Lawmaker proposes recall process for state elected officials

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A legislative response to elected officials across New Mexico misbehaving could give voters more power to kick out certain state officials. 

Republican Representative Bill Rehm has proposed a Constitutional Amendment that aims to create a recall process of elected state officials. 

House Joint Resolution 11 would create a constitutional amendment outlining a recall process applying to state officials who are elected to positions within the Executive and Legislative branches. 

VIEW: House Joint Resolution 11 on recall elections »

“Currently the only way to remove an elected official is to impeach them,” said Rehm. 

That impeachment process requires a panel of legislators to investigate and act. Outside of impeachment, executive and legislative lawmakers can’t be removed by voters before their term is up. 

Representative Rehm wants voters to have more control. Under is proposed resolution, voters could launch a recall petition by citing specific “acts or failures” an elected state official. 

Under the resolution, the petitioner would have 90 days to get signatures from 25 percent of voters who voted in the election that the official won their position from. 

If those obligations are met, it would trigger a special recall election on the candidate that would need to take place within 90 days. 

According to the legislation, Rehm’s proposal would only apply to the state’s executive or legislative branches. There are no provisions in the bill outlining state officials in the judicial branch. 

Rehm believes it’s a good way to start holding lawmakers more accountable. 

“To say you know what, we need to change them rather than wait until the election,” said Rehm. 

Rehm’s proposal would have a clear a few major hurdles before it could be enacted. First, the resolution would need to pass both the New Mexico House and Senate with simple majority votes.  

The resolution wouldn’t need to be signed by the Governor. However, the resolution would also need to pass a statewide public vote in order to take effect, as it would be a Constitutional amendment. 

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