The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Recall Elections

Reference Number: MTAS-190
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 19, 2017
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Recall elections are available only if the municipality’s charter authorizes them. Procedures for recall elections are found in T.C.A. § 2-5-151, but these provisions do not apply in Nashville-Davidson County. Recall petitions must contain one or more specific grounds for removal. T.C.A. § 6-53-108.

Petitions for Recall, Referendum, or Initiative
T.C.A. § 2-5-151 outlines procedures for cities having charter provisions for recall, referendum, or initiative. The statute contains extensive rules, including:

  • A registered voter must submit the prepared petition and question to the county election commission, which must certify within 30 days whether it is proper;
  • The individual who files has 15 days to fix any problems;
  • The petition must include the question, the printed name of each signer, the date of the signature, and the signatures of at least 15 percent of the city’s registered voters;
  • The completed petition must be filed within 75 days after certification by the election commission and at least 60 days before the election; and
  • Individuals have eight days after filing to remove their names from the petition.

Since July 1, 1997, a municipality has been allowed to enact or re-enact controlling charter requirements relative to the number of signatures required and the 75-day deadline after election commission certification of the petition. T.C.A. § 2-5-151.

Responsible: