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The Florida Statutes

The 2000 Florida Statutes

Title IX
ELECTORS AND ELECTIONS
Chapter 100
General, Primary, Special, Bond, And Referendum Elections
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Section 100.361, Florida Statutes 2000

100.361  Municipal recall.--

(1)  RECALL PETITION.--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 by the following procedure:

(a)  A petition shall be prepared naming the person sought to be recalled and containing a statement of grounds for recall in not more than 200 words limited solely to the grounds specified in paragraph (b). 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.

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.

Electors of the municipality or district making charges contained in the statement of grounds for recall and those signing the recall petition shall be designated as the "committee." A specific person shall be designated in the petition as chair of the committee to act for the committee. Electors of the municipality or district are eligible to sign the petition. Signatures and oaths of witnesses shall be executed as provided in paragraph (c). All signatures shall be obtained within a period of 30 days, and the petition shall be filed within 30 days after the date the first signature is obtained on the petition.

(b)  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.

(c)  Each elector of the municipality signing a petition shall sign his or her name in ink or indelible pencil as registered in the office of the supervisor of elections and shall state on the petition his or her place of residence and voting precinct. Each petition shall contain appropriate lines for the signature, printed name, and street address of the elector and an oath, to be executed by a witness thereof, verifying 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.

(d)  The petition shall be filed with the auditor or clerk of the municipality or charter county, or his or her equivalent, hereinafter referred to as clerk, by the person designated as chair of the committee, and, when the petition is filed, the clerk shall submit such petition to the county supervisor of elections who shall, within a period of not more than 30 days after the petition is filed with the supervisor, determine whether the petition contains the required valid signatures. The petition cannot be amended after it is filed with the clerk. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each name checked.

(e)  If it is determined that the petition does not contain the required signatures, the clerk shall 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.

(f)  If it is determined that the petition has the required signatures, then 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. The clerk shall, within 5 days, prepare a sufficient number of typewritten, printed, or mimeographed copies of the recall petition and defensive statement, as well as the names, addresses, and oaths on the original petition, and deliver them to the person who has been designated as chair of the committee and take his or her receipt therefor. Such prepared copies shall be entitled "Recall Petition and Defense" and shall contain lines and spaces for signatures and printed names of registered electors, place of residence, election precinct number, and date of signing, together with oaths to be executed by the witnesses which conform to the provisions of paragraph (c). The clerk shall deliver forms sufficient to carry the signatures of 30 percent of the registered electors.

(g)  Upon receipt of the "Recall Petition and Defense," the committee may circulate them to obtain the signatures of 15 percent of the electors. Any elector who signs a recall petition shall have 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, no signature may be stricken after the clerk has delivered the "Recall Petition and Defense" to the supervisor of elections for verification.

(h)  Within 60 days after delivery of the "Recall Petition and Defense" to the chair, the chair shall file with the clerk the "Recall Petition and Defense" which bears the signatures of electors. 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, who shall determine the number of valid signatures, purge the names withdrawn, certify within 30 days whether 15 percent of the qualified electors of the municipality have signed the petitions, and report his or her findings to the governing body. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each name checked.

(i)  If the petitions do not contain the required signatures, the clerk shall report such fact to the governing body and file the petitions, the proceedings shall be terminated, and the petitions shall not again be used. If the signatures do amount to at least 15 percent of the qualified electors, the clerk shall serve notice of that fact upon the person sought to be recalled and deliver to the governing body a certificate as to the percentage of qualified voters who signed.

(2)  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.

(3)  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."


Immediately to the right of each of the propositions shall be placed a square on which the electors, by making a crossmark (X), may vote either of the propositions. Voting machines or electronic or electromechanical equipment may be used.

(4)  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.

(5)  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.

(6)  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. 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. This method of removing members of the governing body of a municipality is in addition to such other methods now or hereafter provided by the general laws of this state.

(7)  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 expenditures for campaigning for or against an officer being recalled shall be made until the date on which the recall election is to be held is publicly announced. The committee and the officer being recalled shall be subject to chapter 106. 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 shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree and shall, upon conviction, be punished as provided by law.

(8)  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.

(9)  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.