Statewide Initiative Guide

Revised January 2013



Preface

The Secretary of State has prepared this Statewide Initiative Guide, as required by Elections Code section 9018, to provide an understanding of the procedures and requirements for preparing and circulating initiatives, for filing sections of the petition, and describing the procedure of verifying signatures on the petition. This guide is for general information only and does not have the force and effect of law, regulation, or rule. In case of conflict, the law, regulation, or rule will apply. Interested persons should obtain the most up-to-date information available because of possible changes in law or procedure since the publication of this guide.

Please note: This guide is intended for statewide initiatives only. For information regarding the qualification of local initiatives, please contact your local elections official.

Background

In a special election held on October 10, 1911, California became the 10th state to adopt the initiative process. That year, Governor Hiram Johnson began his term by promising to give citizens a tool they could use to adopt laws and constitutional amendments without the support of the Governor or the Legislature. The new Legislature put a package of constitutional amendments on the ballot that placed more control of California politics directly into the hands of the people. This package included the ability to recall elected officials, the right to repeal laws by referendum, and the ability to enact state laws by initiative.

The initiative is the power of the people of California to propose statutes and to propose amendments to the California Constitution. (Cal. Const., art. II, section 8(a).) Generally, any matter that is a proper subject of legislation can become an initiative measure; however, no initiative measure addressing more than one subject area may be submitted to the voters or have any effect. (Cal. Const., art. II, sections 8(d) and 12.) An initiative measure is placed on the ballot after its proponents successfully satisfy the requirements described in this guide.

For historical information regarding initiative measures, please refer to The History of California Initiatives, which is produced by the Secretary of State. For current information about initiative measures that are in circulation or have qualified for the next statewide ballot, please refer to our website at: www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_j.htm or contact the Elections Division at (916) 657-2166.



Chapter I - The Initiative Process

Step One - Writing the Initiative Measure (Text of the Law)

The first step in the process of qualifying an initiative measure is to write the text of the proposed law. The initiative measure’s proponent(s) may obtain assistance from the Office of the Legislative Counsel in drafting the language of the proposed law. Proponent(s) must obtain the signatures of 25 or more electors on a request for a draft of the proposed law; proponent(s) must then present the idea for the law to the Legislative Counsel. If the Legislative Counsel determines that there is a reasonable probability the initiative measure will eventually be submitted to the voters, the Legislative Counsel will draft the proposed law. (Government Code section 10243.) Proponent(s) may also seek the assistance of their own private counsel to help draft the text of the proposed law, or they may choose to write the text themselves.

Step Two - Request for Title and Summary

Once the proposed initiative measure has been written, the proponent(s) must submit a draft of the initiative measure to the Attorney General with a written request that a circulating title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the initiative measure be prepared. (Elections Code section 9001(a).) At the time of submitting the draft to the Attorney General, the proponent(s) must pay a fee of $200. The $200 fee is placed in a trust fund in the Office of the State Treasurer and is refunded if the initiative measure qualifies for the ballot within two years after the summary has been issued to the proponent(s). If the initiative measure fails to qualify within that period, the fee is put into the General Fund of the State. (Elections Code section 9001(c).)

At the time the request for title and summary is submitted, the proponent(s) must provide public contact information and an original signed certification that reads as follows (Elections Code section 9001(b)):

                                        I, __________, delcare under penalty of perjury that I am a citizen of
                                        the United States, 18 years of age or older, and a resident of
                                        __________county, California.

Additionally, at the time the request for title and summary is submitted; the proponents(s) must also execute and submit a signed statement that reads as follows (Elections Code § 9608):

                                        I, __________, acknowledge that it is a misdemeanor under state
                                        law (Section 18650 of the Elections Code) to knowingly or willfully
                                        allow the signatures on an initiative petition to be used for any
                                        purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for the
                                        ballot. I certify that I will not knowingly or willfully allow the
                                        signatures for this initiative to be used for any purpose other than
                                        qualification of the measure for the ballot.

This statement shall be kept on file at the Attorney General's Office for not less than eight months after the certification of the results of the election for which the petition qualified or, if the measure did not qualify, eight months after the deadline for submission of the petition to elections officials. (Elections Code § 9608(b).)

For more information contact:
Office of the Attorney General
ATTN: Initiative Coordinator
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-4752 / www.oag.ca.gov

Fiscal Estimate or Opinion Not Needed

Upon receipt of the fee and request, the Attorney General will prepare a circulating title and summary, which will be the official summary of the initiative measure. (Elections Code section 9004(a).) The Attorney General shall provide a copy of the title and summary to the Secretary of State within 15 days after receipt of the final version of a proposed initiative measure. If during the 15-day period the proponent(s) of the proposed initiative measure submit amendments, other than technical, non-substantive amendments, to the initiative measure, the Attorney General shall provide a copy of the title and summary to the Secretary of State within 15 days after receipt of such amendments. (Elections Code section 9002(a).) If a fiscal estimate or opinion is required, additional time is allotted.

Fiscal Estimate or Opinion Needed

If a fiscal estimate or opinion is needed, the Attorney General, in preparing a circulating title and summary, shall in boldface print, include either the estimate of the amount of any increase or decrease in revenues or costs to the state or local government or an opinion as to whether or not a substantial net change in state or local finances would result. (Elections Code section 9005(a).) The Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee are required to jointly prepare this estimate within 25 working days from the date they receive the final version of the proposed initiative measure. If, in the opinion of the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, a reasonable estimate of the net impact of the proposed initiative measure cannot be prepared within the 25-working day period, the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee shall, within the 25-working day period, give the Attorney General their opinion as to whether or not a substantial net change in state or local finances would result if the proposed initiative measure is adopted. (Elections Code sections 9005(b)(c).) The Attorney General is allowed 15 days after receipt of the fiscal estimate or opinion to complete the title and summary. (Elections Code section 9004(b).)

When the official title and summary is complete, the Attorney General sends it and the text of the measure to the Senate and the Assembly. The Legislature may conduct public hearings on the proposed initiative measure but cannot amend it. (Elections Code section 9007.) The Attorney General also provides a copy of the circulating title and summary and its unique numeric identifier to the proponent(s) and to the Secretary of State within 15 days after receipt of the fiscal estimate or opinion. The date the copy is delivered or mailed to the proponent(s) is the "official summary date." (Elections Code sections 336, 9004(b).)

Official Summary Date

The official summary date, the date the title and summary is sent to the proponent(s) by the Attorney General, is the date the Secretary of State uses to calculate calendar deadlines provided to the proponent(s) and elections officials. (Elections Code sections 336, 9004.) No petition may be circulated prior to the official summary date. (Elections Code section 9014.)

Step Three - Format of Petitions

The format for the initiative petition is specified by law. County elections officials will not accept or file petitions which do not comply with the Elections Code. (Elections Code section 9015.) A petition may have several sections. Each section of the petition must contain the Attorney General’s title and summary and the full text of the initiative measure. (Elections Code section 9012.) The Attorney General’s title and summary shall be in at least 12-point Roman boldface type and the full text of the initiative measure shall be in at least 8-point type. Each page on which signatures are to appear must contain a copy of the Attorney General’s title and summary and the unique numeric identifier provided by the Attorney General. (Elections Code sections 9008, 9009, 9012.)

Heading

The heading of each section of a proposed initiative petition shall be in substantially the following form and must be printed in 12-point or larger Roman boldface type (Elections Code sections 9008, 9009):

Initiative Measure to Be Submitted
Directly to the Voters

Title and Summary

Immediately after the heading, insert the following statement:

The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:

Next set forth the unique numeric identifier provided by the Attorney General and the circulating title and summary prepared by the Attorney General. The unique numeric identifier and title and summary must also be printed across the top of each page of the petition whereon signatures are to appear in 12-point or larger Roman boldface.
(Elections Code sections 9008, 9009.)

Text of the Initiative Measure

The text of the proposed initiative measure should be inserted immediately following the unique numeric identifier and title and summary prepared by the Attorney General, preceded by the following statement (Elections Code sections 9008, 9009):

To the Honorable Secretary of State of California

We, the undersigned, registered, qualified voters of California, residents of ____________ County (or City and County), hereby propose amendments to [(the Constitution of California) (the ____________ Code, relating to _______________________)] and petition the Secretary of State to submit the same to the voters of California for their adoption or rejection at the next succeeding general election or at any special statewide election held prior to that general election or otherwise provided by law. The proposed [constitutional (or statutory)] amendments read as follows:

[Insert full title and text of the measure.]

Signature Section

Immediately above the portion of the petition where voters are to sign, a notice in 12-point type must appear containing the following statement (Elections Code section 101):

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
THIS PETITION MAY BE CIRCULATED BY A PAID
SIGNATURE GATHERER OR A VOLUNTEER.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK.

The petition must have room for the signature of each petition signer as well as his or her printed name, residence address, and city or unincorporated community name. Signature spaces must be consecutively numbered commencing with the number 1 for each petition section. A minimum one-inch space shall be left at the top of each page and after each name for use by the county elections official.
(Elections Code sections 100, 9013.)

Pursuant to the California Supreme Court's decision in Assembly v. Deukmejian (1982) 30 Cal.3d 638, 180 Cal.Rptr. 297, the petition form must direct signers to include their "residence address" rather than "address as registered" or other address. Each section of the petition must also contain the name of the county (or city and county) in which it was circulated. Each section shall be circulated among voters of only one county. See Appendix D for a sample petition.

Step Four – Circulating Petitions and Gathering Signatures

Calendar

Based on the official summary date, the Secretary of State will prepare a calendar of filing deadlines. The Secretary of State will send a copy of the calendar to the proponent(s) and the county elections officials within one business day of receiving the official title and summary from the Attorney General's Office. (Elections Code section 9004(c).)

Circulation Period

Proponents are allowed a maximum of 150 days, from the official summary date, to circulate petitions and collect signatures. (Elections Code section 9014.) However, the initiative measure must qualify at least 131 days before the next statewide election at which it is to be submitted to the voters. (Elections Code section 9016; Cal. Const., art. II, section 8(c).) As a result, proponent(s) may want to shorten the circulation period in order to ensure that the proposed initiative measure qualifies at least 131 days before the next statewide election.

Required Number of Signatures

In order to qualify for the ballot, the initiative measure must be signed by a specified number of registered voters depending on the type of initiative measure submitted.

Initiative Statute: Petitions proposing initiative statutes must be signed by registered voters. The number of signatures must be equal to at least 5% of the total votes cast for Governor at the last gubernatorial election. (Cal. Const., art. II, section 8(b); Elections Code section 9035.) The total number of signatures required for initiative statutes is 504,760.

Initiative Constitutional Amendment: Petitions proposing initiative constitutional amendments must be signed by registered voters. The number of signatures must be equal to at least 8% of the total votes cast for Governor at the last gubernatorial election. (Cal. Const., art. II, section 8(b); Elections Code section 9035.) The total number of signatures required for such petitions is 807,615.

Referendum

Pursuant to article II, section 9, of the California Constitution, the referendum is the power of the electors to approve or reject statutes enacted by the Legislature. However, the referendum cannot be used on urgency statutes, statutes calling elections, or statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for current expenses of the State.

Referenda on the ballot are fairly rare in comparison to initiative measures. The signature requirements are the same for a referendum as an initiative statute; however, the referendum circulation calendar, verification, timing, and form of the petition have different requirements. For example on the timing, a proponent only has 90 days from the date of the enactment of a bill (or in the case of a redistricting map, the date a final map is certified to the Secretary of State) to request and receive a title and summary from the Attorney General (Elections Code section 9006(a) allows 10 days for the preparation of the title and summary), print petitions, gather the required number of valid signatures, and file the petitions with the county elections officials.

For more referendum information, you can go to the following page entitled, Referendum www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/referenda.htm.

Declaration of Circulator

Each section shall have attached thereto a declaration by the circulator of the petition setting forth, in the circulator's own hand, the following (Elections Code sections 104, 9022):

Each declaration submitted pursuant to this section shall also set forth the following (Elections Code sections 104, 9022):

The declaration must be signed under penalty of perjury. The declaration does not need to be sworn before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths, but must include the circulator's signature, date, and place of signing preceding the circulator's signature. (Elections Code sections 104, 9022; Code Civ. Proc. section 2015.5.)

Petition Circulators

The proponent(s) of an initiative measure are required to ensure that any person, company, or other organization who solicits signatures to qualify the proposed initiative measure, whether they are paid or volunteer, receives instruction on the requirements and prohibitions imposed by state law with respect to the circulation of petitions and the gathering of signatures. Such instructions must emphasize the prohibition of the use of signatures on an initiative petition for a purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for the ballot. (Elections Code section 9607.)

The petition may be circulated by a number of individuals carrying separate, identical parts of the petition called sections. Each petition circulator who obtains signatures must complete the attached declaration to the petition. Preprinted dates or generalized dates, other than the particular range of dates during which the petition section was actually circulated, are not allowed. (Assembly v. Deukmejian (1982) 30 Cal.3d 638, 180 Cal.Rptr. 297.)

Prior to allowing a person to circulate an initiative petition for signatures, the person, company official, or other organizational officer who is in charge of signature gathering shall execute and submit to the proponent(s) a signed statement that reads as follows (Elections Code section 9609):


                                        I,__________, acknowledge that it is a misdemeanor under state
                                        law (Section 18650 of the Elections Code) to knowingly or willfully
                                        allow the signatures on an initiative petition to be used for any
                                        purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for the
                                        ballot. I certify that I will not knowingly or willfully allow the
                                        signatures for this initiative to be used for any purpose other than
                                        qualification of the measure for the ballot.

This statement shall be kept on file by the proponent(s) for not less than eight months after the certification of the results of the election for which the petition qualified or, if the measure did not qualify, eight months after the deadline for submission of the petition to elections officials.

In addition, all paid circulators shall execute and submit to the person, company official, or other organizational officer who is in charge of signature gathering a signed statement, prior to soliciting signatures on an initiative petition, that reads as follows (Elections Code § 9610):

                                        I,____________, acknowledge that it is a misdemeanor under
                                        state law (Section 18650 of the Elections Code) to knowingly or
                                        willfully allow the signatures on an initiative petition to be used for
                                        any purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for
                                        the ballot. I certify that I will not knowingly or willfully allow the
                                        signatures for this initiative to be used for any purpose other than
                                        qualification of the measure for the ballot.

This statement shall be kept on file by the person, company official, or other organizational officer who is in charge of signature gathering for not less than eight months after the certification of the results of the election for which the petition qualified or, if the measure did not qualify, eight months after the deadline for submission of the petition to elections officials. Unpaid circulators do not need to provide a signed statement. (Elections Code section 9610(c).)

Petition Signatures

Only persons who are registered, qualified voters at the time of signing are entitled to sign the petition. A person can only sign a petition that is being circulated in his or her county of registration. If a petition circulator is a registered voter, he or she may sign the petition he or she is circulating. (Elections Code sections 102, 105, 9021.) Each signer must personally place on the petition his or her signature, printed name, residence address (or physical description of the location if there is no street address), and the name of the incorporated city or unincorporated community. (Elections Code section 100.) None of the above may be preprinted on the petition. Each signer may sign an initiative petition only once. (Elections Code section 18612.)

Withdrawal of Signatures

Any voter who has signed an initiative petition may withdraw his or her name by filing a written request for the withdrawal with the appropriate county elections official prior to the date the petition is filed by the proponent(s). (Elections Code sections 103, 9602.)

Criminal Penalties

The Elections Code imposes certain criminal penalties for abuses related to the circulation of initiative petitions. It prohibits circulators from misrepresenting the purpose or contents of the petition to potential petition signers, intentionally making a false statement in response to a voter's inquiry as to whether the circulator is a paid signature gatherer or a volunteer (Elections Code section 18600), and from refusing to allow prospective signers to read the initiative measure or petition or Attorney General's summary. (Elections Code sections 18601, 18602.) No person may offer or give payment or anything of value to another in exchange for signing an initiative petition. (Elections Code section 18603.) The code also makes circulators, signers, and others criminally liable for signing or soliciting to sign false, forged, fictitious, or ineligible signatures and names. (Elections Code sections 18610-18614.) The law provides criminal penalties for persons, including public officials, who make false affidavits (for example, the circulator's declaration is an affidavit), returns, or certifications concerning any initiative measure. (Elections Code sections 18660, 18661.)

Circulating petitions within 100 feet of a polling place or an elections official's office on election day is prohibited. (Elections Code section 18370(a).) The law prohibits any person from soliciting or obtaining money or anything of value to aid in unlawfully stopping circulation or the filing of an initiative measure. (Elections Code sections 18620-18622.) It also prohibits any person from stealing petitions and from threatening petition circulators or circulators' relatives with the intent to dissuade them from circulating the petition (Elections Code sections 18630, 18631). Any person who is paid by the proponent(s) to obtain signatures on any initiative petition is subject to severe penalties for failing to surrender the petition to the proponent(s) for filing. (Elections Code section 18640.)

It should be noted that the petition or list of signatures may be used for no purpose other than the qualification of the initiative measure. (Elections Code section 18650.) This requirement prohibits using the names and addresses on petition sections for a mailing list for fundraising or other purposes.

Step Five – Turning in Signatures

Once the requisite number of signatures has been collected, they must be filed with the appropriate county elections official(s). Petitions may be submitted in sections; however, all the sections submitted in a single county must be filed at the same time. Once filed, petitions may not be amended except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. (Elections Code section 9030.)

To prevent unauthorized petitions from circulating, and unauthorized persons from filing petitions, only the proponent(s) of an initiative measure, and persons authorized in writing by one or more of the proponents, may file initiative petitions. Any other petitions submitted will be disregarded by the county elections official of the county (or city and county) in which it was circulated. (Elections Code sections 9032, 18671.)

Recommendations

In previous years, some proponents have experienced problems in submitting initiative petitions by the statutory deadline to qualify the initiative measure for a particular election. The proponent(s) are encouraged to begin the process as early as possible to ensure that all deadlines are met. The following points, previously mentioned in this guide, should be emphasized:



Chapter II - Verification of Signatures

Raw Count

Within eight working days (excluding weekends and holidays) after the filing of the petition, the county elections officials will determine the total number of signatures on the petition sections submitted in their county and report the total to the Secretary of State. If the Secretary of State determines that the raw count of signatures on petitions submitted throughout the state lacks 100 percent of the signatures required, the Secretary of State shall notify the proponent(s) and the county elections officials of the failure of the initiative measure, and no further action will be taken on that petition. (Elections Code section 9030.)

Random Sample

If the raw count equals 100 percent or more of the total number of signatures needed to qualify the initiative measure, the Secretary of State will notify the county elections officials that a random sample will be necessary. Within 30 working days of receipt of this notification, the county elections officials will verify the validity of the signatures filed with their office using a random sampling technique of verification. The elections official is required to verify 500 signatures or three percent of the number of signatures filed in their county, whichever is greater. Counties receiving less than 500 petition signatures are required to verify all the signatures filed in their office. (Elections Code section 9030.)

Under 95 Percent/Over 110 Percent

Upon completion of a random sample, the county elections officials will immediately certify to the Secretary of State the number of valid signatures appearing on the petitions in their counties. The Secretary of State then applies a formula to determine the statewide total of valid signatures. (Elections Code section 9030; Cal. Admin. Code sections 20530-20532, 20540.)

If the total number of valid signatures is less than 95 percent of the number of signatures required to qualify the initiative measure, the initiative measure will fail to qualify for the ballot. The Secretary of State will generate a failure notice and mail a copy to the proponent(s) and county elections officials. (Elections Code section 9030(f).)

If the number of valid signatures is greater than 110 percent of the required number of signatures, the initiative measure is considered qualified without further verification. (Elections Code sections 9030(g), 9033.) The Secretary of State will mail a certification letter to the proponent(s), county elections officials, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly, and the Secretary of the Senate stating the initiative measure has qualified for the next statewide election. (Elections Code section 9034.)

Full Check

If the result of the random sample indicates that the number of valid signatures represents between 95 percent and 110 percent of the required number of signatures to qualify the initiative measure for the ballot, the Secretary of State directs the county elections officials to verify every signature on the petition. This process is referred to as a "full check." Within 30 working days of receipt of this notification, the county elections officials determine the total number of qualified signatures and transmit this information to the Secretary of State. (Elections Code section 9031.)



Chapter III - Qualification and Approval

Qualifying for the Ballot

The petition is deemed filed and the initiative measure qualified on the date the Secretary of State receives certificates from all of the county elections officials showing the petition has been signed by the requisite number of voters. The Secretary of State transmits a certificate to the proponent(s) and each county elections official if the initiative measure qualifies. (Elections Code section 9033.) If the initiative measure fails to qualify, the Secretary of State must so notify the proponent(s) and county elections officials. (Elections Code section 9031.)

Upon certification of the initiative measure for the ballot, the Secretary of State will then transmit copies of the measure and the circulating title and summary prepared by the Attorney General to the State Senate and Assembly. Each house assigns the initiative measure to its appropriate committee(s) which shall then hold joint public hearings on the subject of the initiative measure, provided that no such hearing may be held within 30 days prior to the date of the election. The Legislature has no authority to alter the initiative measure or prevent it from appearing on the ballot. (Elections Code section 9034.)

Initiative Effective Date

An initiative measure approved by a majority vote takes effect the day after the election, unless the initiative measure provides otherwise. (Cal. Const., art. II, section 10(a).) If the provisions of two or more measures approved at the same election conflict, those of the measure receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail. (Cal. Const., art. II, section 10(b).) The Legislature may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute; however, any proposed statute becomes effective only when approved by the voters, unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without voter approval. (Cal. Const., art. II, section 10(c).)

Preservation of Signatures

The county elections officials must preserve initiative petitions until eight months after the certification of the results of the election for which the initiative measure qualified or attempted to qualify for placement on the ballot. The petitions may then be destroyed unless legal action or a government investigation regarding the petitions is pending. (Elections Code section 17200.) As a general rule, initiative petitions, once filed with the county elections officials, are not public records and are not open to the general public for inspection. (Government Code section 6253.5.)



Chapter IV - Political Reform Act, Forming Committees and Reporting Requirements

Recipient Committees

Any person or combination of persons is considered to be a "recipient committee" if contributions totaling $1,000 or more have been received in a calendar year. (Government Code section 82013(a).) A recipient committee must file the original Statement of Organization (Form 410) with the Secretary of State's Political Reform Division within ten days of reaching the $1,000 threshold. (Government Code section 84101(a).) In addition, recipient committees must also file a copy of the Statement of Organization with the local filing officer, if any, with whom it is required to file the originals of its campaign reports.

Use of Measure Committee Funds

Persons or committees receiving money for promoting or defeating an initiative, referendum, or recall petition, or any measure that has qualified for the ballot, must hold the money in trust and may only spend the money for the purpose for which it was entrusted to them. (Elections Code section 18680.)

Campaign Disclosure Form 460

The Recipient Committee Campaign Disclosure Statement (Form 460) is the proper disclosure form for use by all ballot measure committees in disclosing their financial activities.

Measure Committee Reporting Duties

Committees formed or existing primarily to support or oppose the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot measure and proponent(s) of a state ballot measure who control a committee formed to support the qualification of a measure must file semi-annual statements, pre-election statements, quarterly ballot measure statements, late contribution reports, and 24-hour online reports of contributions totaling $1,000 or more, as well as contributions totaling $5,000 or more, if required, as follows.

Semi-annual Statements

Committees must file semi-annual statements for each half of every year, regardless of the amount of contributions or level of activity. The closing dates for such semi-annual statements are June 30 (due July 31) and December 31 (due January 31). (Government Code section 84200(a).)

Note: All state filers whose cumulative receipts or expenditures total $50,000 or more are subject to additional electronic filing requirements. The cumulative period for calculating the $50,000 online threshold began on 1/1/2000. For a committee that is first subject to this title after 1/1/2000, the beginning date for calculating cumulative totals is the date that the committee is first subject to this title.

Pre-election Statements

Pre-election statements must be filed during the six-month period prior to the election at which the measure will appear on the ballot. (Government Code sections 84200.5, 84200.7, 84200.8.)

Quarterly Ballot Measure Statements

Committees primarily formed to support the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot measure are required to file quarterly ballot measure statements before the election. However, quarterly statements are not required during any semi-annual period in which the committee is already required to file pre-election statements. Following the election, such committees are only required to file semi-annual statements unless they make contributions or expenditures to qualify, support, or oppose other similar ballot measures, in which case they would have an ongoing duty to file quarterly statements. (Government Code section 84202.3.)

Late Contribution Reports

There are three types of reporting periods for disclosing contributions totaling $1,000 or more that are received by state ballot measure committees closer to an election. These 24-hour reports are filed on paper (or by fax), but only if the filer has not incurred electronic filing requirements since the 90-day online-only report overlaps the 16-day late report.

The first reporting period is an online filing requirement for state ballot measure committees that have previously incurred ongoing electronic filing requirements. This 24-hour report is used to electronically report all receipts of $1,000 or more from 90 days prior to, and including the date of any state election. (Government Code section 85309(b).)

The second reporting period is an online report, which is used to electronically report all contributions of $5,000 or more received at any time other than during an election cycle. This report must be filed within ten business days. (Government Code section 85309(d).) Please note that these online reports are not subject to any paper (or fax) filing requirements.

The third reporting period is the traditional late contribution reporting period which commences 16 days before the election and continues through the day before the election.

Termination Requirements

The Statement of Organization – Form 410 is used to terminate recipient committees. The original and one copy must be filed with the Secretary of State's Political Reform Division. In addition, a copy of the Form 410 must be filed with each filing officer who received a copy of the committee's last campaign statement as contained in Cal. Admin. Code section 18404(c).

For more information contact:

Secretary of State
Political Reform Division
1500 11th Street, Fourth Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Public Counter: (916) 653-6224
Campaign Desk: (916) 653-8225 or (916) 653-8063
Fax: (916) 653-5045
Website: www.sos.ca.gov

Fair Political Practices Commission
428 J Street, Suite 620
Sacramento, CA 95814
Technical Assistance: (916) 322-5660
Toll-Free Helpline: 1-866-275-3772
Fax: (916) 322-3711
Website: www.fppc.ca.gov



Appendix A - Suggested Deadlines to Qualify Initiatives

The following suggested deadlines are not substitutes for California election laws, regulations, or policy. Other factors, such as amending the initiative measure before circulation or the length of time for circulation, will affect the time it takes to complete the process.

Please note: As a result of Senate Bill 202 (Chapter 558, Statutes of 2011), from July 2011 forward, initiative and referendum measures will only appear on general elections ballots.

November 8, 2016, General Election
Qualifying Using the Random Sample Method

If the statewide raw count total equals 100% or more of the total number of signatures needed to qualify the initiative measure, each elections official is required to verify 500 signatures or 3% of the number of signatures filed in their office, whichever is greater. This process is referred to as a random sample. A county receiving less than 500 petition signatures is required to verify all the signatures filed in their office. If there is more than 110% of the required number of valid signatures, the petition will be qualified. (Elections Code section 9030.)

October 2, 2015 - Suggested last day for proponent(s) to submit proposed measure to the Attorney General and request a circulating title and summary.

November 24, 2015 - Attorney General prepares and issues the circulating title and summary; proponent(s) may begin circulation of the petition (includes time allotted for fiscal estimate).

April 22, 2016 - Last day for proponent(s) to file the petition with county elections officials.

May 4, 2016 - Last day for county elections officials to complete raw count totals and certify raw numbers to the Secretary of State.

May 13, 2016 - Last day for Secretary of State to receive raw count totals from each county elections official, determine whether the initiative petitions meet the minimum signature requirement, generate the random sample, and notify each county elections official of the results.

June 27, 2016 - Last day for county elections officials to verify and certify results of the random sampling of signatures to the Secretary of State.

June 30, 2016 (E-131) - Last day for Secretary of State to determine whether the measure qualifies for the ballot or 100% signature verification is necessary. At this point, if a 100% signature verification were necessary, it would not qualify for the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot.

November 8, 2016, General Election
Qualifying Using the Full Check Method

If the result of the random sample indicates that the number of valid signatures represents between 95% and 110% of the required number of signatures to qualify the initiative measure for the ballot, the Secretary of State directs the county elections officials to verify every signature on the petition. This process is referred to as a full check. Within 30 working days of receipt of this notification, the county elections officials determine the total number of qualified signatures and transmit this information to the Secretary of State. (Elections Code section 9031.)

August 13, 2015 - Suggested last day for proponent(s) to submit proposed measure to the Attorney General and request a circulating title and summary.

October 6, 2015 - Attorney General prepares and issues the circulating title and summary; and proponent(s) may begin circulation of the petition (includes time allotted for fiscal estimate).

March 4, 2016 - Last day for proponent(s) to file the petition with county elections officials.

March 16, 2016 - Last day for county elections officials to complete raw count totals and certify raw numbers to the Secretary of State.

March 23, 2016 - Last day for Secretary of State to receive raw count totals from each county elections official, determine whether the initiative petitions meet the minimum signature requirement, generate the random sample, and notify each county elections official of the results.

May 5, 2016 - Last day for county elections officials to verify and certify results of the random sampling of signatures to the Secretary of State.

May 13, 2016 - Last day for Secretary of State to determine whether the initiative petition qualifies or 100% signature verification is necessary.

June 27, 2016 - Last day for county elections officials to certify to the Secretary of State the results of the 100% signature check.

June 30, 2016 (E-131) - Last day for the Secretary of State to determine whether the measure qualifies for the ballot.



Appendix B - Further Contact Information



Appendix C - County Elections Officials




Appendix D - Sample Petition


Elections &
Voter Information




Register To Vote Online