Petitioning

Procedures for Petitioning the Council to Repeal an Ordinance

1. Form a Petitioner’s Committee consisting of 5 qualified voters

2. File an affidavit with the City Clerk’s Office stating:

– Petitioner’s Committee members names and addresses
– Statement of formation of Petitioner’s Committee
– Statement of responsibility for circulation of petition
– Specifying an address where notices to the Committee are to be sent
– Citation or full text of the Ordinance sought for reconsideration

3. The Clerk may issue blank petition signature pages to the Committee. Otherwise if produced by the Committee, shall contain lines for signatures, names and addresses of signees, citation of the Ordinance sought to be reconsidered, and an Affidavit of Circulator on each page.

4. Members of the Committee assemble the petition to include:

– Signature Pages
– The full text of the Ordinance sought to be reconsidered

5. Members of the Committee circulate the petition, acquiring the necessary amount of signatures.

– At least 10% of the total number of qualified voters registered to vote at the last Municipal Election.
* 10% of 16,622 Registered Voters = 1,662 Signatures Required*

6. Completed Petitions must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office within 30 days after the adoption by the Council of the Ordinance to be reconsidered.

– All pages shall be assembled as one instrument when filed with the City Clerk.

7. The Clerk will examine the petition for sufficiency and notify the Committee within 20 days of receipt of the petition.

– If insufficiencies are detected among the petition, the Clerk will prescribe the procedures for Amendment to the Committee, subject to Article VIII, Section 8.04 of the City Charter.

8. When the petition is filed with the City Clerk, the Ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall be suspended from taking effect. The suspension shall terminate when:

– The petition is determined insufficient
– The Committee withdraws the petition
– The Council repeals the Ordinance
– 30 days have elapsed after a vote of the City on the Ordinance

9. When the petition is found to be sufficient, Council will promptly reconsider the referred Ordinance by voting its repeal.

– If the Council fails to repeal the Ordinance within 30 days after the date the petition was deemed sufficient, the matter shall be referred to the voters of the City as prescribed in Article VIII, Section 8.06 (b) of the City Charter.

Article VIII
INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM AND RECALL

Morgantown Municipal Code Exerpt from W. H. Drane at conwaygreene.com: search “petition”

SECTION 8.01. GENERAL AUTHORITY.

     (a)      Initiative.  The qualified voters of the City shall have power to propose ordinances to the Council and, if the Council fails to adopt the ordinance so proposed without any change in substance, to adopt or reject it at a City election, provided that such power shall not extend to the budget or capital program or any ordinance relating to appropriation of money, levy of taxes or salaries of City officers or employees .

 

     (b)      Referendum.  The qualified voters of the City shall have power to require reconsideration by the Council of any adopted ordinance and, if the Council fails to repeal an ordinance so reconsidered, to approve or reject it at a City election, provided that such power shall not extend to the budget or capital program or any emergency ordinance or ordinance relating to appropriation of money or levy of taxes .

 

     (c)      Recall.  The qualified voters of the City shall have the power to require the holding of a special Municipal election to submit the question of the recall of an elected officer. Not more than one recall election shall be held with respect to an officer during his term of office.

SECTION 8.02. COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDINGS; PETITIONERS’ COMMITTEE; AFFIDAVIT.

     Any five qualified voters may commence initiative or referendum proceedings by filing with the City Clerk an affidavit stating that they will constitute the petitioners’ committee and be responsible for circulating the petition and filing it in proper form, stating their names and addresses and specifying the address to which all notices to the committees are to be sent, and setting out in full the proposed initiative ordinance, or citing the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.

     Promptly after the affidavit of the petitioners’ committee is filed, the Clerk shall issue the appropriate petition blanks to the petitioners’ committee.

SECTION 8.03. PETITIONS.

     (a)      Number of Signatures.  Initiative and referendum petitions must be signed by qualified voters of the City equal in number to at least ten percent of the total number of qualified voters registered to vote at the last regular City election.

     (b)      Form and Content.  All papers of a petition shall be uniform in size and style and shall be assembled as one instrument for filing. Each signature shall be executed in ink or indelible pencil and shall be followed by the address of the person signing. Petitions shall contain or have attached thereto throughout their circulation the full text of the ordinance proposed or sought to be reconsidered.

 

     (c)      Affidavit of Circulator.  Each paper of a petition shall have attached to it when filed an affidavit executed by the circulator thereof stating that he personally circulated the paper, the number of signatures thereon, that all the signatures were affixed in his presence, that he believes them to be genuine signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be and that each signer had an opportunity before signing to read the full text of the ordinance proposed or sought to be reconsidered.

 

     (d)      Time for Filing Referendum Petitions.  Referendum petitions must be filed within 30 days after adoption by the Council of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.

SECTION 8.04. PROCEDURE AFTER FILING.

     (a)      Certificate of Clerk; Amendment.  Within twenty days after the petition is filed, the City Clerk shall complete a certificate as to its sufficiency, specifying, if it is insufficient, the particulars wherein it is defective and shall promptly send a copy of the certificate to the petitioners’ committee by registered mail. A petition certified insufficient for lack of the required number of valid signatures may be amended once if the petitioners’ committee files a notice of intention to amend it with the Clerk within two days after receiving the copy of his certificate and files a supplementary petition upon additional papers within ten days after receiving the copy of such certificate. Such supplementarypetition shall comply with the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of Section 8.03, and within five days after it is filed, the Clerk shall complete a certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition as amended and promptly send a copy of such certificate to the petitioners’ committee by registered mail as in the case of an original petition. If a petition or amended petition is certified sufficient, or if a petition or amended petition is certified insufficient and the petitioners’ committee does not elect to amend or request Council review under subsection (b) of this section within the time required, the Clerk shall promptly present his certificate to the Council and the certificate shall then be a final determination as to the sufficiency of the petition.

 

     (b)      Council Review.  If a petition has been certified insufficient and the petitioners’ committee does not file notice of intention to amend it or if an amended petition has been certified insufficient, the committee may, within two days after receiving the copy of such certificate, file a request that it be reviewed by the Council. The Council shall review the certificate at its next meeting following the filing of such request and approve or disapprove it, and the Council’s determination shall then be a final determination as to the sufficiency of the petition.

 

     (c)      Court Review, New Petition.  A final determination as to the sufficiency of a petition shall be subject to court review. A final determination of insufficiency, even if sustained upon court review, shall not prejudice the filing of a new petition for the same purpose.

SECTION 8.05. REFERENDUM PETITIONS; SUSPENSION OF EFFECT OF ORDINANCE.

     When a referendum petition is filed with the City Clerk, the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall be suspended from taking effect. Such suspension shall terminate when:

     (1)      There is a final determination of insufficiency of the petition, or

     (2)      The petitioners’ committee withdraws the petition, or

     (3)     The Council repeals the ordinance, or

     (4)      Thirty days have elapsed after a vote of the City on the ordinance.

SECTION 8.06. ACTION ON PETITIONS.

     (a)      Action by Council.   When an initiative or referendum petition has been finally determined sufficient, the Council shall promptly consider the proposed initiative ordinance in the manner provided in Article II or reconsider the referred ordinance by voting its repeal. If the Council fails to adopt a proposed initiative ordinance without any change in substance within 60 days or fails to repeal the referred ordinance within 30 days after the date the petition was finally determined sufficient, it shall submit the proposed or referred ordinance to the voters of the City.

 

     (b)      Submission to Voters.  The vote of the City on a proposed or referred ordinance shall be held not less than 30 days and not later than one year from the date of the final Council vote thereon. If no regular City election is to be held within the period prescribed in this subsection, the Council shall provide for a special election; otherwise, the vote shall be held at the same time as such regular election, except that the Council may in its discretion provide for a special election at an earlier date within the prescribed period. Copies of the proposed or referred ordinance shall be made available at the polls.

 

     (c)      Withdrawal of Petitions.  An initiative or referendum petition may be withdrawn at any time prior to the fifteenth day preceding the day scheduled for a vote of the City by filing with the City Clerk a request for withdrawal signed by at least four members of the petitioners’ committee.

     Upon the filing of such request, the petition shall have no further force or effect and all proceedings thereon shall be terminated.

SECTION 8.07. POWER OF RECALL.

     The qualified electors shall have the power to recall any member of Council whether elected by popular vote or selected to fill a vacancy, and may exercise such power by filing with the City Clerk a petition signed by qualified electors of the City equal in number to at least twenty percent of the registered voters at the last general Municipal election. Thepetition shall be signed and verified in the manner required for an initiative petition, shall contain a demand for the removal of the Councilmember or members, and shall contain a general statement of the reasons for which the removal is sought.

SECTION 8.08. ELECTION UNDER RECALL PETITION.

     The City Clerk shall, in the manner hereinbefore provided for initiative and referendum petitions, certify to Council the sufficiency of the recall petition. Thereafter, Council shall cause a special election to be held in not less than forty-five days nor more than ninety days from the date of such certification. The published notice of such special election shall contain the reasons for demanding the recall in not more than two hundred words and a justification by the Councilmember within the same limits; provided, however, that if the petition seeks to recall more than one Councilmember, each Councilmember may provide a justification of not more than one hundred words. Ballots shall be in the following form:

 

     “Shall                                         be removed from the council of the City of Morgantown?

     For the recall of                                                                                 
     Against the recall of                                  .” 

 

     Upon notification by Council of the results of the election, if a majority of those voting on the question have favored recall, the office of the Councilmember so recalled shall be vacant. Provisions of this Charter with respect to general Municipal elections shall determine election procedure insofar as applicable.

SECTION 8.09. FILLING COUNCIL VACANCY CAUSED BY RECALL.

     When a vacancy occurs on the result of a recall election or when a Councilmember resigns after a recall petition certified by the City Clerk to be sufficient is presented to Council, the vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of Section 2.06 of this Charter.

SECTION 8.10. RESULTS OF ELECTION.

     (a)      Initiative. If a majority of the qualified electors voting on a proposed initiative ordinance vote in its favor, it shall be considered adopted upon certification of the election results and shall be treated in all respects in the same manner as ordinances of the same kind adopted by the Council. If conflicting ordinances are approved at the same election, the one receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall prevail to the extent of such conflict.

 

     (b)      Referendum.  If a majority of the qualified electors voting on a referred ordinance vote against it, it shall be considered repealed upon certification of the election results.

 

     (c)      Recall.  If a majority of the qualified electors voting on the question have favored recall, the office of the Councilmember so recalled shall be vacant upon certification of the election results.

WV State Code Petitioning