures has been obtained, the clerk shall at once serve upon the person sought to be recalled a certified copy of the petition. Within 5 days after service, the person sought to be recalled may file with the clerk a defensive statement of not more than 200 words.
(b) Content and preparation.Within 5 days after the date of receipt of the defensive statement or after the last date a defensive statement could have been filed, the clerk shall prepare a document entitled “Recall Petition and Defense.” The “Recall Petition and Defense” shall consist of the recall petition, including copies of the originally signed petitions and counterparts. The “Recall Petition and Defense” must contain lines which conform to the provisions of paragraph (2)(e), and the defensive statement or, if no defensive statement has been filed, a statement to that effect. The clerk shall make copies of the “Recall Petition and Defense” which are sufficient to carry the signatures of 30 percent of the registered electors. Immediately after preparing and making sufficient copies of the “Recall Petition and Defense,” the clerk shall deliver the copies to the person designated as chair of the committee and take his or her receipt therefor.
(c) Requisite signatures.Upon receipt of the “Recall Petition and Defense,” the committee may circulate them to obtain the signatures of 15 percent of the electors. All signatures shall be obtained and all signed petition forms filed with the clerk no later than 60 days after delivery of the “Recall Petition and Defense” to the chair of the committee.
(d) Signed petitions; request for striking name.The clerk shall assemble all signed petitions, check to see that each petition is properly verified by the oath of a witness, and submit such petitions to the county supervisor of elections. Any elector who signs a recall petition has the right to demand in writing that his or her name be stricken from the petition. A written demand signed by the elector shall be filed with the clerk, and, upon receipt of the demand, the clerk shall strike the name of the elector from the petition and place his or her initials to the side of the signature stricken. However, a signature may not be stricken after the clerk has delivered the “Recall Petition and Defense” to the supervisor for verification of the signatures.
(e) Verification of signatures.Within 30 days after receipt of the signed “Recall Petition and Defense,” the supervisor shall determine the number of valid signatures, purge the names withdrawn, and certify whether 15 percent of the qualified electors of the municipality have signed the petitions. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each name checked.
(f) Reporting.If the supervisor determines that the requisite number of signatures has not been obtained, the clerk shall, upon receipt of such written determination, certify such determination to the governing body and retain the petitions. The proceedings shall be terminated, and the petitions shall not again be used. If the supervisor determines that at least 15 percent of the qualified electors signed the petition, the clerk shall, immediately upon receipt of such written determination, serve notice of that determination upon the person sought to be recalled and deliver to the governing body a certificate as to the percentage of qualified electors who signed.
(4) RECALL ELECTION.If the person designated in the petition files with the clerk, within 5 days after the last-mentioned notice, his or her written resignation, the clerk shall at once notify the governing body of that fact, and the resignation shall be irrevocable. The governing body shall then proceed to fill the vacancy according to the provisions of the appropriate law. In the absence of a resignation, the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the municipality is located shall fix a day for holding a recall election for the removal of those not resigning. Any such election shall be held not less than 30 days or more than 60 days after the expiration of the 5-day period last-mentioned and at the same time as any other general or special election held within the period; but if no such election is to be held within that period, the judge shall call a special recall election to be held within the period aforesaid.

(5) BALLOTS.The ballots at the recall election shall conform to the following: With respect to each person whose removal is sought, the question shall be submitted: “Shall   be removed from the office of   by recall?” Immediately following each question there shall be printed on the ballots the two propositions in the order here set forth:

  (name of person)   should be removed from office.”

  (name of person)   should not be removed from office.”

(6) FILLING OF VACANCIES; SPECIAL ELECTIONS.

(a) If an election is held for the recall of members elected only at-large, candidates to succeed them for the unexpired terms shall be voted upon at the same election and shall be elected in the same manner as provided by the appropriate law for the election of candidates at general elections. Candidates shall not be elected to succeed any particular member. If only one member is removed, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected to fill the vacancy. If more than one member is removed, candidates equal in number to the number of members removed shall be declared elected to fill the vacancies; and, among the successful candidates, those receiving the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected for the longest terms. Cases of ties, and all other matters not herein specially provided for, shall be determined by the rules governing elections generally.
(b) If an election is held for the recall of members elected only from districts, candidates to succeed them for the unexpired terms shall be voted upon at a special election called by the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the districts are located not less than 30 days or more than 60 days after the expiration of the recall election. The qualifying period, for purposes of this section, shall be established by the chief judge of the judicial circuit after consultation with the clerk. Any candidate seeking election to fill the unexpired term of a recalled district municipal official shall reside in the district represented by the recalled official and qualify for office in the manner required by law. Each candidate receiving the highest number of votes for each office in the special district recall election shall be declared elected to fill the unexpired term of the recalled official. Candidates seeking election to fill a vacancy created by the removal of a municipal official shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 106.
(c) When an election is held for the recall of members of the governing body composed of both members elected at-large and from districts, candidates to succeed them for the unexpired terms shall be voted upon at a special election as provided in paragraph (b).
(d) However, in any recall election held pursuant to paragraph (b) or paragraph (c), if only one member is voted to be removed from office, the vacancy created by the recall shall be filled by the governing body according to the provisions of the appropriate law for filling vacancies.
(7) EFFECT OF RESIGNATIONS.If the member of the governing body being recalled resigns from office prior to the recall election, the remaining members shall fill the vacancy created according to the appropriate law for filling vacancies. If all of the members of the governing body are sought to be recalled and all of the members resign prior to the recall election, the recall election shall be canceled, and a special election shall be called to fill the unexpired terms of the resigning members. If all of the members of the governing body are sought to be recalled and any of the members resign prior to the recall election, the proceedings for the recall of members not resigning and the election of successors to fill the unexpired terms shall continue and have the same effect as though there had been no resignation.
(8) WHEN PETITION MAY BE FILED.No petition to recall any member of the governing body of a municipality shall be filed until the member has served one-fourth of his or her term of office. No person removed by a recall, or resigning after a petition has been filed against him or her, shall be eligible to be appointed to the governing body within a period of 2 years after the date of such recall or resignation.
(9) RETENTION OF PETITION.The clerk shall preserve in his or her office all papers comprising or connected with a petition for recall for a period of 2 years after they were filed.
(10) OFFENSES RELATING TO PETITIONS.No person shall impersonate another, purposely write his or her name or residence falsely in the signing of any petition for recall or forge any name thereto, or sign any paper with knowledge that he or she is not a qualified elector of the municipality. No person shall employ or pay another to accept employment or payment for circulating or witnessing a recall petition. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree and shall, upon conviction, be punished as provided by law.
(11) INTENT.It is the intent of the Legislature that the recall procedures provided in this act shall be uniform statewide. Therefore, all municipal charter and special law provisions which are contrary to the provisions of this act are hereby repealed to the extent of this conflict.
(12) PROVISIONS APPLICABLE.The provisions of this act shall apply to cities and charter counties whether or not they have adopted recall provisions.

History:

ss. 1, 2, ch. 74-130; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 12, ch. 77-175; s. 1, ch. 77-279; s. 1, ch. 81-312; s. 20, ch. 83-217; s. 17, ch. 89-338; s. 15, ch. 90-315; s. 549, ch. 95-147; s. 14, ch. 95-280; s. 1, ch. 2000-249; s. 5, ch. 2001-40; s. 8, ch. 2002-281; s. 13, ch. 2008-95.

Definition [Governing Body]

As used in ss. 101.292-101.295, “governing body” means the board of county commissioners of a county or any other governing body empowered by general or special act or local ordinance to purchase or sell voting equipment. Fla. Stat. § 101.292(1).

Definition [General Election]

An election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years, for the purpose of filling national, state, county, and district offices and for voting on constitutional amendments not otherwise provided for by law. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(16).

Definition [Special Election]

A special election called for the purpose of voting on a party nominee to fill a vacancy in the national, state, county, or district office. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(34).

Definition [Alternative Formats]

(3) “Alternative formats” has the meaning ascribed in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-336, 42 U.S.C. ss. 12101 et seq., including specifically the technical assistance manuals promulgated thereunder, as amended. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(4).

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded. Fla. Stat. § 101.5603(2).

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

Definition [Elector]

“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(15).

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(6).