Recall elections don’t happen very often in King County, but when they do, they provide an opportunity for voters to decide whether or not to remove an elected official from office. Recall elections must occur before the end of the elected official’s term. Any registered voter can file a petition to recall an elected official. The voter must prepare a typewritten charge that details an act or acts of malfeasance the elected official made while in office. Once filed, the petition is reviewed by the King County Superior Court to determine if the process can move forward.
If the Court rules the petition is sufficient, the sponsor of the petition can begin collecting signatures from voters. The signatures must come from registered voters who live in the district represented by the elected official facing the recall. The number of signatures required, as outlined by state law, is based on the total number of votes cast for the candidates for the office subject to recall.
King County Elections then verifies the petition signatures and certifies whether or not it’s sufficient. If sufficient, the department will set the date of the recall election.
Recall petitions are not very common. One of the more recent petitions filed in King County was in February 2015. Recalls were filed for the City of Normandy Park Council Position No.s 1 and 3. The charges were heard in Superior Court, and the judge dismissed the petition.
The last successful recall occurred in 2012 for City of Pacific Mayor Cy Sun. The court found the petition to be sufficient proof of charges, and it went on the ballot. Sun was recalled by election.
The next recall election in King County is scheduled to take place in the City of Black Diamond. The recall is for councilmember Patricia Pepper and the election will be held on February 13, 2018. If Pepper is recalled, the district will appoint someone to serve the rest of the term.
For more information about recall elections, visit our website.