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Recall Process

A guideline prepared by the Office of the City Clerk

The following information is provided as a general guideline to the recall process in the City of San Diego.

For legal provisions, see SDMC, Chapter 2, Article 7, Division 27 (PDF)

ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL WHO HAS HELD OFFICE FOR SIX (6) MONTHS OR MORE, AND AGAINST WHOM NO RECALL PETITION HAS BEEN FILED WITHIN THE PRECEDING SIX (6) MONTHS, MAY BE RECALLED BY A MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS IN THE COUNCIL DISTRICT (FOR COUNCILMEMBERS) OR IN THE CITY (FOR THE MAYOR OR CITY ATTORNEY).

SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS

Before a recall petition may be submitted to the Council, it must contain the signatures of at least 15 percent (15%) of the registered voters in the City, for officials elected by City-wide vote, or in the district, for Councilmembers elected by district vote. No petition may be addressed to the recall of more than one official.


THE NUMBER OF VALID SIGNATURES REQUIRED FOR SUBMITTING A RECALL PETITION TO THE CITY COUNCIL IS BASED ON A PERCENTAGE OF THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS OF THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO AT THE LAST GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION. PLEASE CONTACT THE CLERK'S OFFICE, ELECTIONS DIVISION, AT (619) 533-4025 FOR THE NUMBER OF SIGNATURES CURRENTLY REQUIRED, OR SEE CURRENT SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS (PDF).


Outline of the Recall Process graphic

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE A PETITION

The proponents of a recall action shall publish a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition. The notice shall be published at least once in a daily newspaper of general circulation published in the City of San Diego. The notice of intention shall contain:

  1. The name and office of the person to be recalled, and
  2. A statement containing, in 300 words or less, the reasons for the petition. The statement must be signed by the individual proposing the petition, or in the case of an organization, by two (2) officers.

A sample format for such notice is given below:

NOTICE OF INTENT TO CIRCULATE PETITION

Notice is hereby given of the intention of the person(s) whose name(s) appear(s) hereon to circulate a petition within the City of San Diego for the purpose of
__________________________________________________.

A statement of the reasons for the proposed action as contemplated in said petition is as follows:

[Statement not to exceed 300 words]

Signature(s) of Proponent(s)

AFFIDAVIT OF PUBLICATION

Within ten (10) days after the date of publication of the notice of intention and statement, the proponent(s) shall file with the City Clerk a copy of the notice and statement as published together with an affidavit made by a representative of the newspaper in which the notice was published, certifying to the fact of publication.

NOTICE ON OFFICIAL

Within five (5) days after the date of publication of the notice of intention and statement, the proponent(s) shall cause a copy of the notice to be served, personally or by registered mail, on the official whose recall is sought. An Affidavit of Service showing the method of service shall be filed in the office of the Clerk.

OFFICIAL'S ANSWER

Within fourteen (14) days after the publication of the notice of intention to circulate a recall petition, the official whose recall is sought or his designated representative may answer to the statement. Such answer shall be three hundred (300) words or less in length and must be signed by the individual proposing the answer or, in the case of an organization, by two (2) officers. A copy of the answer, if any, shall be published by the proponent(s) at least once in a daily newspaper of general circulation. A published copy shall also be filed forthwith in the office of the Clerk.

THE PETITION

A recall petition shall contain the name and office of the person whose recall is sought, a copy of the notice of intention to circulate a recall petition and its accompanying statement, and if an answer has been filed, a copy of the answer. If no answer has been filed, the petition shall so state.

Proponents shall supply their own petition forms.

Each petition section shall consist of sheets of white paper uniform in size with dimensions no smaller than 8-1/2 by 11 inches or greater than 8-1/2 by 14 inches.

The sheets comprising each petition section shall be fastened together securely and remain so during circulation and filing.

The petition shall be in substantially the following form:

RECALL PETITION

PETITION FOR THE RECALL OF ____________________________

FROM THE OFFICE OF ___________________________________

(The title in the form prescribed above with the blank spaces filled in shall be set forth in full at the top of each page of the petition.)

We, the undersigned registered voters of (The City of San Diego, California) (Council District ___) demand the recall of __________________________ from the office of __________________________________.

The following are the reasons for demanding such recall:

(Here insert a copy of the published notice of intention and accompanying statement and the answer, if any. If the officer has not answered, a statement to that effect shall be inserted here.)






____________________ _____________________ __________
____________________
Signature of Proponent
_____________________
Residence
__________
Date

(NOTE: If an organization is seeking the recall of an officer, the statement shall be signed by two (2) officers of the organization.)

Form of Voter Signature Sheets for Recall Petition)

Name Residence Date Clerk's Use Only
1 Sign                              
Print






2 Sign                              
Print






3 Sign                              
Print






NOTE: Recall Petitions for Mayor or City Attorney may be signed by any voter of the City. Recall Petitions for Councilmembers who were elected by district vote may be signed only by voters within the district represented by the Councilmember.

Each section shall have attached to it the affidavit of the person soliciting the signatures. The affidavit of the circulator shall be in the following form:

AFFIDAVIT
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO )
) SS.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA )

Under penalty of perjury, I,
 
_________________________,
(Printed name of circulator)
declare:
 
That I am a registered voter of (The City of San Diego)(San Diego Unified School District) and that all of the signatures on each petition section were made in my presence and were observed by me, and that all of the sheets constituting this petition section were fastened together at the time such signatures were made; and that to the best of my knowledge and belief such signatures are the genuine signatures of the persons who have signed the petition; and that the signatures were obtained between:

________________________
(Beginning date of circulation)
and _________________________
(Final date of circulation)
________________________
(Circulator's Printed Name)
__________________________
(Circulator's Signature)
________________________
(Circulator's Residence)
_________________________
(Date Signed by Circulator)

CIRCULATING THE PETITION

Twenty-one (21) days after the publication of the notice of intention and statement, the petition may be circulated among the voters of the City for signatures by any registered voter of the City, for recall of the Mayor or City Attorney, or registered voters of the District, for recall of Councilmembers, providing that a copy of both the notice and affidavit of publication, as well as the affidavit of service, have been filed in the Office of the City Clerk as required.

SIGNING THE PETITION

Each voter signing the petition shall sign it in the manner prescribed below:

  1. Signature and printed name, executed by voter in his or her own handwriting.
  2. Place of residence, including street and house number, or other designation from which the location of the place of residence can be readily ascertained, affixed by the voter. Post office box numbers, business addresses, or mailing addresses are not permitted and, if used, shall make that voter's signature invalid.
  3. Date of signature, affixed by the voter.

Only a person who is a qualified registered voter at the time of signing the petition is entitled to sign it.

The number of signatures attached to each section shall be at the pleasure of the person soliciting the signature.

FILING THE PETITION

A recall petition shall be filed with the City Clerk by the proponent(s), or by any person or persons authorized in writing by the proponent(s). The petition shall be filed not more than 60 days after the date on which the notice of intention to circulate was published.

The petition must contain the required number of signatures prima facie ("on its face") to be accepted by the Clerk for filing.

VERIFICATION OF SIGNATURES

Within 30 days from the date of filing of the petition, the signatures on the petition shall be verified by the Clerk. The signatures may be verified by means of the random sampling method as provided for in California Election Code Section 9115.

CLERK'S CERTIFICATION

The City Clerk shall certify the results of the signature verification and send a notice of sufficiency (or insufficiency) to the proponent(s) or a representative of the proponent(s).

For a sufficient petition, the Clerk shall present the petition with certification attached to the Council, without delay, at the next regular Council meeting at which the matter can be placed on the docket.

SUPPLEMENTAL PETITION

At any time before the Clerk issues a notice of sufficiency or within thirty (30) days after the Clerk issues a notice of insufficiency, one supplemental petition may be filed.

The Clerk shall be allowed thirty (30) days from the filing date of the supplemental petition in which to verify signatures.

WITHDRAWAL OF SIGNATURE

Any person signing a petition or supplemental petition may withdraw his or her signature by filing a signed written request in the Office of the City Clerk prior to the time the petition or supplemental petition containing his or her signature is filed.

THE RECALL ELECTION

Once the petition is presented to the Council, the Council shall immediately call a special election. The election shall be held not less than sixty (60) days after adoption of the ordinance calling the election, but not later than ninety (90) days after such adoption.

If any other election is to be held within 120 days from the date the recall petition is presented to Council, at which the same voters are entitled to vote, then the Council may submit the recall proposal and the election of a successor at the latter election.

If the Clerk has filed the certificate of sufficiency but the election has not yet taken place, and a vacancy occurs in the position occupied by the official whose recall is sought, the election shall not be held.

Any officer whose recall is sought shall continue to serve until the Council has adopted its resolution declaring the results of the election which shows that a majority of the qualified voters have voted in favor of the recall.

A person who has been recalled, or who has resigned from office while recall proceedings were pending against him or her, shall not be a candidate for, nor appointed to such office, within one (1) year after the resignation or recall.

Recall ballots shall contain the name and office of the official whose recall is sought and the names of persons nominated to succeed the official. The statement published by the proponent(s) and the official's response, if any, shall be included in ballot materials.

If a majority approves the recall of the official and the Council adopts its resolution declaring the results accordingly, the candidate who receives the highest number of votes for the office shall be declared the winner.

The term of office of a successor elected as the result of a recall shall be for the unexpired term of his or her predecessor.

For legal provisions, see SDMC, Chapter 2, Article 7, Division 27 (PDF)

Revised September, 2000