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February 24, 2012

Contact: Nicole Winger
(916) 653-6575

Referendum Qualifies for November 2012 California Ballot

SACRAMENTO - California Secretary of State Debra Bowen today certified a referendum for the November 6, 2012, General Election ballot. The referendum on State Senate district maps joins three other measures already on the November ballot:

  • A water bond measure, which was placed on the ballot by the Legislature;
  • A political contribution measure, which qualified through the initiative process; and
  • An auto insurance measure, which qualified through the initiative process.

In order to qualify for the ballot, the Senate map referendum needed 504,760 valid petition signatures, which is equal to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2010 gubernatorial election. The referendum initially failed to qualify through the random sample signature check. When a measure fails to qualify by random sampling, all counties must perform a full check of every petition signature submitted.

The Attorney General's official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:

REDISTRICTING. STATE SENATE DISTRICTS. REFERENDUM. State Senate districts are revised every ten years following the federal census. This year, the voter-approved California Citizens Redistricting Commission revised the boundaries of the 40 Senate districts. This referendum petition, if signed by the required number of registered voters and filed with the Secretary of State, will: (1) Place the revised State Senate boundaries on the ballot and prevent them from taking effect unless approved by the voters at the next statewide election; and (2) Require court-appointed officials to set interim boundaries for use in the next statewide election. (11-0028)

The proponent of this referendum, Julie Vandermost, can be reached at (916) 442-7757.

Article II, Section 9, of the California Constitution provides for the referendum process in California. Electors have the power to approve or reject statutes or parts of statutes, with the exception of urgency statutes, statutes calling elections, and statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for usual, current state expenses.

In January, the California Supreme Court ruled the State Senate maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission must be used in the June primary election and the November general election even if this referendum qualifies for the ballot.

The last statewide referenda on a California ballot were Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 in February 2008. Referenda are far more rare than initiatives. Since 1912, 47 state referenda have been on a California ballot.

For more information about the initiative process and history in California, go to

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