§ 31.18  RECALL PROCEDURE.
   (A)    For the purpose of this section, the following definition shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      FILING CLERK. The Election Commissioner or County Clerk.
   (B)   (1)   The Mayor, any member of the Governing Body and any other elected official of the city may be removed from office by recall pursuant to this section.
      (2)   The recall procedure and special election provisions of this section shall apply to members of the City Council who are elected by ward. Only registered voters of such member's ward may sign a recall petition or vote at the recall election. The recall election shall be held within the member's ward. When a member of the City Council is nominated by ward in the primary election and elected at-large in the general election, the recall provisions shall apply to the registered voters at the general elections.
   (C)   (1)   A petition demanding that the question of removing the Mayor, a member of the Governing Body, or any other elected official be submitted to the registered voters shall be signed by registered voters equal in number to at least 35% of the total vote case for the person receiving the most votes for that office in the last general election, except that for City Council office for which more than one candidate is chosen, the petition shall be signed by registered voters equal in number to at least 35% of the number of votes cast for the person who received the most votes for such office in the last general election. The signatures shall be affixed to petition papers and shall be considered part of the petition.
      (2)   Petition circulators shall conform to the requirements of Neb. RS 32-629 and 32-630.
      (3)   The petition papers shall be procured from the filing clerk. Prior to the issuance of such petition papers, a recall petition filing form shall be signed and filed with the filing clerk by at least one registered voter. Such voter or voters shall be deemed to be the principal circulator or circulators of the recall petition. The filing form shall state the name and office of the official sought to be removed, shall include in concise language of 60 words or less the reason or reasons for which recall is sought, and shall request that the filing clerk issue initial petition papers to the principal circulator for circulation. The filing clerk shall notify the Council member by any method specified in Neb. RS 25-505.01 or, if notification cannot be made with reasonable diligence by any of the methods specified in Neb. RS 25-505.01, by leaving a copy of the filing form at the Council member's usual place of residence and mailing a copy by first-class mail to the Council member's last-known address. If the official chooses, he or she may submit a defense statement in concise language of 60 words or less for inclusion on the petition. Any such defense statement shall be submitted to the filing clerk within 20 days after the Council member receives the copy of the filing form. The filing clerk shall prepare the petition papers within five business days after receipt of the defense statement. The principal circulator or circulators shall gather the petition papers within 20 days after being notified by the filing clerk that the petition papers are available. The filing clerk shall notify the principal circulator or circulators that the necessary signatures must be gathered within 30 days from the date of issuing the petitions.
      (4)   The filing clerk, upon issuing the initial petition papers or any subsequent petition papers, shall enter in a record, to be kept in his or her office, the name of the principal circulator or circulators to whom the papers were issued, the date of issuance, and the number of papers issued. The filing clerk shall certify on the papers the name of the principal circulator or circulators to whom the papers were issued and the date they were issued. No petition paper shall be accepted as part of the petition unless it bears such certificate. The principal circulator or circulators who check out petitions from the filing clerk may distribute such petitions to persons who may act as circulators of such petitions.
      (5)   Petition signers shall conform to the requirements of Neb. RS 32-629 and 34-630. Each signer of a recall petition shall be a registered voter and qualified by his or her place of residence to vote for the office in question.
   (D)   Each petition paper shall conform to the requirements of Neb. RS 32-1304.
   (E)   (1)   The principal circulator or circulators shall file, as one instrument, all petition papers comprising a recall petition for signature verification with the filing clerk within 30 days after the filing clerk issues the initial petition papers to the principal circulator or circulators as provided in division (C) of this section.
      (2)   Within 15 days after the filing of the petition, the filing clerk shall ascertain whether or not the petition is signed by the requisite number of registered voters. No new signatures may be added after the initial filing of the petition papers. No signatures may be removed unless the filing clerk receives an affidavit signed by the person requesting his or her signature be removed before the petitions are filed with the filing clerk for signature verification. If the petition is found to be sufficient, the filing clerk shall attach to the petition a certificate showing the result of such examination. If the requisite number of signatures has not been gathered, the filing clerk shall file the petition in his or her office without prejudice to the filing of a new petition for the same purpose.
   (F)   (1)   If the recall petition is found to be sufficient, the filing clerk shall notify the official whose removal is sought and the Governing Body that sufficient signatures have been gathered. Notification of the official sought to be removed may be by any method specified in Neb. RS 25-505.01 or, if notification cannot be made with reasonable diligence by any of the methods specified in Neb. RS 25-505.01, by leaving such notice at the official's usual place of residence and mailing a copy by first-class mail to the official's last known address.
      (2)   The Governing Body shall, within 21 days after receipt of the notification from the filing clerk pursuant to division (F)(1) of this section, order an election. The date of the election shall be the first available date that complies with Neb. RS 32-405 and that can be certified to the Election Commissioner or County Clerk at least 50 days prior to the election, except that if any other election is to be held in the city with 90 days after such notification, the Governing Body shall provide for the holding of the recall election on the same day.
      (3)   If the Governing Body fails or refuses to order a recall election within the time required, the election may be ordered by the District Court having jurisdiction over a county in which the elected official serves. If a filing clerk is subject to a recall election, the Secretary of State shall conduct the recall election.
   (G)   The form of the official ballot at a recall election held pursuant to division (F) of this section shall conform to the requirements of Neb. RS 32-1307.
   (H)   (1)   If a majority of the votes cast at a recall election are against the removal of the official named on the ballot or the election results in a tie, the official shall continue in office for the remainder of his or her term but may be subject to further recall attempts as provided in division (I) of this section.
      (2)   If a majority of the votes cast at a recall election are for the removal of the official named on the ballot, he or she shall, regardless of any technical defects in the recall petition, be deemed removed from office unless a recount is ordered. If the official is deemed removed, the removal shall result in a vacancy in the office which shall be filled as otherwise provided in this section and Neb. RS 32-567 to 34-570 and 32-574.
      (3)   If the election results show a margin of votes equal to 1% or less between the removal or retention of the official in question, the Secretary of State, Election Commissioner, or County Clerk shall order a recount of the votes cast unless the official named on the ballot files a written statement with the filing clerk that he or she does not want a recount.
      (4)   If there are vacancies in the offices of one-half or more of the members of the Governing Body at one time due to the recall of such members, a special election to fill such vacancies shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible by the Secretary of State, Election Commissioner, or County Clerk.
      (5)   No official who is removed at a recall election or who resigns after the initiation of the recall process shall be appointed to fill the vacancy resulting from his or her removal or the removal of any other member of the Governing Body during the remainder of his or her term of office.
   (I)   No recall petition shall be filed against an elected an elected official within 12 months after a recall election has failed to remove him or her from office or within six months after the beginning of his or her term of office or within six months prior to the incumbent filing deadline for the office.
(1990 Code, § 1-718)  (Ord. 512, passed 11-2-1999; Ord. 783, passed 2-4-2016; Ord. 847, passed 1-7-2020; Ord. 857, passed 1-5-2021)
Statutory reference:
   Related state law provisions, see Neb. RS 25-505.01, 32-562, 32-567 through 32-570, 32-574, 32-629, 32-630, 32-1301 through 32-1309