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Recall

How to Recall A Long Beach Elected Official


LBREPORT.com occasionally receives email from readers interested in knowing how they and their neighbors can remove an incumbent Councilmember, other city elected official or LB School Board member. There are two ways:

  • (1) Vote them out at a regularly scheduled election when the incumbent's term is up; or

  • (2) Collect sufficient signatures (numbers below) of registered voters in the elected official's district within a limited period of time (periods below) using a proper recall petition (details below). That triggers a special election on whether the incumbent should be removed and, if so, who should replace him/her.

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Voting out an incumbent at a regularly scheduled election avoids the signature gathering process. Elections are automatic opportunities to elect candidates responsive to the public. However, sometimes issues only become visible after elections (when some incumbents think they are invulnerable.) A high visibility recall drive can focus voters' attention on issues that may make motivate otherwise apathetic or unaware residents to take action. If an incumbent has done something that angers or concerns enough voters, a recall can succeed.

The citywide offices of Mayor, City Attorney, City Prosecutor and City Auditor and district offices of Councilmembers in the 1st, 3d, 5th, 7th, and 9th districts are next up for regularly scheduled elections in April and June 2018. Councilmembers in the 2d, 4th, 6th and 8th Council districts were elected in April and June 2012 and will next be on the ballot in 2016.

A recall can be commenced against an elected official if they've held their current term for more than 90 days, unless a recall has been determined in his/her favor within the last six months, or his/her term of office ends within six months or less. (We provide CA Elections Code sections below.)

Recalls are easy to start but challening to finish successfully. They require attention to detail and intelligent planning.

Among the issues to consider is who will replace the incumbent if the recall proceeds. The person leading the recall movement usually has an advantage, because he/she can be expected to get community attention by virtue of repeatedly making the case against the incumbent. However, any legally qualified individual can seek the office and, if the recall succeeds, any person who chooses to run (not necessarily the recall leader) can win the election to the opened office.

We set forth below the detailed CA Elections Code requirements governing recalls. For quick reference, below are the number of valid recall petition signatures that must be collected within the time limits indicated from registered voters of the district represented by the incumbent.

Caveat: The numbers below are for general reference and should be updated prior to commencing a formal recall. Since voter registration numbers change, the number of signatures required for a recall changes. The numbers below are based on voter registration figures provided by the City Clerk's office as of the date indicated below.

City of LB elected offices (as of July 28, 2014)


Citywide offices: Mayor, City Attorney, City Prosecutor & City Auditor
Citywide voter registration: 255,864; Recall signatures needed: 25,586 collected within 160 days

Council Dist. 1 voter registration: 22,088 registered voters
Recall signatures needed: 4.416 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 2 voter registration: 29,048
Recall signatures needed: 5,808 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 3 voter registration: 36,688
Recall signatures needed: 7,336 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 4 voter registration: 26,992
Recall signatures needed: 5,398 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 5 voter registration: 35,727
Recall signatures needed: 7,144 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 6 voter registration: 21,940
Recall signatures needed: 4,388 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 7 voter registration: 30,518
Recall signatures needed: 6,102 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 8 voter registration: 27,575
Recall signatures needed: 5,514 collected within 120 days

Council Dist. 9 voter registration: 23,482
Recall signatures needed: 5,056 collected within 120 days

Long Beach Unified School District Boardmembers (as of July 28, 2014)
(includes Signal Hill, Avalon and small part of Lakewood)

School Board Dist. 1 voter registration: 54,210
Recall signatures needed: 10,842 collected within 120 days

School Board Dist. 2 voter registration: 47,676
Recall signatures needed: 9,534 collected within 120 days

School Board Dist. 3 voter registration: 48,230
Recall signatures needed: 9,646 collected within 120 days

School Board Dist. 4 voter registration: 64,300
Recall signatures needed: 13,860 collected within 160 days

School Board Dist. 5 voter registration: 73,011
Recall signatures needed: 14,602 collected within 160 days

The numbers above represent the minimum number of valid signatures required. As a practical matter, a larger number of signatures must be collected (many of which may be invalid) to ensure the valid number is met.

Below are pertinent sections of the CA Elections Code governing recalls:

CALIFORNIA CODES ELECTIONS CODE 11000. This division governs the recall of elective officers of the State of California and of all counties, cities, school districts, county boards of education, community college districts, special districts, and judges of courts of appeal and trial courts. It does not supersede the provisions of a city charter or county charter, or of ordinances adopted pursuant to a city charter or county charter, relating to recall. 11001. For the purposes of this division, judges of courts of appeal shall be considered state officers, and judges of trial courts shall be considered county officers. 11002. For the purposes of this division, "elections official" means one of the following: (a) A county elections official, including, but not necessarily limited to, a county clerk, in the case of the recall of elective officers of a county, school district, county board of education, community college district, or resident voting district, and of judges of trial courts. (b) A city elections official, including, but not necessarily limited to, a city clerk, in the case of the recall of elective officers of a city. (c) The secretary of the governing board in the case of the recall of elective officers of a landowner voting district or any district in which, at a regular election, candidate's nomination papers are filed with the secretary of the governing board. 11003. For the purposes of this division, "governing board" means a city council, the board of supervisors of a county, the board of trustees of a school district or community college district, or the legislative body of a special district, as the context requires. In the case of the recall of a trial court judge, "governing board" means the board of supervisors. 11004. For the purposes of this division, a "local officer" is an elective officer of a city, county, school district, community college district, or special district, or a judge of a trial court. 11005. The proponents of a recall must be registered voters of the electoral jurisdiction of the officer they seek to recall. 11006. Proceedings may be commenced for the recall of any elective officer, including any officer appointed in lieu of election or to fill a vacancy, by the service, filing and publication or posting of a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition pursuant to this chapter. 11007. Except when a person has been appointed to office pursuant to Section 10229 because no person had been nominated to office, proceedings may not be commenced against an officer of a city, county, special district, school district, community college district, or county board of education in the event of one or more of any of the following: (a) He or she has not held office during his current term for more than 90 days. (b) A recall election has been determined in his or her favor within the last six months. (c) His or her term of office ends within six months or less. 11020. The notice of intention shall contain all of the following: (a) The name and title of the officer sought to be recalled. (b) A statement, not exceeding 200 words in length, of the reasons for the proposed recall. (c) The printed name, signature, and business or residence address of each of the proponents of the recall. The minimum number of signatures shall be ten, or equal to the number of signatures required to have been filed on the nomination paper of the officer sought to be recalled, whichever is higher. (d) The provisions of Section 11023. 11021. A copy of the notice of intention shall be served by personal delivery, or by certified mail, on the officer sought to be recalled. Within seven days of serving the notice of intention, the original thereof shall be filed, along with an affidavit of the time and manner of service, with the elections official or, in the case of the recall of a state officer, the Secretary of State. A separate notice of intention shall be filed for each officer sought to be recalled. 11022. A copy of the notice, except the provisions required by subdivision (d) of Section 11020, shall be published at the proponents' expense pursuant to Section 6061 of the Government Code. Publication shall be required unless there is no newspaper of general circulation able to provide timely publication in the jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled. If this publication is not possible, the notice, except the provisions required by subdivision (d) of Section 11020, shall be posted in at least three public places within the jurisdiction of the officer to be recalled. 11023. (a) Within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, the officer sought to be recalled may file with the elections official, or in the case of a state officer, the Secretary of State, an answer, in not more than 200 words, to the statement of the proponents. (b) If an answer is filed, the officer shall, within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, also serve a copy of it, by personal delivery or by certified mail, on one of the proponents named in the notice of intention. (c) The answer shall be signed and shall be accompanied by the printed name and business or residence address of the officer sought to be recalled. 11024. The statement and answer are intended solely for the information of the voters. No insufficiency in form or substance thereof shall affect the validity of the election proceedings. 11040. (a) The petition may consist of any number of separate sections, which shall be duplicates except as to signatures and matters required to be affixed by signers and circulators. The number of signatures attached to each section shall be at the pleasure of the person soliciting the signatures. (b) Each section of the petition may consist of any number of separate pages. A page shall consist of each side of a sheet of paper on which any signatures appear. 11041. (a) The proponents shall use the recall petition format provided by the Secretary of State and available from the county elections official or the Secretary of State. Before any signature may be affixed to a recall petition, each page of each section must bear all of the following in no less than 8-point type: (1) A request that an election be called to elect a successor to the officer. However, if the officer is a justice of the Supreme Court or of a court of appeal, as specified in subdivision (a) of Section 16 of Article VI of the California Constitution, the request shall be that the Governor appoint a successor to the officer. (2) A copy of the notice of intention, including the statement of grounds for recall. For purposes of this paragraph, the copy of the notice of intention shall contain the names of at least 10 recall proponents that appear on the notice of intention and that are selected by the proponents. The elections official shall not require the names of more than 10 proponents to be included as part of the language of the notice of intention. The provisions of Section 11023 do not need to be included as part of the language of the notice of intention. (3) The answer of the officer sought to be recalled, if any. If the officer sought to be recalled has not answered, the petition shall so state. (b) All petition sections shall be printed in uniform size and darkness with uniform spacing. 11042. (a) Within 10 days after filing of the answer to the notice of intention, or, if no answer is filed, within 10 days after the expiration of the seven-day period specified in Section 11023, the proponents shall file two blank copies of the petition with the elections official in his or her office during normal office hours as posted or, in the case of a recall of a state officer, with the Secretary of State, in his or her office during normal office hours as posted, who shall ascertain if the proposed form and wording of the petition meets the requirements of this chapter. (b) At the time of the filing of the two blank copies of the petition, the proponents shall also file proof of publication of the notice of intention, if the notice of intention was published, or an affidavit of posting of the notice of intention, if the notice of intention was posted. The elections official or, in the case of a recall of a state officer, the Secretary of State, shall, within 10 days of receiving the blank copies of the petition, notify the proponents in writing of his or her finding. (c) If the elections official finds that the requirements of this chapter are not met, the elections official shall include in his or her findings a statement as to what alterations in the petition are necessary. The proponents shall, within 10 days after receiving the notification, file two blank copies of the corrected petition with the elections official in his or her office during normal office hours as posted. The 10-day correction notification period and the 10-day filing period for corrected petitions shall be repeated until the elections official or the Secretary of State finds no alterations are required. (d) No signature may be affixed to a recall petition until the elections official or, in the case of the recall of a state officer, the Secretary of State, has notified the proponents that the form and wording of the proposed petition meet the requirements of this chapter. 11043. (a) The petition sections shall be designed so that each signer shall personally affix all of the following: (1) His or her signature. (2) His or her printed name. (3) His or her residence address, giving street and number, or if no street or number exists, adequate designation of residence so that the location may be readily ascertained. (4) The name of the incorporated city or unincorporated community in which he or she resides. (b) A margin, at least one inch wide, shall be left blank across the top of each page of the petition. A margin, at least one-half inch wide, shall be left blank along the bottom of each page of the petition. (c) A space, at least one inch wide, shall be left blank after each name for the use of the elections official in verifying the petition. 11043.5. (a) The Secretary of State shall provide to county elections officials a recall petition format for distribution to proponents of a recall. The recall petition format shall be made available upon request by the county elections official and by the Secretary of State. (b) The recall petition format made available pursuant to this section shall be utilized by proponents of a recall election. 11044. Separate petitions are necessary to propose the recall of each officer. 11045. Only registered voters of the electoral jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled are qualified to circulate or sign a recall petition for that officer. 11046. To each section of a petition shall be attached a declaration, signed by the circulator thereof, that complies with Section 104. The declaration shall include a statement that the circulator is a registered voter in the jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled. 11047. When a petition is circulated in more than one county for the recall of an officer, each section of the petition shall bear the name of the county in which it is circulated, and only registered voters of that county may sign that section. 11200. This chapter shall apply to the recall of local officers. 11201. When the city or county elections official is the officer sought to be recalled, the duties imposed upon him or her shall be performed by some other person designated by the governing board. 11220. (a) A recall petition shall be submitted to the elections official for filing in his or her office during normal office hours as posted within the following number of days after the clerk or, in the case of a recall of a state officer, the Secretary of State, notifies the proponents that the form and wording of the petition meets the requirements of Article 3 (commencing with Section 11040) of Chapter 1: (1) Forty days if the electoral jurisdiction has less than 1,000 registered voters. (2) Sixty days if the electoral jurisdiction has less than 5,000 registered voters but at least 1,000. (3) Ninety days if the electoral jurisdiction has less than 10,000 registered voters but at least 5,000. (4) One hundred twenty days if the electoral jurisdiction has less than 50,000 registered voters but at least 10,000. (5) One hundred sixty days if the electoral jurisdiction has 50,000 registered voters or more. (b) For purposes of this section, the number of registered voters shall be that which was reported at the last report of registration by the county elections official to the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 2187 and prior to a finding of the elections official or Secretary of State that no alterations are required in the form of the recall petition pursuant to Section 11042. 11221. The number of qualified signatures required in order to qualify a recall for the ballot shall be as follows: (a) In the case of an officer of a city, county, school district, community college district, county board of education, or resident voting district, the number of signatures shall be equal in number to not less than the following percent of the registered voters in the electoral jurisdiction: (1) Thirty percent if the registration is less than 1,000. (2) Twenty-five percent if the registration is less than 10,000 but at least 1,000. (3) Twenty percent if the registration is less than 50,000 but at least 10,000. (4) Fifteen percent if the registration is less than 100,000 but at least 50,000. (5) Ten percent if the registration is 100,000 or above. (b) For purposes of this section, the number of registered voters shall be calculated as of the time of the last report of registration by the county elections official to the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 2187, and prior to the finding by the elections official or Secretary of State that no alterations are required in the form of the recall petition pursuant to Section 11042. (c) (1) In the case of a state officer, including judges of courts of appeal and trial courts, the number of signatures shall be as provided for in subdivision (b) of Section 14 of Article II of the California Constitution. In the case of a judge of a superior or municipal court, which office has never appeared on the ballot since its creation, or did not appear on the ballot at its last election pursuant to Section 8203, the number of signatures shall be as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 14 of Article II of the California Constitution, except that the percentage shall be based on the number of votes cast within the judicial jurisdiction for the countywide office which had the least number of votes in the most recent general election in the county in which the judge holds his or her office. (2) For purposes of this subdivision, "countywide office" means an elective office wholly within the county which is voted on throughout the county. (d) In the case of a landowner voting district, signatures of voters owning at least 10 percent of the assessed value of land within the electoral jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled. 11222. (a) The petition shall be filed by the proponents, or by any person or persons authorized, in writing, by a proponent. All sections of the petition shall be filed at the same time. (b) When the petition is presented for filing, the elections official shall determine the total number of signatures affixed to the petition. If, from this examination, the elections official determines that the number of signatures, prima facie, equals or is in excess of the minimum number of signatures required, the elections official shall accept the petition for filing. The petition shall be deemed as filed on that date. Any sections of the petition not so filed shall be void for all purposes. If, from the elections official's examination, the elections official determines that the number of signatures, prima facie, does not equal or exceed the minimum number of signatures required, the petition shall not be filed. Any petition not accepted for filing shall be returned to the proponents. 11223. If the petition was circulated in more than one county, the elections official of each county shall affix, with the certificate showing the results of his or her examination, the number of registered voters of the county residing within the electoral jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled. 11224. (a) Except as provided in Section 11225, within 30 days from the date of filing of the petition, the elections official shall examine the petition, and from the records of registration, ascertain whether or not the petition is signed by the requisite number of voters. If the elections official's examination shows that the number of valid signatures is greater than the required number, the elections official shall certify the petition to be sufficient. If the number of valid signatures is less than the required number, the elections official shall certify the petition to be insufficient. (b) In determining the number of valid signatures, the elections official may use the duplicate file of affidavits maintained, or may check the signatures against facsimiles of voters' signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with law. (c) The elections official shall attach to the petition a certificate showing the result of this examination, and shall notify the proponents of either the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition. (d) If the petition is found sufficient, the elections official shall certify the results of the examination to the governing board at its next regular meeting. 11225. (a) Within 30 days from the date of filing of the petition, if, from the examination of petitions pursuant to Section 11222, more than 500 signatures have been signed on the petition, the elections official may use a random sampling technique for verification of signatures. The random sample of signatures to be verified shall be drawn in a manner so that every signature filed with the elections official shall have an equal opportunity to be included in the sample. The random sampling shall include an examination of at least 500 or 5 percent of the signatures, whichever is greater. (b) If the statistical sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is greater than 110 percent of the required number, the elections official shall certify the petition to be sufficient. (c) If the statistical sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is within 90 to 110 percent of the number of signatures of qualified voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, the elections official shall examine and verify each signature filed. If the elections official's examination of each signature shows that the number of valid signatures is greater than the required number, the elections official shall certify the petition to be sufficient. If the number of valid signatures is less than the required number, the elections official shall certify the petition to be insufficient. (d) If the statistical sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is less than 90 percent of the required number, the elections official shall certify the petition to be insufficient. (e) In determining from the records of registration the number of valid signatures signed on the petition, the elections official may use the duplicate file of affidavits maintained, or may check the signatures against facsimiles of voters' signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with law. (f) The elections official shall attach to the petition, a certificate showing the result of this examination, and shall notify the proponents of either the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition. (g) If the petition is found insufficient, no action shall be taken on the petition. However, the failure to secure sufficient signatures shall not preclude the filing later of an entirely new petition to the same effect. (h) If the petition is found to be sufficient, the elections official shall certify the results of the examination to the governing body at its next regular meeting. 11226. If the certificate shows that the petition is insufficient, no action shall be taken on it, but the petition shall remain on file. 11227. If the elections official finds the signatures on the petition to be sufficient, he or she shall submit his or her certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition to the governing body at its next regular meeting. The certificate shall contain: (a) The name of the officer whose recall is sought. (b) The title of his or her office. (c) The number of signatures required by law. (d) The total number of signatures on the petition. (e) The number of valid signatures on the petition. (f) The number of signatures which were disqualified.




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