AN ACT relative to direct recall elections.


SPONSORS: Rep. Sweeney, Rock. 8; Rep. Alexander Jr., Hills. 6; Rep. Berry, Hills. 44


COMMITTEE: Election Law






This bill provides a procedure for the direct recall of any local elected official serving a 3-year term.


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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.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


AN ACT relative to direct recall elections.


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


1  New Chapter; Recall of Local Elected Officials Serving a 3-Year Term.  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 local elected officials serving a 3-year term shall not be exclusive and shall be in addition to any other method of removal provided for directly or indirectly in other law.  This chapter shall only apply to local elected officials serving a 3-year term 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.  Any local elected official serving a 3-year term shall be subject to recall from such office.  The basis for recall shall be stated in the petition.  No such official shall be recalled for performing a mandatory duty of the office or for not performing any act that, if performed, would subject such official 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 an official but may only sign a petition for the recall of an official 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 official serving a 3-year term.

II.  No recall petition shall be filed against an official 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 official'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 official.  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 official 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 official who is the subject of the recall petition and entitled to vote, if the official is recalled, for the successor of the official 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 ............................, 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 recall election shall be called and shall be held at the same time as the next regularly scheduled municipal election.

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

671-A:10  Notification of Official.  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 official 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 official 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 official 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 official 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.  The incumbent official may file for election along with any other eligible and qualified candidates for the vacancy.  A recall election shall be held during the next regularly scheduled municipal election.

671-A:12  Conduct of Recall Election.

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

II.  A recall election for the recall of an official shall be in all respects, except as provided in this chapter, the same as the regular election for choosing such official.

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

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

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

671-A:14  Results Declared.

I.  The official 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 recall election do vote and if a majority of those voting on the question vote to remove the official, the office shall become vacant and the vacancy shall be filled as provided by law.  If fewer than 20 percent of those registered and qualified to vote at the recall election vote, the official 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 recall election do vote, but a majority vote not to recall the official, such person shall remain in office.

671-A:15  Effect of Recall or Resignation.  If an official is recalled or resigns pursuant to RSA 671-A:11, such official shall not be placed back in his or her vacated position except by regular election.

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




Revised 11/23/21





AN ACT relative to direct recall elections.


FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [ X ] Local              [    ] None




Estimated Increase / (Decrease)


FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

FY 2025













Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other


















Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase



This bill would statutorily create a process for recall elections for local officials who have been elected to three year terms.  Once the petitions requesting a recall election have been verified the Secretary of State is required to call for the special elections.  


The Department of State indicates this bill would increase local expenditures by an indeterminable amount.  The Department is unable to predict how many recall elections will be called and how many voters will be involved in participating in each recall election to determine the impact on expenditures.  


The Department of Justice indicated there will be an indeterminable increase on state expenditures.  The Department indicates an increase in recall elections would add a significant demand on the Attorney General staff.  The Department states that each election day requires coordination and coverage to provide on-the-ground and telephonic support to election officials and voters, then follow-up investigation and administrative or prosecutorial action based on referrals, complaints received, and affidavit reviews.


It is assumed the fiscal impact would not occur until FY 2023.



Department of State and Department of Justice