HB1205 (2008) Detail

Relative to the recall of selectmen.






AN ACT relative to the recall of selectmen.

SPONSORS: Rep. Lister, Rock 7

COMMITTEE: Municipal and County Government


This bill provides a procedure for the direct recall of selectmen.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eight

AN ACT relative to the recall of selectmen.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Chapter; Recall of Selectmen. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 671 the following new chapter:



671-A:1 Applicability. The method provided under this chapter for the recall of selectmen shall not be exclusive but shall be in addition to any other method of removal provided for directly or indirectly in other law. This chapter shall only apply to selectmen in towns, and not to towns that have adopted a charter under RSA 49-D or to any city.

671-A:2 Grounds for Recall. Selectmen shall be subject to recall from such office. The basis or bases for recall shall be stated in the petition. No selectman may be recalled for performing a mandatory duty of the office or for not performing any act that, if performed, would subject the selectman to prosecution for official misconduct.

671-A:3 Qualification to Petition. Every person who is a qualified voter as provided in RSA 654 may sign a petition for recall of a selectman but may only sign a petition for the recall of a selectman who is elected from the particular electoral district in which the person resides. Any person knowingly signing any name other than the person's own to any petition or knowingly signing more than once for the recall or who is not at the time of the signing a qualified voter is guilty of unsworn falsification under RSA 641:3 or tampering with public records or information under RSA 641:7, as appropriate.

671-A:4 Limitations on Recall Petitions.

I. A recall petition shall not name and shall not demand the recall of more than one selectman.

II. No recall petition shall be filed against a selectman for whom a recall election has been held previously during the current term of office.

671-A:5 Number of Voters Required. Recall petitions shall contain the signatures of qualified voters equaling at least 10 percent of the number of persons who were registered and qualified to vote at the last preceding general election in the selectman 's electoral district.

671-A:6 Filing of Recall Petitions.

I. No application for a recall petition shall be filed during the first 180 days or during the last 180 days of the term of office of any selectman. Recall petitions shall be filed with the town clerk.

II. If the town clerk refuses to accept the petition for recall with the proper number of signatures of qualified voters, any voter may within 10 days after such refusal apply to the superior court for a writ of mandamus. If it is determined that the petition is sufficient, the superior court shall order the petition to be filed with a certified copy of the writ attached to it, as of the date when it was originally offered for filing. On a showing that any filed petition is not sufficient, the court may enjoin certification of the petition under RSA 671-A:8, printing of the ballot under RSA 671-A:13, or holding the recall election.

III. All such suits or appeals under this section shall be advanced on the court docket and heard and decided by the court as expeditiously as possible.

IV. Any aggrieved party may file an appeal to the supreme court within 10 days after any adverse order or decision.

671-A:7 Form of Recall Petition.

I. The form of the recall petition shall be substantially as follows:


A person who knowingly signs a name other than the person's own to this petition or who knowingly signs more than once upon a petition to recall the same selectman at one election, or who is not, at the time of signing this petition, a registered and qualified voter of the town, of ........................... served by the selectman who is the subject of the recall petition and entitled to vote, if the selectman is recalled, for the successor of the selectman to be recalled is guilty of unsworn falsification or tampering with public records or information.


To the Honorable…................, (Name of town clerk) of......................:

We, the undersigned qualified voters of .............................

respectively petition that an election be held as provided by law on the question of whether............................, holding the office of selectman, should be recalled for the following reasons: (Setting out a general statement of the reasons for recall in not more than 200 words). By signature, each signer certifies: I have personally signed this petition and I am a qualified voter of ...................... and my residence and post office address are correctly written after my name to the best of my knowledge and belief:

.................................... ......................... ........................................... ...........................

Name (Print) Date of Signing Residence Address County of Residence



.................................................... .........................................................

(Printed Name of Signer) (Town)

II. Numbered lines shall follow the headings prescribed in paragraph I. Each numbered line shall contain spaces for the signature, post office address, county of residence, date of signing, and printed first and last name of the signer. Each separate sheet of the petition shall contain the heading and reasons for the proposed recall as prescribed in paragraph I.

III. The form prescribed in this section shall not be mandatory, and, if substantially followed, the petition shall be sufficient, notwithstanding mere clerical or technical errors.

671-A:8 Signature Verification. The town clerk shall compare the signatures on the petition with the signatures in the records of the supervisors of the checklist. If signatures equal to at least the required percentage of the persons qualified to vote in the electoral district as provided in RSA 671-A:5 are verified as genuine, a special recall election shall be called and shall be held no sooner than 12 days and no later than 3 weeks after the signatures are verified and certified under this section.

671-A:9 Call for Recall Election. A recall election shall be called by the secretary of state.

671-A:10 Notification of Selectman. When the recall petition is filed with the town clerk, the clerk shall send written notice of such filing by certified mail not more than 2 days after it is filed to the selectman named in the petition. Such notice shall be given before the signatures are verified. It shall state that a recall petition has been filed and shall notify the selectman named in the recall petition of the right to prepare and have printed on the ballot a statement containing not more than 200 words giving reasons why the selectman believes he or she should not be recalled. Such statement shall not be printed on the ballot unless it is delivered to the clerk within 10 days after the signatures have been verified.

671-A:11 Resignation. If the selectman named in the petition for recall submits his or her resignation in writing, it shall be accepted effective the day it is offered. A vacancy so created shall be filled as required by law, except that the selectman who resigned shall not be appointed to fill the vacancy. A special recall election may be combined with any other election if approval to do so is granted by the ballot law commission upon application to it.

671-A:12 Conduct of Special Recall Election.

I. The provisions of law applicable to the notice required for other special elections shall be applicable to the notice required for a special recall election. Such notice shall give the date of the holding of the special recall election and the purpose for it.

II. A special recall election for the recall of a selectman shall be in all respects, except as provided in this chapter, the same as the regular election for choosing such selectmen.

III. The costs of a special recall election shall be borne by the office of the secretary of state. The appropriate electoral district which holds the election shall receive such compensation for the costs of the election as shall be determined and approved by the secretary of state.

671-A:13 Form of Ballot. The ballot at a special recall election shall set forth the statement contained in the recall petition stating the reasons for demanding the recall of the selectman and the selectman's statement, if any, of reasons why he or she should not be recalled. Then the question of whether such selectman should be recalled shall be placed on the ballot in a form similar to the following:

FOR recalling..................who holds the office of selectman

AGAINST recalling...............who holds the office of selectman

671-A:14 Results Declared.

I. The selectman named in the recall petition shall continue in office until he or she resigns or the results of the recall election are officially declared.

II. If 20 percent or more of those registered and qualified to vote at the special recall election do vote and if a majority of those voting on the question vote to remove the selectman, the office shall become vacant and the vacancy shall be filled as provided by law, provided that the selectman recalled shall in no event be appointed to fill the vacancy. If fewer than 20 percent of those registered and qualified to vote at the special recall election vote, the selectman shall not be recalled regardless of the result of such vote and shall remain in office. If 20 percent or more of those qualified to vote at the special recall election do vote, but a majority vote not to recall the selectman, such person shall remain in office.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.



Revised 10/26/07


AN ACT relative to the recall of selectmen.


      The Secretary of State indicates this bill will increase state general fund expenditures and decrease local expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2008 and each year thereafter. There is no fiscal impact on county expenditures or state, county, and local revenue.


    The Secretary of State states this bill establishes a procedure for direct recall of selectmen and makes the state financially responsible for this new type of municipal election. Towns have historically been financially responsible for local elections. The Secretary of State is unable to determine the number of recall elections that might be conducted in a year or the costs associated with recall elections due to the varying population sizes in New Hampshire towns.


HB1205 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB1205 Revision: 11406 Date: Jan. 1, 2008, midnight