The people of the city reserve the power to recall any member of the council and may exercise such power by filing with the city clerk a petition, signed by qualified voters of the territory from which the council member is elected equal in number to at least 10 percent of the qualified voters of the territory from which the council member is elected, demanding the removal of a councilmember. The petition shall be signed and verified in the manner required for an initiative petition, shall contain a general statement of the grounds for which the removal is sought, and one of the signers of each petition paper shall make an affidavit that the statements therein made are true.
The above §6 states that “any member of the council” may be recalled, and that includes the mayor [See City Charter, Article II, §1(B)]
A recall petition for removal of the mayor would have to be “signed by qualified voters of the territory from which the council member is elected,” and because the mayor is elected at large that would be qualified voters from the whole city. The minimum number of valid signatures to recall the mayor would be “at least 10 percent of the qualified voters” of the whole city. “Qualified voter” means registered voter. [See Texas Election Code, §277.0021]
A recall petition for removal of a council member would have to be “signed by qualified voters of the territory from which the council member is elected,” and that would be qualified voters from that council member’s single-member district. The minimum number of valid signatures to recall a council member would be “at least 10 percent of the qualified voters” of that council member’s district. “Qualified voter” means registered voter. [See Texas Election Code, §277.0021]
Other City Charter sections under Article IV further deal with recall, i.e. §7 election, §8 ballot, §9 results, §10 time limitation, as well as provisions such as §3 dealing with requirements for signing and verification of initiative petitions (which a recall petition must mirror).
City Charter, Article IV, §3 deals with validation of an initiative or referendum petition, but §6 explicitly makes this apply to a recall petition as well. Section 3 says a petition “shall be … validated in the manner prescribed by state law for a petition to initiate an amendment to this Charter.” The verification requirements in state law are found in Texas Election Code, §277.002:
(a) For a petition signature to be valid, a petition must:
(1) contain in addition to the signature:
(A) the signer's printed name;
(B) the signer's:
(i) date of birth; or
(ii) voter registration number and, if the territory from which signatures must be obtained is situated in more than one county, the county of registration;
(C) the signer's residence address; and
(D) the date of signing; and
(2) comply with any other applicable requirements prescribed by law.
(b) The signature is the only information that is required to appear on the petition in the signer's own handwriting.
(c) The use of ditto marks or abbreviations does not invalidate a signature if the required information is reasonably ascertainable.
(d) The omission of the state from the signer's residence address does not invalidate a signature unless the political subdivision from which the signature is obtained is situated in more than one state. The omission of the zip code from the address does not invalidate a signature.
(e) A petition signature is invalid if the signer signed the petition earlier than the 180th day before the date the petition is filed.
Texas Election Code, Chapter 277 also gives requirements for withdrawal of signatures, information on computing numbers of signatures and verifying signatures by statistical sample, and says that recall petitions may not be supplemented, modified, or amended on or after the date they are filed with the city clerk. [See Texas Election Code, §277.0022 et seq.]
City Charter, Article IV, §7 requires the city clerk to verify a recall petition within 20 days of filing, using the above Chapter 277 requirements. Once the petition is certified to the city council as being sufficient, the council member whose removal is sought has 5 days to resign. If he/she does not resign within that timeframe, the city council must order a recall election.