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City Recall Questions

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A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the recall process of elected City officials. While this page includes FAQs, they are not legal advice. For exact language and legal requirements, view Portland City Code and City Charter.


Can elected officials be recalled? If so, how?

Yes. Article II, Section 18 of the Oregon Constitution provides that “every public officer in Oregon is subject, as herein provided, to recall by the electors of the state or of the electoral district from which the public officer is elected.” The City Elections Office provides general information on the recall petition process, which is regulated only by state law. The Oregon Secretary of State’s office provides a recall manual with specific information on how to file and begin the recall process. Additionally, the Oregon Secretary of State maintains a general recall webpage.

Are funding disclosures required on communications related to a potential recall election if a recall petition has not been filed?

Yes. The City’s campaign disclosure requirements apply to communications related to all City of Portland candidate elections, including potential recall elections. This includes the periods of time before a prospective petition is filed, after the prospective petition is filed and throughout signature gathering, and after the completed petition is filed.

Are funding disclosures required on petition sheets that are circulated for signatures?

No. Government documents are exempt from the City’s disclosure requirements.

When determining the contribution limits and funding disclosures applicable to a recall campaign, what election cycle should be used?

Before a recall election date has been declared, the election cycle is the cycle spanning the term of office of the elected City official who is the subject of the recall. That cycle begins on the day the City Auditor’s Office last certified the official election results for that office. To find dates that the Auditor’s Office certified official election results, see past General and Primary Election Reports to Council available on the View City Elections Results webpage.

After City Council declares an official date for a recall election, the regular election cycle suspends and a new recall election cycle begins. The recall election cycle is an independent cycle for purposes of applying campaign finance and funding disclosure rules.  When the recall election cycle ends at midnight on the day of the recall election, the regular election cycle resumes.

All contributions shown are from same person or political committee
ScenariosRegular Election Cycle -- Before a Recall Election Date is DeclaredRecall Election Cycle -- From the Day a Recall Election Date is Set Through Midnight of the Recall Election (Regular Cycle Suspends)Regular Election Cycle Resumes -- After Midnight on the Day of the Recall Election
Scenario 1Receives Maximum Contribution ($579)Receives Maximum Contribution ($579)May NOT Receive any Additional Contributions
Scenario 2Receives Contribution Below Maximum Amount (e.g., $258)Receives Maximum Contribution ($579)May Receive Contribution up to Maximum Amount (e.g., $321if received $258 earlier in regular election cycle)
Scenario 3Receives $0Receives Maximum Contribution ($579)May Receive Maximum Contribution ($579)
Scenario 4Receives $0Receives $0May Receive Maximum Contribution ($579)

See City Code 2.10.080 H. and ARA 13.02(E) for more on defining election cycles.

See City Code Sections 2.10.030 and 2.10.080, and ARA 13.04 for more information on disclosure requirements.

Are elected City officials who are the subject of a recall petition eligible to participate in the City’s public funding of campaigns program leading up to the recall election?

Please contact the Small Donor Elections Program for any questions related to eligibility for the City’s public funding program.

To respond to a recall effort, can elected City officials use funds collected before a recall election date is declared or a recall petition is filed?

The City Code and City Charter limit the amount of contributions candidates can collect. However, the City Code and City Charter are silent on the use of contributions collected in multiple election cycles to respond to a recall effort.

Note: Candidates should always check with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Elections Division for any state requirements.

If an elected official is recalled, can they run for re-election?

If an elected official is successfully recalled, a special election will occur to fill the remainder of the term. Recalled elected officials may not file to run for the remainder of the term from which they have been recalled. However, nothing in City regulations or state law prevents them from running for that office in the future.


Have additional questions? Please contact the City Elections Office at elections@portlandoregon.gov or 503-865-6503.