Texas

Officers Subject to Recall:

  • There are 22 political subdivisions that have their own charter and allow some form of recall.

Key Steps in the Recall Process:

  • Varies by charter from 3% to 51% of signatures.

Available only in political subdivisions that have their own charter, and only if the charter allows recall of local elected officials.

Court Activity

Judge Halts Recall Attempt in Texas Town

El Paso Recall Clock May Be Running Out

News & Commentary

Texas Town Rejects Easing Recall Requirements | 11/29/16

AUSTIN -- Bastrop voters on Nov. 8 rejected three proposed charter amendments that would have lowered signature requirements for recalls, referenda and initiatives -- all of the ways the public can force a vote on legislative action or the removal or replacement of elected officeholders.

However, voters did approve two charter amendments requiring that signatures for initiatives and referenda be collected within 180 days -- a standard rule absent from the Bastrop charter.

Bastrop voters were asked on the ballot whether to reduce the percentage of signatures from registered voters for initiatives from 20 percent to 5 percent, for referenda from 20 percent to 5 percent, and for recalls from 25 percent to 10 percent. They rejected the measures by 56 percent, 58 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

Because the two measures setting the 180-day standard passed, Bastrop will not be able to amend its charter again for another two years, according to laws of the Texas Constitution.

"We got three out of five," Judy Hoover, treasurer for a political action committee opposing the charter changes, said Wednesday. "I think the more critical three were the ones about the percentage requirements, the lowering of the threshold. I think that the public realized that that would cause unnecessary chaos in the system."

Changes in signature requirements could have made the recall of elected officials much easier by requiring support from one in 10 voters, instead of one in four.

Many contended ahead of the election the change was too low a threshold and would have allowed a small group to force special elections based on personal disagreements.

The charter election was the result of a petition drive this summer by Independent Texans, a political action committee, which turned in 337 signatures to the city secretary in August to place the five items on the November ballot.

Read more.

Texas Mayor Wins Recall Election, Looks Ahead | 05/17/16

KELLER -- Mayor Mark Mathews said he is happy to put the recall election behind him and focus more on making improvements in the city.

Mathews, elected in 2014, was the subject of a recall election on May 7, surviving with almost 54 percent of the 4,000 votes, according to the Tarrant County unofficial election results. A group of residents began circulating a recall petition late last year that accused him of using his position for personal gain, allegations he denied.

For months, name-calling and mudslinging escalated as Mathews fought the recall, calling the group of residents a special interest group that was unhappy with his votes in City Council meetings, while the group continued accusing him of misconduct.

But thanks to a difference of about 300 votes, Mathews is safe. His term ends in May 2017.

"For me, I'm moving forward," he said, calling the election results "a great victory for the city."

"I think the citizens spoke very loudly that they are tired of the divisiveness, the toxic language and bitterness and they don't want a small group to dictate to the larger group the direction that the city's going to go," Mathews said.

Linda Taylor, the spokeswoman for the recall group, said that the small margin between "yes" and "no" votes shows that "the mayor has split the city even further."

In a city of about 43,000 people, Mathews said the turnout of 4,000 votes is high for a May election, adding that he received about 19 percent more support than when he was elected two years ago.

Mathews will continue serving with City Council, including at least two members -- Debbie Bryan and newly elected Eric Schmidt -- who directly supported the recall.

Read more.




Judge Halts Recall Attempt in Texas Town | 03/19/16

Floresville -- A state judge has handed a major defeat to a group of Floresville residents seeking to recall their mayor and two council members, saying the election cannot be held in May or November, the two dates available this year.

No decision has been made on whether to appeal, recall supporters indicated Friday.

"In order to have lawfully placed the recall issue on the May 7, 2016 ballot the recall petition would have had to (have) been filed a good month before it was actually filed," Senior Judge Dick Alcalá ruled Thursday.

And the election can't be held Nov. 8, the next uniform election date, because it would violate the city charter, which states that a recall election can't be held on the same date as a regular election set for the same seat.

That's exactly what the city has been saying for months.

The judge's decision all but renders the recall effort moot because Mayor Sherry Castillo, Councilman Daniel Tejada and Councilman Juan Ortiz -- the subjects of the recall -- are up for reelection Nov. 8. Castillo said Friday she hasn't yet decided whether to run again; Tejada said he will be seeking reelection. Ortiz could not be reached Friday.

Read more.

Clerk Rejects Recall Petitions for Texas City Council Member | 03/07/16

AUSTIN -- A petition seeking to force a recall election on Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen was rejected Friday by the city clerk because the canvassers failed to sign each of the 989 petition sheets in the presence of a notary.

That means that Austin4All, the political action committee behind the recall effort, would have to start over to collect the almost 4,900 signatures of registered voters from Kitchen's District 5 required to instigate a recall. The petition organizers, who had turned in almost 5,300 signatures, cannot cure the fault in their petition by having the canvassers re-sign the petitions with a notary on hand, city spokesman Bryce Bencivengo said.

Read more.

Zavala County Mayor Resigns after Arrest, Recall Petition Certification | 02/21/16

CRYSTAL CITY -- A South Texas mayor under a federal corruption indictment resigned from office on Friday after a recall petition was certified and he was arrested over a disturbance that disrupted a city council meeting.

In a letter of resignation submitted to the city clerk, Ricardo Lopez said his departure would take effect Friday afternoon.

"I appreciate the opportunities I have been given to be mayor of Crystal City. I wish all the citizens of Crystal City success in the future," his letter stated.

Lopez and two city council members are named in a federal public corruption indictment returned earlier this month. Another council member has been charged with human trafficking.

Crystal City is the county seat of Zavala County, which in January 2015 entered into a federal court consent decree with the American Civil Rights Union to clean up its voter rolls. The county had more than 100 percent of its age-eligible residents registered to vote.

Lopez was led from a city council meeting in handcuffs late Tuesday night after an apparent scuffle ended the gathering in pandemonium. The meeting, which was to schedule a recall election for him and two council members, ended prematurely after the mayor's arrest cost the panel a quorum.

He was released from the Zavala County Jail the next day after posting a $12,000 bond. However, the rest of the Tuesday council meeting was postponed until Wednesday, then was canceled when Lopez didn't attend and the group again lacked a quorum. Upon his release from jail, Lopez told reporters that he would attend no more council meetings.

Read more.

Group Begins Petition Drive to Recall Austin City Council Member | 01/22/16

A group calling itself Austin4All PAC has begun collecting petition signatures with the goal of forcing a recall election of Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen.

Or has it?

The petition sheets, seeking a recall of Kitchen on the grounds that she "has purposefully hurt businesses that employ citizens of Austin," bear the name of Austin4All PAC, along with an address on Congress Avenue. The Austin City Clerk's office has no record of a political action committee with that name, though city spokesman Bryce Bencivengo said a recall effort does not require any sort of advance notice to the city.

"Anyone can go start circulating a recall petition, and if they believe they have enough signatures, they can turn it in to the city clerk to be validated," Bencivengo said.

No one associated with Austin4All could be reached Thursday.
City council district 5 member Ann Kitchen attends a city council meeting concerning Bluebonnet Hills in Austin City Hall on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Shelby Tauber / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Council Member Ann Kitchen, shown at a meeting in June, has advocated for fingerprint-based background checks of drivers for hire.

Kitchen said she had heard of the effort, which she presumes is related to her advocacy to require fingerprint-based background checks of drivers for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. (The other petition drive you've heard about recently, the one that gathered more than 65,000 signatures seeking an election to overturn Austin's new ride-for-hire rules, came from a different PAC called Ridesharing Works for Austin.)

"Of course the voters always have the right to petition," Kitchen said. "But this strikes me at this point as an effort by a corporation to recall a council member who is just trying to do her job, to protect the women and the public in general from being assaulted."

Read more.

Media Ignore Soros Tie-In to Walker, Jindal Recall Attempts | 09/17/14

The group that first filed an indictment charge against Texas Gov. Rick Perry was funded by George Soros, the liberal billionaire, but the trail of his money didn't end there. 

Both the recall election for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and an even less successful recall attempt for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal were rooted in Soros-funded groups. Among them, these three potential Republican presidential candidates were targeted by groups receiving more than $6.3 million from Soros.

The media should be reporting on this connection, but so far they have completely ignored it. None of the broadcast news coverage of Walker's recall election or Perry's indictment on ABC, CBS or NBC has mentioned Soros. Attempts to recall Jindal weren't mentioned by the networks, although left-wing outlets like The Huffington Post tried to promote them.

Read more at Newsbusters.org.

Voters in Many Texas Towns Consider Recalls | 12/02/13

SAN ANTONIO -- Voters in Cibolo, a bedroom community in the San Antonio area, recently recalled two city council members, but two others narrowly survived attempts to remove them.

Their offense? They favored a Walmart plan to build a 182,000-square-foot store near a neighborhood and an elementary school. So, a citizens group upset with their vote began a signature-gathering effort -- the first major step in a recall election -- and, once it succeeded, Cibolo voters settled the issue Nov. 5.

The next recall election could be in San Antonio.

Read more.

Texas City Councilman Survives Recall | 11/07/13

LUBBOCK -- City Councilman Victor Hernandez won out after District 1 voters rejected a proposition to recall the councilman.

After all ballots cast on Election Day were counted, Hernandez survived the recall attempt with 58.47 percent of District 1 voters' support.

Read more.

El Paso Man Announces New Recall Effort Against Mayor | 04/11/12

A U.S. Army retiree in El Paso is collecting signatures to recall Mayor John Cook over his overturning a popular referendum against extending marital benefits to same-sex and unmarried couples. An earlier effort was struck down in court.

Click here for full article.

El Paso Recall Clock May Be Running Out | 04/01/12

Even if the Texas Supreme Court were to side with a group trying to recall Mayor John Cook and two city representatives, the court and election calendars make a recall all but impossible, Cook's lawyer said Friday.

Click here for full article.

El Paso Recall Election Set for April 14 | 02/01/12

The El Paso City Council on Tuesday chose April 14 to hold a recall election of Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega, but the date may change because of the controversy over statewide redistricting and when the primaries will take place.
Click here for full article.

Gov. Rick Perry Calls Emergency Recall Election in El Paso | 12/13/11

Gov. Rick Perry has ordered a special recall election on April 14, 2012 for the mayor and two council members in El Paso who voted to override a referendum limiting marital benefits to married couples and their families.
Click here for full story.

Texas Hold 'Em Unfolds in El Paso | 10/03/11

Arrogant Politicians take note: There is more to fear than scheduled elections. Exhibit A is the recall effort underway against the mayor and two council members right now in El Paso.
Click here for full story.

Local Sources Fund El Paso Recall Issue | 09/25/11

The explanations given about where the money is coming from in the city's recall election aren't nearly as sexy as the rumors on the street.
Click here for full story.

Texas Church Leads Recall of Mayor, Council Members Who Reversed Ballot Initiative | 09/23/11

EL PASO -- A conservative religious group has collected enough signatures to force a recall election of the mayor and two members of the City Council who voted to restore health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees after a ballot initiative ended them.
Click here for full story.

Group Seeks Recall of Mayor in Texas Town that Set Council Recall Election | 09/06/11

A petition is being circulated in Jasper to recall two-term Mayor Mike Lout.
Click here for full story.

Texas Town Slates Recall of Three Council Members | 09/01/11

The Jasper, Texas City Council has slated recall elections for three council members next May over their role in hiring a new police chief.
Click here for the full story.

State Election Law Throws Wrench into Killeen Recall Effort | 04/09/11

"A petition drive to recall the Killeen City Council is taking off, but because of quirks in state law, it may be six months before a potential recall election gets off the ground. And even if there is an election, there is a question as to whether four of the council members can be subject to a recall. All this serves to make one Killeen resident's task that much more difficult. Angered by the Killeen City Council's recent decision to buy out former City Manager Connie Green for $750,000, Jonathan Okray last week began a petition drive to recall all seven council members -- despite the fact that only four of the seven members voted to approve the buyout."

Click here for the full story from the Killeen Daily Herald.

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.