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Citizens Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

What is the Citizens Initiative, Referendum, and Recall?

Voters (citizens) can adopt a change in a law (an initiative), disapprove a law passed by the Legislature (a referendum), or remove an elected official from office (a recall).

States

Citizens Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

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RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: no

All elected public officials in the State, except judicial officers, are subject to recall by the voters of the State or political subdivision from which elected. Procedures and grounds for recall shall be prescribed by the legislature

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

Every public officer in the state of Arizona, holding an elective office, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall from such office by the qualified electors of the electoral district from which candidates are elected to such office. Such electoral district may include the whole state. Such number of said electors as shall equal twenty-five per centum of the number of votes cast at the last preceding general election for all of the candidates for the office held by such officer, may by petition, which shall be known as a recall petition, demand his recall.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

(a) Recall of a state officer is initiated by delivering to the Secretary of State a petition alleging reason for recall. Sufficiency of reason is not reviewable. Proponents have 160 days to file signed petitions.

(b) A petition to recall a statewide officer must be signed by electors equal in number to 12 percent of the last vote for the office, with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1 percent of the last vote for the office in the county. Signatures to recall Senators, members of the Assembly, members of the Board of Equalization, and judges of courts of appeal and trial courts must equal in number 20 percent of the last vote for the office.

(c) The Secretary of State shall maintain a continuous count of the signatures certified to that office.

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

Every elective public officer of the state of Colorado may be recalled from office at any time by the registered electors entitled to vote for a successor of such incumbent through the procedure and in the manner herein provided for, which procedure shall be known as the recall, and shall be in addition to and without excluding any other method of removal provided by law.

The procedure hereunder to effect the recall of an elective public officer shall be as follows:

A petition signed by registered electors entitled to vote for a successor of the incumbent sought to be recalled, equal in number to twenty-five percent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding election for all candidates for the position which the incumbent sought to be recalled occupies, demanding an election of the successor to the officer named in said petition, shall be filed in the office in which petitions for nominations to office held by the incumbent sought to be recalled are required to be filed; provided, if more than one person is required by law to be elected to fill the office of which the person sought to be recalled is an incumbent, then the said petition shall be signed by registered electors entitled to vote for a successor to the incumbent sought to be recalled equal in number to twenty-five percent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding general election for all candidates for the office, to which the incumbent sought to be recalled was elected as one of the officers thereof, said entire vote being divided by the number of all officers elected to such office, at the last preceding general election; and such petition shall contain a general statement, in not more than two hundred words, of the ground or grounds on which such recall is sought, which statement is intended for the information of the registered electors, and the registered electors shall be the sole and exclusive judges of the legality, reasonableness and sufficiency of such ground or grounds assigned for such recall, and said ground or grounds shall not be open to review.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

The General Assembly is hereby authorized to provide by general law for the recall of public officials who hold elective office. The procedures, grounds, and all other matters relative to such recall shall be provided for in such law. Paragraph V. Vacancies created by elected officials qualifying for other office. The office of any state, county, or municipal elected official shall be declared vacant upon such elected official qualifying, in a general primary or general election, or special primary or special election, for another state, county, or municipal elective office or qualifying for the House of Representatives or the Senate of the United States if the term of the office for which such official is qualifying for begins more than 30 days prior to the expiration of such official’s present term of office. The vacancy created in any such office shall be filled as provided by this Constitution or any general or local law. This provision shall not apply to any elected official seeking or holding more than one elective office when the holding of such offices simultaneously is specifically authorized by law.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: no

Every public officer in the state of Idaho, excepting the judicial officers, is subject to recall by the legal voters of the state or of the electoral district from which he is elected. The legislature shall pass the necessary laws to carry this provision into effect.

RECALL

Executive: Governor Only 
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

(a) The recall of the Governor may be proposed by a petition signed by a number of electors equal in number to at least 15% of the total votes cast for Governor in the preceding gubernatorial election, with at least 100 signatures from each of at least 25 separate counties. A petition shall have been signed by the petitioning electors not more than 150 days after an affidavit has been filed with the State Board of Elections providing notice of intent to circulate a petition to recall the Governor. The affidavit may be filed no sooner than 6 months after the beginning of the Governor’s term of office. The affidavit shall have been signed by the proponent of the recall petition, at least 20 members of the House of Representatives, and at least 10 members of the Senate, with no more than half of the signatures of members of each chamber from the same established political party.

(b) The form of the petition, circulation, and procedure for determining the validity and sufficiency of a petition shall be as provided by law. If the petition is valid and sufficient, the State Board of Elections shall certify the petition not more than 100 days after the date the petition was filed, and the question “Shall (name) be recalled from the office of Governor?” must be submitted to the electors at a special election called by the State Board of Elections, to occur not more than 100 days after certification of the petition. A recall petition certified by the State Board of Elections may not be withdrawn and another recall petition may not be initiated against the Governor during the remainder of the current term of office. Any recall petition or recall election pending on the date of the next general election at which a candidate for Governor is elected is moot.

(c) If a petition to recall the Governor has been filed with the State Board of Elections, a person eligible to serve as Governor may propose his or her candidacy by a petition signed by a number of electors equal in number to the requirement for petitions for an established party candidate for the office of Governor, signed by petitioning electors not more than 50 days after a recall petition has been filed with the State Board of Elections. The form of a successor election petition, circulation, and procedure for determining the validity and sufficiency of a petition shall be as provided by law. If the successor election petition is valid and sufficient, the State Board of Elections shall certify the petition not more than 100 days after the date the petition to recall the Governor was filed. Names of candidates for nomination to serve as the candidate of an established political party must be submitted to the electors at a special primary election, if necessary, called by the State Board of Elections to be held at the same time as the special election on the question of recall established under subsection (b). Names of candidates for the successor election must be submitted to the electors at a special successor election called by the State Board of Elections, to occur not more than 60 days after the date of the special primary election or on a date established by law.

(d) The Governor is immediately removed upon certification of the recall election results if a majority of the electors voting on the question vote to recall the Governor. If the Governor is removed, then (i) an Acting Governor determined under subsection (a) of Section 6 of Article V shall serve until the Governor elected at the special successor election is qualified and (ii) the candidate who receives the highest number of votes in the special successor election is elected Governor for the balance of the term.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: no

All elected public officials in the state, except judicial officers, shall be subject to recall by voters of the state or political subdivision from which elected. Procedures and grounds for recall shall be prescribed by law.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: no

The legislature shall provide by general law for the recall by election of any state, district, parochial, ward, or municipal official except judges of the courts of record. The sole issue at a recall election shall be whether the official shall be recalled.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: no

Laws shall be enacted to provide for the recall of all elective officers except judges of courts of record upon petition of electors equal in number to 25 percent of the number of persons voting in the last preceding election for the office of governor in the electoral district of the officer sought to be recalled. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question.

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

A member of the senate or the house of representatives, an executive officer of the state identified in section 1 of article V of the constitution, or a judge of the supreme court, the court of appeals, or a district court is subject to recall from office by the voters. The grounds for recall of a judge shall be established by the supreme court. The grounds for recall of an officer other than a judge are serious malfeasance or nonfeasance during the term of office in the performance of the duties of the office or conviction during the term of office of a serious crime. A petition for recall must set forth the specific conduct that may warrant recall. A petition may not be issued until the supreme court has determined that the facts alleged in the petition are true and are sufficient grounds for issuing a recall petition. A petition must be signed by a number of eligible voters who reside in the district where the officer serves and who number not less than 25 percent of the number of votes cast for the office at the most recent general election. Upon a determination by the secretary of state that a petition has been signed by at least the minimum number of eligible voters, a recall election must be conducted in the manner provided by law. A recall election may not occur less than six months before the end of the officer’s term. An officer who is removed from office by a recall election or who resigns from office after a petition for recall issues may not be appointed to fill the vacancy that is created.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

(1) Any person holding a public office of the state or any of its political subdivisions, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall from office.
     (2) A public officer holding an elective office may be recalled by the qualified electors entitled to vote for the elective officer’s successor. A public officer holding an appointive office may be recalled by the qualified electors entitled to vote for the successor or successors of the elective officer or officers who have the authority to appoint a person to that position.
     (3) Physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense enumerated in Title 45 are the only grounds for recall. A person may not be recalled for performing a mandatory duty of the office that the person holds or for not performing any act that, if performed, would subject the person to prosecution for official misconduct. Read more

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes 

Every public officer in the State of Nevada is subject, as herein provided, to recall from office by the registered voters of the state, or of the county, district, or municipality which he represents. For this purpose, not less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the number who actually voted in the state or in the county, district, or municipality which he represents, at the election in which he was elected, shall file their petition, in the manner herein provided, demanding his recall by the people. They shall set forth in said petition, in not exceeding two hundred (200) words, the reasons why said recall is demanded. If he shall offer his resignation, it shall be accepted and take effect on the day it is offered, and the vacancy thereby caused shall be filled in the manner provided by law. If he shall not resign within five (5) days after the petition is filed, a special election shall be ordered to be held within thirty (30) days after the issuance of the call therefore, in the state, or county, district, or municipality electing said officer, to determine whether the people will recall said officer. On the ballot at said election shall be printed verbatim as set forth in the recall petition, the reasons for demanding the recall of said officer, and in not more than two hundred (200) words, the officer’s justification of his course in office. He shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the result of said election shall be finally declared. Other candidates for the office may be nominated to be voted for at said special election. The candidate who shall receive highest number of votes at said special election shall be deemed elected for the remainder of the term, whether it be the person against whom the recall petition was filed, or another. The recall petition shall be filed with the officer with whom the petition for nomination to such office shall be filed, and the same officer shall order the special election when it is required. No such petition shall be circulated or filed against any officer until he has actually held his office six (6) months, save and except that it may be filed against a senator or assemblyman in the legislature at any time after ten (10) days from the beginning of the first session after his election. After one such petition and special election, no further recall petition shall be filed against the same officer during the term for which he was elected, unless such further petitioners shall pay into the public treasury from which the expenses of said special election have been paid, the whole amount paid out of said public treasury as expenses for the preceding special election. Such additional legislation as may aid the operation of this section shall be provided by law.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: no

a. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people, and they have the right at all times to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it.

b. The people reserve unto themselves the power to recall, after at least one year of service, any elected official in this State or representing this State in the United States Congress. The Legislature shall enact laws to provide for such recall elections. Any such laws shall include a provision that a recall election shall be held upon petition of at least 25% of the registered voters in the electoral district of the official sought to be recalled. If legislation to implement this constitutional amendment is not enacted within one year of the adoption of the amendment, the Secretary of State shall, by regulation, implement the constitutional amendment, except that regulations adopted by the Secretary of State shall be superseded by any subsequent legislation consistent with this constitutional amendment governing recall elections. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

[1] While the legislative power of this state shall be vested in a legislative assembly consisting of a senate and a house of representatives, the people reserve the power to propose and enact laws by the initiative, including the call for a constitutional convention; to approve or reject legislative Acts, or parts thereof, by the referendum; to propose and adopt constitutional amendments by the initiative; and to recall certain elected officials. This article is self-executing and all of its provisions are mandatory. Laws may be enacted to facilitate and safeguard, but not to hamper, restrict, or impair these powers.

[2] A petition to initiate or to refer a measure must be presented to the secretary of state for approval as to form. A request for approval must be presented over the names and signatures of twenty-five or more electors as sponsors, one of whom must be designated as chairman of the sponsoring committee. The secretary of state shall approve the petition for circulation if it is in proper form and contains the names and addresses of the sponsors and the full text of the measure.

The legislative assembly may provide by law for a procedure through which the legislative council may establish an appropriate method for determining the fiscal impact of an initiative measure and for making the information regarding the fiscal impact of the measure available to the public.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

(1) Every public officer in Oregon is subject, as herein provided, to recall by the electors of the state or of the electoral district from which the public officer is elected.

(2) Fifteen per cent, but not more, of the number of electors who voted for Governor in the officer’s electoral district at the most recent election at which a candidate for Governor was elected to a full term, may be required to file their petition demanding the officer’s recall by the people.

(3) They shall set forth in the petition the reasons for the demand.

(4) If the public officer offers to resign, the resignation shall be accepted and take effect on the day it is offered, and the vacancy shall be filled as may be provided by law. If the public officer does not resign within five days after the petition is filed, a special election shall be ordered to be held within 35 days in the electoral district to determine whether the people will recall the officer.

(5) On the ballot at the election shall be printed in not more than 200 words the reasons for demanding the recall of the officer as set forth in the recall petition, and, in not more than 200 words, the officer’s justification of the officer’s course in office. The officer shall continue to perform the duties of office until the result of the special election is officially declared. If an officer is recalled from any public office the vacancy shall be filled immediately in the manner provided by law for filling a vacancy in that office arising from any other cause.

(6) The recall petition shall be filed with the officer with whom a petition for nomination to such office should be filed, and the same officer shall order the special election when it is required. No such petition shall be circulated against any officer until the officer has actually held the office six months, save and except that it may be filed against a senator or representative in the legislative assembly at any time after five days from the beginning of the first session after the election of the senator or representative.

(7) After one such petition and special election, no further recall petition shall be filed against the same officer during the term for which the officer was elected unless such further petitioners first pay into the public treasury which has paid such special election expenses, the whole amount of its expenses for the preceding special election.

(8) Such additional legislation as may aid the operation of this section shall be provided by the legislative assembly, including provision for payment by the public treasury of the reasonable special election campaign expenses of such officer. But the words, “the legislative assembly shall provide,” or any similar or equivalent words in this constitution or any amendment thereto, shall not be construed to grant to the legislative assembly any exclusive power of lawmaking nor in any way to limit the initiative and referendum powers reserved by the people.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney-general, general treasurer shall be elected on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, quadrennially commencing A.D. 1994, and every four (4) years thereafter, and shall severally hold their offices, subject to recall as provided herein, for four (4) years from the first Tuesday of January next succeeding their election and until their successors are elected and qualified. No person shall serve consecutively in the same general office for more than two (2) full terms, excluding any partial term of less than two (2) years previously served. The senators and representatives in the general assembly shall be elected on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, biennially in even numbered years, and shall severally hold their offices for two (2) years from the first Tuesday of January next succeeding their election and until their successors are elected and qualified. Recall is authorized in the case of a general officer who has been indicted or informed against for a felony, convicted of a misdemeanor, or against whom a finding of probable cause of violation of the code of ethics has been made by the ethics commission. Recall shall not, however be instituted at any time during the first six (6) months or the last year of an individual’s term of office. Such a recall may be instituted by filing with the state board of elections an application for issuance of a recall petition against said general officer which is signed by duly qualified electors equal to three percent (3%) of the total number of votes cast at the last preceding general election for that office. If, upon verification, the application is determined to contain signatures of the required number of electors, the state board of elections shall issue a recall petition for circulation amongst the electors of the state. Within ninety (90) days of issuance, recall petitions containing the signatures of duly qualified electors constituting fifteen percent (15%) of the total number of votes cast in the last preceding general election for said office must be filed with the state board of elections. The signatures to the application and to the recall petition need not all be on one (1) sheet of paper, but each such application and petition must contain an identical statement naming the person to be recalled, the general office held by said person, and the grounds for such recall set forth in a statement of one hundred (100) words or less approved by the board of elections. Each signatory must set forth his or her signature as it appears on the voting list, the date of signing, and his or her place of residence. The person witnessing the signatures of each elector on said petition must sign a statement under oath on said sheet attesting that the signatures thereon are genuine and were signed in his or her presence. If the requisite number of signatures are not obtained within said ninety (90) days period, the recall effort shall terminate. Upon verification of the requisite number of signatures, a special election shall be scheduled at which the issue of removing said office holder and the grounds therefore shall be placed before the electors of the state. If a majority of those voting support removal of said office holder, the office shall be immediately declared vacant and shall be filled in accordance with the constitution and laws of the state. The person so removed shall not be eligible to fill the unexpired portion of the term of office. The general assembly shall provide by statute for implementation of the recall process.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: ?
Legislative: ?
Judicial: no

Virginia is one of two states that provide for recall only through state statutes and not constitutional law. State pageRead more

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: no

Every elective public officer of the state of Washington expect [except] judges of courts of record is subject to recall and discharge by the legal voters of the state, or of the political subdivision of the state, from which he was elected whenever a petition demanding his recall, reciting that such officer has committed some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or who has violated his oath of office, stating the matters complained of, signed by the percentages of the qualified electors thereof, hereinafter provided, the percentage required to be computed from the total number of votes cast for all candidates for his said office to which he was elected at the preceding election, is filed with the officer with whom a petition for nomination, or certificate for nomination, to such office must be filed under the laws of this state, and the same officer shall call a special election as provided by the general election laws of this state, and the result determined as therein provided.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

RECALL

Executive: yes
Legislative: yes
Judicial: yes

The qualified electors of the state, of any congressional, judicial or legislative district or of any county may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective officer after the first year of the term for which the incumbent was elected, by filing a petition with the filing officer with whom the nomination petition to the office in the primary is filed, demanding the recall of the incumbent.

(1) The recall petition shall be signed by electors equalling at least twenty−five percent of the vote cast for the office of governor at the last preceding election, in the state, county or district which the incumbent represents.

(2) The filing officer with whom the recall petition is filed shall call a recall election for the Tuesday of the 6th week after the date of filing the petition or, if that Tuesday is a legal holiday, on the first day after that Tuesday which is not a legal holiday. (3) The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of the office until the recall election results are officially declared. (4) Unless the incumbent declines within 10 days after the filing of the petition, the incumbent shall without filing be deemed to have filed for the recall election. Other candidates may file for the office in the manner provided by law for special elections. For the purpose of conducting elections under this section:

(a) When more than 2 persons compete for a nonpartisan office, a recall primary shall be held. The 2 persons receiving the highest number of votes in the recall primary shall be the 2 candidates in the recall election, except that if any candidate receives a majority of the total number of votes cast in the recall primary, that candidate shall assume the office for the remainder of the term and a recall election shall not be held.
(b) For any partisan office, a recall primary shall be held for each political party which is by law entitled to a separate ballot

and from which more than one candidate competes for the party’s nomination in the recall election. The person receiving the highest number of votes in the recall primary for each political party shall be that party’s candidate in the recall election. Independent candidates and candidates representing political parties not entitled by law to a separate ballot shall be shown on the ballot for the recall election only.

(c) When a recall primary is required, the date specified under sub. (2) shall be the date of the recall primary and the recall

election shall be held on the Tuesday of the 4th week after the recall primary or, if that Tuesday is a legal holiday, on the first day after that Tuesday which is not a legal holiday.

(5) The person who receives the highest number of votes in the recall election shall be elected for the remainder of the term.

(6) After one such petition and recall election, no further recall petition shall be filed against the same officer during the term for which he was elected.

(7) This section shall be self−executing and mandatory. Laws may be enacted to facilitate its operation but no law shall be enacted to hamper, restrict or impair the right of recall.

RECALL

Executive: no
Legislative: no
Judicial: no

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