Recall Elections in Halifax

In 1984, the Massachusetts State Legislature approved Chapter 263 of the Acts of 1984 allowing for local elected officials in Halifax to be "recalled" from office. A summary of the legislation follows. An individual or group seeking to recall a local official should read the entire law before proceeding. Anyone with any questions can contact the Town Administrator or the Town Clerk's Office.


  • Ten qualified registered voters file, with the Town Clerk, an initial petition requesting the recall of a specific individual from a specific office. There is no official form.
  • The Town Clerk provides these voters with petition blanks demanding such a recall.
  • These voters submit the blanks, within twenty (20) days of obtaining them, with the signatures of at least fifteen (15) percent of the registered voters of Halifax. [The language also indicates that the petitions must be submitted on the Friday preceding the twentieth day.] As of 2016, fifteen percent of the registered voters is approximately 795 voters.
  • The registers certify the signatures and determine if the proper number of signatures necessary to proceed have been certified.
  • If so, the Town Clerk provides this information to the Board of Selectmen.
  • The Board of Selectmen notifies the individual to be recalled.
  • If the individual does not resign within five (5) days, the Board of Selectmen orders an election on a date between sixty (60) and seventy (70) days of the Town Clerk notifying the Board of Selectmen.
  • There will be two questions on the election ballot: a) shall the individual be recalled; b) if the individual is recalled (which requires a majority in the affirmative and that at least twenty-five (25) percent of those eligible to vote have voted in the recall election), then the election of someone to fill the vacancy caused by the recall. The individual that is being recalled is eligble to be on the ballot and be elected again, despite the recall.
  • There are restrictions on when a recall election can be held vis-a-vis when the individual was originally elected and whether there was a previous attempt or attempts to recall the individual.
  • If the individual resigns from office or is removed from office during the recall proceedings, that person cannot be appointed to any town office for two years after the resignation or removal of the individual from office.