Oregon

Eligible for Recall: Jeff Merkley (D): elected to first term in 2008, up for reelection in 2014; Ron Wyden (D): elected to third term in 2010, up for reelection in 2016

Signature Requirement: 15% of voters in last election for the Senator

Circulation Time: 90 days

Type of Recall Election: Recall Election Then Special Election

Constitutional Provision: Article 2 Section 18 (created 1908)

Section 18. Recall; meaning of words ‘the legislative assembly shall provide.’ (1) Every public officer in Oregon is subject, as herein provided, to recall by the electors of the state or of the electoral district from which the public officer is elected.
(2) Fifteen per cent, but not more, of the number of electors who voted for Governor in the officer's electoral district at the most recent election at which a candidate for Governor was elected to a full term, may be required to file their petition demanding the officer's recall by the people.

Initial Procedure: Taken from the Oregon recall manual:

  1. The first step for a recall petition against a state public officer is the filing of a prospective recall petition with the Secretary of State, Elections Division. The chief petitioner for a recall must be a registered voter in the district from which the public officer is elected or appointed.
  2. After receiving a sufficient prospective petition for a recall of a state public officer and no later than 3 business days after the prospective petition is filed, the Elections Division provides the chief petitioner with official templates of the cover and signature sheets for the petition. Once the chief petitioner has received the official templates, they may begin the approval for circulation process. The cover and signature sheets must be approved in writing by the Elections Division before the chief petitioner may begin circulating the recall petition.
  3. Using the official templates provided by the Elections Division, the chief petitioner prepares and submits cover and signature sheets exactly as intended to circulate, including weight, style and color of paper with the cover sheet (SEL 350) copied on the reverse side of the signature sheet (SEL 351). Only a chief petitioner or authorized agents may submit cover and signature sheets for approval.

Contact Info:
Oregon Secretary of State
Elections Division
255 Capitol St NE, Ste 501
Salem OR 97310
Phone: (503) 986-1518

Court Activity

No current cases.

News & Commentary

Oregon Official Recalled; Another Optimistic He'll Survive Vote | 08/18/16

SALEM -- Residents of the least populous county in Oregon have voted overwhelmingly to recall their top county administrative official, while in an adjacent county a commissioner is optimistic he'll emerge victorious from the recall election he is facing.

A total of 406 ballots were for the recall of Wheeler County Judge Patrick Perry, with 208 against, County Clerk Barb Sitton said Tuesday, August 16. There was a 65 percent return of ballots from eligible voters, she said.

Wheeler County covers 1,715 square miles in Central Oregon and has only 1,358 residents, according to the U.S. Census.

The recall had cited conflicts of interest. Perry had said the recall was "based on unfounded and vague allegations."

Gov. Kate Brown will appoint a replacement for Perry, whose seat would be added to the ballot for the November election, said Molly Woon, communications director for Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.

To the east in Grant County, Commissioner Boyd Britton said by phone that he is "cautiously optimistic" he'll survive his recall election. Among other things, the petition faults him for not calling for an investigation into the 2015 Canyon Creek Fire, which destroyed 43 homes and nearly 100 barns. U.S. Forest Service firefighters were unable to get the fire under control in its early stages.

Read more.

Oregon Senate President Won't Face Recall Election | 06/16/16

SALEM -- Opponents of Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a recall election.

Backers of the recall had until June 13 to obtain 4,533 signatures from registered voters in Courtney's district, which includes Woodburn and part of Salem. Matt Geiger of Woodburn told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he and other supporters decided not to submit any signatures once it became apparent they'd fall short.

In a press release sent out in March, petitioners blasted Courtney for being "tone-deaf to his community's needs" and presented four reasons for wanting to recall the state senator: his support of raising the state minimum wage, his push to help eliminate coal power in Oregon by 2030, his proposal that would allow mass transit districts to impose a tax on employees if their employer is located in that district, and his failure to urge voters to approve a diversion of 2 percent of lottery tax revenues to help veterans, according to the Woodburn Independent.

Courtney, who has served in the Senate since 1999 and as its president since 2003, was most recently re-elected to a four-year term in 2014. Two attempts have been made to recall him in the past, according to state records: once, in 1993, when he was serving in the House, and again in 2007. Neither attempt produced enough signatures to trigger a recall vote. 

Read more.

Oregon Town Braces for Recall after Standoff | 06/14/16

Voters in a rural Oregon town are receiving ballots in the mail for a recall election targeting a judge who opposed the armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge earlier this year.

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty decided to fight the recall even though he is retiring this year.

The recall has stirred passions in Burns, which held the national spotlight for weeks during the standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Ammon Bundy and others occupied the refuge this winter to protest federal land policy and the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers sent to prison for starting fires.

The 41-day standoff ended Feb. 11 and included the fatal shooting by police of rancher and occupation spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum.

The recall election is June 28. Though his title is judge, Grasty's position is essentially chairman of the county commission.

He was outspoken in his opposition of the occupation and the ranchers holed up in the refuge. Their supporters blamed Grasty for not doing more to protect the Hammonds.

Some Burns residents are rallying around Grasty as the recall election draws near. About 100 people attended a rally for him last week and an ad running in the local newspaper this week will list the names of up to 150 supporters.

Read more.

Recall Slated against Oregon Official in Wildlife Refuge Standoff | 05/25/16

A special recall election against Harney County commissioner Steve Grasty will be held in late June, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

The June 28 election is the result of a recall campaign started in the aftermath of the 41-day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by armed militants earlier this year. Grasty is the County Court judge -- not a judge in the traditional sense, but essentially chairman of the county commission.

Petitioners gathered the valid signatures of 458 active registered Harney County voters, Molly Woon, a secretary of state spokeswoman, said in an email.

They needed 444 to validate the petition, forcing a recall election or compelling Grasty's resignation. Grasty chose the former and addresses Harney County citizens in a "statement of justification" to be printed on the ballot.

Read more.

Bundy Standoff Spawns Recall Campaign | 05/17/16

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A recall petition has been filed against a Harney County official who did not support the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Petitioners say they have gathered 566 signatures, more than enough to compel Judge Steve Grasty to resign or face a recall election. Though his title is judge, Grasty's position is essentially chairman of the county commission. He tells The Oregonian/Oregonlive he's not going to resign.

Ammon Bundy and others occupied the refuge this winter to protest the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers sent to prison for starting fires. They blame Grasty for not offering to protect the Hammonds from the federal government.

Read more.

Oregon City Mayor Survives Recall Election | 11/18/15

Clatskanie voters have decided to retain Mayor Diane Pohl, who was criticized for the way she handled the resignation of the town's police chief last summer.

Pohl got 53.44 percent of the vote in Tuesday's recall election. That's compared to 46.56 percent of the vote against keeping Pohl as mayor.

Virginia Leloff, the person who filed the petition on Sept. 21, was as disappointed by the voter turnout as the results.

"I'm disappointed that only 403 voters out of 851 turned out," Leloff said Tuesday. "If people wanted a recall, they should have voted."

Leloff said she filed the recall petition with the goal of improving Clatskanie's governing body.

"I've never had anything personal against Diane Pohl. I just want city government to do a better job," Leloff said Tuesday morning, before ballot counting began.

Pohl said she is looking forward to serving out her term, which is up at the end of 2016.

Read more.

Recall Leaves Three Council Seats Open in Oregon Town | 10/20/15

POWERS -- The City of Powers received certified recall election results on Oct. 15, and that means applications for the three vacant city council positions are now available.

Interested Powers residents can request an application by emailing the City.

To be eligible, applicants must have lived in Powers for at least a year and be registered to vote.

New city councilors will be appointed.

The remaining members of the council are Charlie Possee, Shirley Burgess, Ben Bedwell, and mayor Bill Holland.

As previously reported, Burgess is out of town, which leaves the council without a quorum. However, the City announced Burgess is expected to return in early November. At that time, the council will be required to appoint citizens to the three vacancies to complete the terms of the recalled councilors.

Read more.

Gun Advocates Target Oregon State Senator | 08/05/15

Douglas County gun owner Geno Zayas isn't happy with State Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene.

At Zayas' Roseburg business, Geno's Auto Repair, he put up a sign last week welcoming members of Prozanski's District 4 to come in to sign a recall petition. District 4 covers most of North and East Douglas County, as well as parts of Eugene and South Lane County. Prozanski has served as its senator since 2003 and has been reelected three times.

Zayas said he feels the senator has been "running amok," and it's time to remove him.

He's not alone.

North Douglas County residents were peppered in July with letters accusing Prozanski of pursuing an "extreme anti-liberty agenda" and asking recipients to sign the recall petition.

The recall effort is backed by gun rights advocates, who object to Prozanski's sponsorship of a new law requiring criminal background checks for private gun transfers.

Prozanski said the new law will help prevent gun violence. Recall supporters say it's an infringement of law-abiding citizens' right to bear arms.

Gun rights advocates initially backed the recall of four legislators who favored the law. The recall effort against Prozanski is the best funded and the only one still in progress.

Read more.

Liberals Seeking to Derail Recall Effort against Oregon House Leader | 06/01/15

A liberal group is charging that backers of a recall effort against House Majority Leader Val Hoyle are breaking the state's signature-gathering laws.

Our Oregon filed a complaint on May 28 with Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins that, if successful, could derail the recall campaign against Hoyle, a Democratic legislator from Eugene.

The complaint says that investigators hired by Our Oregon found that recall petitions were improperly circulated at four gun stores in Hoyle's district. The group charged that employees helped gather signatures and should have registered with the state as paid petitioners. In addition, petitions were often left unsupervised, meaning that some people could have signed them without being witnessed by a canvasser, the complaint says.

Jason Thiesfeld, the recall's chief sponsor and owner of a gun store in Junction City, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Thiesfeld has previously said that Hoyle's support for a measure requiring background checks on private gun sales was the final straw leading him to mount a recall campaign.

Recall Petitions over Gun Control Put Pressure on Oregon Democrats | 04/21/15

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- With Oregon Democrats moving forward on a bill to require background checks for private gun sales, the potential political backlash is becoming apparent.

Gun rights advocates earlier in April filed petitions to recall three Democratic lawmakers who sponsored the legislation, and they say more could follow.

It's not yet clear whether deep-pocketed gun interests such as the National Rifle Association will get involved and raise a serious threat to the targeted lawmakers.

The state Senate voted last week to require background checks on any person-to-person gun sale not involving relatives. The recall move puts pressure on Democrats as the bill awaits a hearing in the House.

Read more.

Oregon Mayor Survives Recall Election | 03/30/15

GEARHART -- Mayor Dianne Widdop easily survived a recall effort.

Roughly 64 percent of the voters who returned ballots in the special election opted to keep Widdop, The Daily Astorian reported Friday.

"There is no question as to how people have felt about this," Widdop said of the large margin.

Widdop said she hopes the coastal community can put the matter to rest. "We've got our goals; we have a really good City Council. Let's work together and move forward."

Voter turnout was about 55 percent.

Gearhart resident Harold Gable started the recall effort in November, filing a petition with City Administrator Chad Sweet. On his form, Gable cited Widdop's "abuse of leadership, lack of transparency and strong personal bias."

Specific complaints: that Widdop secretly recorded a conversation; exceeded her authority by requesting that a business owner remove a candidate's sign from a window; inappropriately used the word "we" to suggest she was speaking for the entire City Council; and publicly denounced a candidate's ability to serve in public office, citing his temper.

Widdop disagreed with Gable's accusations.

Read more.

Recall Effort Begins Against Two Portland Officials | 07/16/14

PORTLAND, OREGON -- Ray Horton has less than three months to convince 69,842 Portlanders of his cause.

The Southeast Portland resident filed two separate prospective recall petitions with the city Auditor's Office in the past week.

Horton wants voters to have a chance to recall Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales this fall. The auditor's office approved both recall applications, now Horton just needs the signatures.

The current recall campaign comes amid an occasionally contentious political discussion surrounding how to pay for street maintenance in the Rose City. Hales and Novick are proposing a monthly street fee on residents and businesses, with the goal of bringing in $53 million per year.

Horton is fighting history.

Just two elected officials were successfully recalled by voters in Portland in the past century, and no mayor has ever been recalled. The last successful recall effort was in 1952, when 88,558 voters booted then Commissioner J.E. Bennett.

According to The Oregonian archives, Bennett was kicked to the curb for his "discourteous, abusive, uncouth, insulting" behavior to citizens.

Read more.

Voters Recall Two on Oregon Town's Water District Board | 04/02/14

Terrebonne voters removed two members of the town's water district board in a recall election on April 1.

The seats held by Terrebonne Domestic Water District board members Kay Walters and Sharon Struck will be vacated in the next 14 to 20 days, according to Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship. The water district's other three board members will vote on replacements.

A group of Terrebonne residents started the recall against Walters, Struck and two other water district board members last fall. About 50 residents said they received August water bills at least three times as high as they're used to paying, without an explanation from the board for the increase.

Read more.

Oregon Town Slates Mayoral Recall Election | 02/25/14

TULELAKE -- A recall election will be June 3 with proponents seeking to remove Mayor Randy Darrow from office.

The petition charges Darrow with: Failure to follow the Brown Act, which provides for public meetings; failure to protect city residents from conflict of interest for legal representation; failure to follow city procedures for hiring and dismissal of city employees.

Read more.

Two Face Recall in Oregon Town | 11/13/13

LOWELL -- Two city councilors will face a recall election in December after a resident collected signatures on a recall petition from about 10 percent of the town's population of a little more than 1,000. Both councilors chose to fight the effort to oust them, filing rebuttals on Tuesday, the last day to do so.

Read more.

Oregon Voters to Cast Ballots on Recall of Four Council Members | 01/21/13

SALEM -- City officials said 20 percent of Salem's registered voters have signed a petition to hold a re-election for city council. They said the county clerk's office has accepted the petition, making it a legal document. The petitions, reportedly signed by more than 20 percent of the city's registered voters, request the recall of council members Israel Williams, Laurie McKowen, Bobby Knight and Doug Fischer. Each petition accuses the four of "disruptions and actions that continue to subject the city to ridicule from the media and neighboring communities." It goes on to say "they continue to waste valuable time squabbling and pursuing personal attacks rather than addressing the real challenges and concerns that face the city."


Click here for full article.

Oregon Mayor, Three Councilors Survive Recall Election | 09/20/11

The mayor and three city councilors in the small Oregon timber town of Oakridge have survived a recall election despite a financial crisis that has turned recent council meetings into shouting matches.
Click here for full story.

Reckless Congress Makes Case for Recall | 12/17/10

"If ever a Congress epitomized the need for more accountability, it's the 111th lame-duck gang. Sorry, that's unfair to gangsters. With most Americans distracted by holiday plans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has sprung another Christmas surprise, vowing to ram through a far-left agenda in the waning days of 2010. Last year, he put a giant lump of coal in Americans' stockings with Christmas Eve passage of Obamacare."

Click here for the full story from The Washington Times.

The Right of Recall | 01/25/10

By Peter Ferrara. This article originally appeared on Fox Forum on January 25, 2010.

Congress is out of control. The public overwhelmingly opposes the pending legislation for a government takeover of health care. But Congressional leaders are telling us they don't care. They know best, and they're going to pass it anyway.

We see the same attitude on other issues, from global warming regulation, to taxes, government spending, deficits, federal debt, energy policy, welfare, corporate bailouts, and beyond. Too many of our Congressional "representatives" seem unwilling to listen to the views of their constituents, insisting that they already know it all. They respond to dissenters with name-calling, labeling them yahoos, Nazis, and tea baggers.

Continue reading “The Right of Recall”.

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.