A recall election allows voters to remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before that official’s term has ended. The recall proponent must be a registered voter of the jurisdiction of the official they want to recall.
Begin the Recall Process
The recall of an elected officer of the County, School District, County Board of Education, Community College District, Special District, and Superior Court Judges is administered by the Contra Costa Elections Division. Learn more in the Guide for Recalls.
To learn more about recalling State Officials, visit the Secretary of State’s website. For information on recalling a city officeholder, contact the city’s Office of the City Clerk directly.
Any person or group desiring to recall an elected official is strongly advised to contact private legal counsel to guide and advise them through the many steps involved in the recall process.
To begin the recall process, the proponent must serve, publish, and file a Notice of Intention (Election Code 11020-11023) to circulate a recall petition. If more than one officer is being recalled, one Notice of Intention must be prepared for each officer. A copy of the notice must be served on the incumbent sought to be recalled by personal delivery or by certified mail.
After serving the incumbent, the proponent must file the Notice of Intention and Proof of Service with our office. The original Notice of Intention must be filed with our office within seven days of the incumbent being served, along with an affidavit of the time and manner of service.
The Notice of Intention must be published at the proponent’s expense at least once in a newspaper of general circulation serving the jurisdiction of the incumbent who is being recalled.
Preparing the Petition
The proponent is responsible for designing and printing the petition. The petition design must adhere to the requirements of Elections Codes 100, 100.5, 104, and 11040-11046. Petition formats and contents must be pre-approved by the Elections Division.
Circulating the Petition
Once the petition format is approved, the petitioner may begin collecting signatures. The number of signatures required is based on a designated percentage of the voters. More information can be found in Election Codes 11220 and 11221.
Submitting the Petition
The proponent must submit all sections of the petition at one time. The Elections Division has 30 working days from the date of submission to verify the signatures on the petition (Election Code 11222-11225).
If the petition is found insufficient, no further action shall be taken. If the petition is found to have sufficient valid signatures to qualify the recall for the ballot, the Registrar of Voters will certify the results to the governing body for consideration at its next regular meeting (Election Code 11226, 11227).
This is only a brief outline. Please refer to the Election Codes 100-100.5; 11000-11047; 11200-11242; and 11300-11386 for detailed information on the recall process.
All committees supporting or opposing a recall are required to report campaign contributions and expenditures. All campaign filing reports are required to be submitted electronically.
For detailed information regarding campaign finances and deadlines visit the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) website.