2006 Ballot Issues
BALLOT LANGUAGE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVE NO. 98
A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PROPOSED BY INITIATIVE PETITION
Montana statutes currently provide for the recall of public officials, including state court justices or judges, for physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense. This measure amends the Montana Constitution to provide for recall by petition of state court justices or judges for any reason. It is effective upon approval.
[ ] FOR amending the Montana Constitution to provide for recall by petition of state court justices or judges for any reason.
[ ] AGAINST amending the Montana Constitution to provide for recall by petition of state court justices or judges for any reason.
THE COMPLETE TEXT OF CONSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVE NO. 98
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Article VII is amended to read:
NEW SECTION. [Section 12]. (1)
This amendment shall subject to recall each elected justice or judge of the
state or its political subdivisions including a justice or judge appointed to
an elected judicial office.
(2) A petition for recall may be filed by up to
three qualified electors serving as chief petitioners. The chief petitioners
(a) provide a justification statement, not
exceeding 200 words, declaring the reasons for the recall;
(b) circulate the petition in an approved form;
(c) file the signed petitions with the
appropriate election administrator for verification and certification.
(3) No petition for recall may be filed sooner
than 60 days following the time the justice or judge takes office.
(4) The sufficiency of the justification
statement required under subsection (2) is a political question answered solely
by the qualified electors participating in the recall election and no judicial
recall petition shall otherwise be subject to judicial inquiry or review. The
justification statement is sufficient if it sets forth any reason acknowledging
electoral dissatisfaction with a justice or judge notwithstanding good faith
attempts to perform the duties of the office.
the review protections granted under subsection (3) a petitioner or petitioners
providing a justification statement shall not be shielded from responsibility
for any untrue statements contained in the justification statement.
(6) Prior to
circulation, a recall petition shall be approved as to form. The appropriate
elections officer is the officer who is provided by law to accept the
declaration of nomination or petition for nomination for such office. A
judicial recall petition shall be examined for form and shall be approved or
denied for circulation within three business days. A petition shall be approved
as to form if it contains a justification statement and includes a circulation
sheet that includes signer information categories sufficient to identify
qualified electors signing the petition.
circulation sheets containing the required number of signatures shall be
submitted to the officer responsible for registration of electors in the county
in which the signatures were obtained within 3 months of the time the petition
was approved. The required number of signatures shall serve as prima facie
evidence of a completed recall that is qualified for election. The required
number of signatures shall be:
(a) for an office of
justice or judge subject to statewide election, at least 10% of the number of
votes cast in the previous election to fill that office; or
(b) for any other
office of a justice or judge, at least 15% of the number of votes cast in the
previous election to fill that judicial office.
(8) The county clerk in each county
in which a judicial recall petition is submitted shall have up to 15 business
days to examine the filed signatures and determine whether invalid signatures,
if any, exist in such number so as to render the filing incomplete. A recall
petition meeting prima facie filing requirements shall not be determined
incomplete unless a sufficient number of invalid signatures is identified. The
clerk shall certify such to the appropriate elections officer with whom the recall
petition is to be filed.
(9) In the case of a statewide
election the secretary of state shall have 10 days to tabulate certified
signatures from the county; and in the case of districts which are not
statewide districts the appropriate election officer or officers shall have 5
days to tabulate certified signatures.
special election shall be held on the question of recall within 75 days of the
filing of a complete recall petition; however, if an election is already
scheduled for that electoral district within 90 days of filing, the question of
recall may be included in such election. The call for a special election shall
be made by the governor in the case of an office subject to statewide election
or by the official(s) authorized to call a special election for a political
subdivision in the case of all other offices.
(11) If a
justice or judge prevailed in a recall vote once during a term of office, the
legislature may require the posting of a bond by any subsequent chief
petitioners in an amount sufficient to offset the government cost of a
subsequent unsuccessful recall election during that term of office.
(12) All other
procedural statutory recall provisions not inconsistent with the design of this
amendment may be provided by law. This amendment is self-executing and shall
supplant any inconsistent statutory recall provisions. This amendment provides
a method of removing justices and judges in addition to Article VII, section
11, and does not exist as a substitute for Article VII, section 11.
NEW SECTION. Section
If part of this amendment is invalid all valid parts
remain in effect. If part of this amendment is invalid in one or more of its
applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are
severable from the invalid applications.
Section 3. Saving clause. This amendment does not affect rights and duties
that matured, penalties that were incurred, or proceedings that were begun
before the effective date of this amendment.
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Effective
This amendment is effective upon approval by the electorate.