With a potential recall on the horizon for four members of the Amador County School Board, many locals may be wondering how exactly a recall effort works.

Born of the same progressive reform era that gave us the proposition and the referendum, the recall has been available to California voters to attempt to remove elected officials for more than a century, with the most famous example being the governor recall of 2003, which led to the election of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

The first step of a recall is the preparing of the notice of intent. This notice is served to the elected official in question, either by mail, or more dramatically, in person. The notice is also published in the local paper of record. Afterward, the official can file a formal written response. After that, the recall petition is prepared for the gathering of signatures.

Once everything in that process checks out, the recall petition can be circulated. The amount of signatures needed to trigger an election depends on the number of voters in the officials district. But, to pick a random example, an Amador County School Board seat would need 25 percent of registered voters within that board member’s district to sign, or about 1,000 to 1,250 signatures. Districts with less than 5,000 voters, such as Districts 1, 4 and 5 have 60 days to gather the signatures, while those with more than 5,000 (District 2) have 90 days.

After the signatures are gathered and confirmed to be legitimate by the county elections office, a recall election will then be scheduled. At this time potential replacement candidates can file to run for the office in the recall election. The ballot will have two parts, the first a yes/no question on whether the official is recalled, the second part to pick from the possible replacement candidates. The winner of the second part only takes office if the first question succeeds.