How Recall Elections Work…

I have stayed out of the whole EPC-wetlands mess with the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. (Wayne Garcia’s posts on the subject can be found under his “environment” tag here. You can also find some on Sticks of Fire’s “environment” tag here.)

In general, I understand both sides — we need to protect the environment, while not restricting the rights of property owners to develop their property. It’s a balance that can be hard to identify. And I have no real feeling on whether or not what the Hillsborough County Commission, sitting as the Environmental Protection Commission has decided.

That being said, there are a couple of local bloggers who are calling for a recall election for the four commissioners who originally voted to dissolve the wetlands division of the EPC.

I do not believe this is necessary or a good idea. However, for those who do, here are the high points of the process spelled out by Florida law.

1. 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. (Hillsborough is a “charter county”, and now any time you see “municipality” below, it includes the county commission.)

2. 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). (See # __ below)

3. 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.

4. 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.

(According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, there are more than 676,000 voters now, and 5% of that is almost 34,000 signatures to recall Norman and Blair. However, the “preceding election” was in 2006, so the applicable number is probably slightly less than that. In a district, it would be roughly 1/3rd of that number or around 11,500 – for Hagan and White)

5. 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.

6. 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.

7.(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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. The clerk shall, within 5 days, prepare a sufficient number of … 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 … . The clerk shall deliver forms sufficient to carry the signatures of 30 percent of the registered electors.

11. Upon receipt of the “Recall Petition and Defense,” the committee may circulate them to obtain the signatures of 15 percent of the electors. (101,000+ for county-wide, 34,000 or so for districts)

12. 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.

13. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each name checked.

14. 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.


Okay, did you get all of that??

First you get 5% of the voters to sign the petition within a 30-day period.

Then the commissioner gets to submit a statement of defense which is put on new petition forms, and you go get 15% of the voters to sign the forms within a 60-day period.

If that happens, only then will there be a recall election.

So, say it with me, kids.

“Not. Gonna. Happen.”

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
This entry was posted in Elections, Hillsborough County, Misc. Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How Recall Elections Work…

  1. voxy says:

    jim you’re developing quite a record for being in error. Yikes.

    BUT, the information is well appreciated.

    I’m sure there are those who would utilize it. MUCH LESS complicated than I thought.

    Which reminds me, since I brought this up my car has been broken into three times. Let’s see: missing keys, cellphone and now my laptop power source.

    Them wrestlers and miscreants — they got TO CLING to power now because the worst of them are not going to get away with it anymore.

    I could collect that many signatures in a bikini and a smile standing outside Joe Redner’s if I had a mind to. Tons of electors there. LOL.

    Could. Happen. Any Day.

    Love ya Jimmy but you’re wrong. They have made a lot of people VERY angry. The games being played with OUR money are NOT funny.
    Maybe you don’t mind because you’re not from here but Floridians are extremely upset to watch our state get sucked up.

    I just bought a new bikini, too.

    Stogie?? wanna put on your suit and join me???

    It’s always tilting at windmills until the bigger they are the harder they fall.

    Jim, again I IMPLORE: COME BACK TO THE LIGHT !!!!

    Please !!!

  2. Hey y’all.

    Yep, Jim, I found your blog today. I like it. I hope you don’t mind. Don’t tell nobody, ‘k?

    About that recall stuff. Yeah. It’s a detail-ridden, wacky process, but I imagine that’s for a reason, reckon? Otherwise everybody in office’d be gittin’ their heinies recalled, and I ain’t talkin’ about for no second audition before the director.

    I don’t know anything about the situation you’re talking about, but I understand the “Not. Gonna. Happen.” part. Any group that wants somebody removed, like REAL BAD, is gonna hang in there and git ‘er done, no matter how complicated the rules is/be.

    And when the group accomplishes its mission, it’ll be done according to the rules established by the Florida Legislature for that very purpose, for the very reasons the group sought the removal to begin with, and the group’s reasoning behind the removal will then be validated. I’m just sayin’.

    And who can argue with that?

    Except for me, because I’m trashy, and fussin’ and throwin’ out illogical rhetoric is what I does.

    I like your blog. I’ll be back.

    Your new BFF,
    Miss Trashahassee

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