The D.C. Council approved a bill last week allowing residents to recall their Advisory Neighborhood Commission members and to vote for candidates to fill vacant seats.

Under current law, other commission members decide who will fill vacant seats.

They also have the final say if a commissioner should be removed.

Since the ANCs were created 14 years ago, no ANC has voted to remove one of its members, city officials said.

The bill, introduced by council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large), stipulates that residents could force a special election to remove a commissioner if 10 percent of the voters in the commissioner's single-member district sign a recall petition.

To fill a vacant seat, the ANC would call for a special election. Residents would vote at the same location where they vote in regular elections.

However, the bill also gives the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics the option of using postal ballots.

The District has never held elections using postal ballots. Board of Elections and Ethics spokeswoman Leona Agouridis said the bill would give the city a chance to experiment with postal elections "on a small scale."

The bill as initially proposed by Kane also would have established an office to provide ANCs with technical assistance, which, since 1976, has been provided by the mayor's agents.

Kane made the proposal to reduce the mayor's influence over the ANCs.

However, the measure was dropped in committee because several council members said the proposed new office, which would still be in the executive branch, did not go far enough in making the office independent.

Garland Pinkston Jr., the director of the city's Office of Intergovernmental Relations, said he expects the mayor will sign the legislation.