NOTE: Due to sensitive timelines, level of necessary coordination, and changes to office procedures in light of the pandemic, please notify the City Elections Office of intentions to pursue a recall petition and to make arrangements to submit recall paperwork by appointment.
View previous and ongoing prospective petitions on the City Elections Office's Petitions and Measures Log.
Recall Election Process Overview
- View an infographic of an overview of the City's recall process (PDF)
- Oregon Secretary of State Recall Manual
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Historical City Recall Efforts
Step 1: Check Whether the Elected City Official is Eligible for Recall
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.” Prospective petitioners interested in the recall process should keep the following information in mind:
- Elected City officials must serve for at least six months in a single term before being subject to a recall.
- Being recalled would not prevent the elected official from running for the same office in the future.
Step 2: File a Prospective Petition for a Recall
Review the Secretary of State's Recall Manual before proceeding with filing a recall petition with the City Elections Office. After reviewing the manual, submit the following forms:
To the City Elections Office:
- Prospective Petition Sheet (SEL 350 Form)
- Cover Sheet for Local Recall Petition (SEL 353 Form)
- Signature Sheet (SEL 351 Form)
- Electronic Signature Sheet (SEL 349 Form), which may be submitted instead of or in addition to the SEL 351 Form.
To the Oregon Secretary of State's Elections Division:
- Statement of Organization for Petition Committee (SEL 222 Form)
- If petitioners do not expect to spend or receive more than $3,500 in a calendar year, they may also file a Certification of Limited Contributions and Expenditures Form with the Oregon Secretary of State.
Forms submitted to the City Elections Office will be processed within three business days after all required forms are received.
NOTE: The City Elections Office must approve signature sheets before signatures can be gathered.
Step 3: Circulate Signature Sheet
An approved Signature Sheet (SEL 351 Form) or Electronic Signature Sheet (SEL 349 Form) may be circulated by petitioners to gather signatures for the recall petition. Petitioners have 90 calendar days from the filing date of the Prospective Petition (SEL 350 Form) to collect the required number of signatures to hold a recall election.
Required Number of Signatures (for recall elections through November 2022): 47,788
The required number of signatures is based on 15 percent of the total number of registered Portland voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election (ORS 249.870). Based on the most recent governor's election on November 6, 2018, this number is currently 47,788.
Step 4: Signature Verification
Once petitioners submit completed signature sheets to the City Elections Office, the City Elections Office coordinates with the County to verify that sufficient valid signatures have been collected to hold a recall election. Signature verification is completed within 10 days after the petitioners submit the signature sheets or within 100 days of the prospective petition filing date, whichever occurs first.
For petitions with enough valid signatures submitted: The City Elections Officer immediately notifies the elected City official, and the process moves to Step 5.
For petitions without enough valid signatures submitted: If the deadline to submit signatures has not passed, chief petitioners will have the opportunity to submit additional signatures before the deadline.
If the deadline to submit signatures has passed, the petition is void.
Step 5: Resignation Period
Once the City Elections Officer notifies the elected City official that sufficient valid signatures have been verified for a recall election, the elected official has five days after being notified to resign or submit a Statement of Justification (SEL 352 Form). If the elected City official resigns within five days, the position becomes vacant and no recall election will be held.
Step 6: Recall Election
If the elected City official does not resign, the City will hold a recall election no later than 35 days after the end of the five-day resignation period.
For a recall election, the ballot will include the following information:
- The "Statement of Reasons for Demanding Recall," as submitted by the petitioner in the prospective petition.
- The "Statement of Justification," as submitted by the elected City official.
- The Question: “Do you vote to recall _______ from the office of _______?,” with the name of the person against whom a recall petition has been filed printed in the first blank space and the public office held by the person printed in the second blank space.
Step 7: Official Results
The County will deliver an abstract of the voting results to the City Elections Office within 20 days. If the abstract reflects that the majority of voters voted to recall the elected City official, the position immediately becomes vacant.
Step 8: Replacement of a Recalled Official
Once a position becomes vacant due to the recall of an elected City official, a special election will be held for candidates to fill the vacancy within the timelines provided by City Charter Section 2-206. If no candidate receives a majority of votes cast in the initial special election, a runoff special election will also be held as provided in City Charter Section 2-206.