TRENTON-The topic on social media in recent weeks has revolved around what to do with Governor Phil Murphy and all of his bad decisions. Many have questioned the peoples’ ability to recall the governor, but is that even possible?
Yes, under New Jersey law, the citizens of New Jersey can recall a governor. It’s right there in our state constitution.
“The people reserve unto themselves the power to recall, after at least one year of service, any elected official in this State or representing this State in the United States Congress. The Legislature shall enact laws to provide for such recall elections. Any such laws shall include a provision that a recall election shall be held upon petition of at least 25% of the registered voters in the electoral district of the official sought to be recalled. If legislation to implement this constitutional amendment is not enacted within one year of the adoption of the amendment, the Secretary of State shall, by regulation, implement the constitutional amendment, except that regulations adopted by the Secretary of State shall be superseded by any subsequent legislation consistent with this constitutional amendment governing recall elections. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question.”
There are roughly 5.2 million registered voters in New Jersey. 1.8 million of those registered voters are Democrats. 1.1 million are Republicans. The rest are registered as independents and under third parties.
In order to recall Governor Murphy, you would need at least 1.4 million signed petitions. For safe measure, you would want to collect many more than that because some will sign, who aren’t registered voters and others could have more nefarious motives, such as intentionally singing bogus information on those petitions to mess up the count.
Once you start a recall, you better get to work, because the clock starts ticking. You have just 320 days to get 1.4 million petitions signed, but with the internet and social media, that might not be as hard as it sounds.
After you get the signatures, it doesn’t mean the Governor will be recalled, it means the state would hold a recall election.
Only two state Governors have ever been recalled in U.S. history. Ini 1921, Governor Lynn Frazier of North Dakota was successfully recalled. In 2013, California Governor Gray Davis was terminated via recall and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
According to ballotopedia, here’s how it all works:
A recall committee of at least three registered voters is needed to initiate recall proceedings. This process may not begin until 50 days before the completion of the incumbent’s first year of the current term in office. The recall committee must notify the appropriate election official of the names and addresses of at least three members of the recall committee. The election official accepting the petition will then review the notice of intention for compliance with statutory provisions, calculate the cost of a special election, and notify committee members of the acceptance or rejection of the notice, within three business days. The election official also notifies the incumbent of the notice of intention of recall within five business and publishes a notice of the recall effort.
Upon approval of the petition, the recall committee and other registered voters in the jurisdiction of the recall election will solicit the signatures of other registered voters in that jurisdiction. The recall effort is limited to 320 days for a Governor or 160 days for other elected officials from the date of the notice of intention. The petition requires the signatures of 25% of the registered voters in the jurisdiction, as of the last general election.
The election official reviewing the petition will then certify the number of signatures and determine validity within 10 days. If the petition is accepted, the election official will schedule the recall election.
Story has been edited to properly reflect “50 days before” not “50 days after”.