Massachusetts

Officers Subject to Recall:

  • Only local officials in those jurisdictions that allow recall.

Key Steps in the Recall Process:

  • Varies by jurisdiction.

Available in some jurisdictions. Believed to be the first colony to mention citizens' right to recall in its charter (1691).

Court Activity

No current cases.

News & Commentary

Voters in Massachusetts Town Recall 4 Selectmen | 03/19/15

SAUGUS -- Political change swept through Saugus on Tuesday, where residents voted overwhelmingly to recall four selectmen, ending months of political turmoil.

Incumbents Ellen C. Faiella, Maureen Dever, Paul Allan, and Steven Castinetti were ousted from office, replaced by four challengers who never before held elective office.

Scott Brazis, Jeffrey Cicolini, Jennifer D'Eon, and Mark Mitchell won by as much as 60 percent of the votes cast in the town's 10 precincts.

About 27 percent of the town's 17,486 registered voters, or a total of 4,778, cast ballots in the first special election held in Saugus to recall selectmen since 1975.

The recall centered on the firing of Scott C. Crabtree, a former police officer and selectman who served as town manager for nearly two and a half years. The ousted selectmen accused him of a variety of financial managerial offenses, and voted to fire him on Oct. 29.  Selectwoman Debra Panetta, the only board member to vote against firing Crabtree, was not subject to the recall.

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Massachusetts Town Official Who Questioned Recall Resigns | 03/03/15

SAUGUS -- For the second time in three months, a member of the Saugus Board of Registrars has resigned after raising questions about the March 17 special election to recall four selectmen.

Joanne D. Rappa, the board's chairwoman, resigned on Feb. 20, stating her "disappointment with the process of the upcoming special election," according to her resignation letter.

The recall of four of five selectmen centers on the board's vote to fire Scott C. Crabtree, former town manager, in October.

Gary Butt, who served for nearly 20 years on the board, resigned on Nov. 14. Butt said he didn't believe the recall was following state law, and it was not the process outlined in the town charter.

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Fall River Swears in New Mayor After Recall | 12/30/14

FALL RIVER -- Massachusetts's newest mayor has taken the oath of office in front of a standing room only crowd.

Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter was sworn in as Fall River's mayor on Tuesday.

Sutter, who previously ran unsuccessfully for Congress, defeated Will Flanagan in a recall election earlier this month.

His office is currently prosecuting former New England Patriots' player Aaron Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Sutter plans on stepping down as district attorney after meeting with Gov. Deval Patrick this week and recommending a successor. He says he is confident with the prosecution team assigned to the Hernandez case.

Issues in the recall election included fire department layoffs and costs of a trash program. A city councilor also alleged Flanagan tried to intimidate him with a gun, which Flanagan denied.

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Voters Recall Massachusetts Mayor | 12/17/14

FALL RIVER -- Amid tears and cheers, Will Flanagan conceded office after a landslide recall election on Dec. 16 ousted the third-term mayor, who will be replaced by his former boss, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter, out of a slate of eight candidates.

Voters, in a historic move for the city, chose to recall Flanagan by nearly 70 percent, with 10,631 voting for the recall and 4,669 voting against the recall. As well, Sutter handily defeated Flanagan with 36.77 percent of the vote to Flanagan's 26.83 percent, or 6,021 to 4,393.

Flanagan, who has been battling an aggressive recall campaign since August, is under a criminal investigation by a special prosecutor appointed by Sutter and an ethics probe.

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Fall River, Mass. Mayoral Recall Voting Today (Dec. 16) | 12/16/14

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) -- Residents are hitting the polls on Tuesday, as the city of Fall River gears up for its first recall election.

The voters are deciding whether or not to recall Mayor Will Flanagan and, if so, who should sit in his office on the sixth floor of Government Center.

The recall began after a group of citizens said it was dissatisfied with the mayor for implementing a "pay as you throw" garbage fee. Flanagan was under more scrutiny after City Councilman Jasiel Correia claimed the mayor attempted to intimidate him with a firearm in his car.

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Interfaith Service Set After Massachusetts Town's Mayoral Recall Election | 11/25/14

FALL RIVER -- Several of the city's religious leaders are planning to hold an interfaith service shortly after the Dec. 16 mayoral recall election to help heal the divisions in the community.

Though still in the planning stages, organizers intend to hold the service in a neutral location, possibly the Our Lady of Light Band banquet facility on Quarry Street. The service would include prayers, Scripture readings and reflections urging the city's residents to be mindful of their common humanity despite their political differences.

"The service is meant to bring healing to the city for what it's been going through," said Cantor Richard Wolberg, the chaplain of the Fall River Police Department who will be leading the ecumenical service.

Over the past several weeks, Wolberg and other clergy members have observed with growing concern the heated commentary that has often included personal attacks and innuendos against individuals on both sides of the debate over whether to recall embattled Mayor William Flanagan, who is also the subject of a separate criminal investigation.

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The Right to Recall the Rascals | 02/02/10

By John Armor. This column originally appeared on Townhall.com on February 2, 2010.

Do the citizens of the states have a constitutional right to recall their Members of Congress before the end of their set terms, if they become satisfied that their Members are seriously harming the interests of the people who elected them?

The U.S. Constitution states no right to recall federal officials. But that's not the end of the inquiry, only the beginning.

There are two main reasons why the right of recall can be established for all elected officials, including Members of Congress. One is that the Constitution delegates general election law to the states. The other is that the 10th Amendment reserves to the states and the people all rights not delegated to the national government.

Continue reading “The Right to Recall the Rascals”.

Each state has its own requirements as to the manner in which petitions must be collected, signed and filed. It is imperative that official recall committees are legally formed in each state according to the state laws and regulations. The handling of the petitions must comply with the laws and regulations of each state.