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February 24, 2015

Contact: Bill Mabie
(916) 653-6575


Referendum Qualifies For November 2016 California Ballot

SACRAMENTO – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla today certified a referendum for the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot.  The referendum to overturn the ban on single-use plastic bags joins two other measures already on the November ballot:

  • A hospital fees measure, which was placed on the ballot through the initiative process.
  • A legislative initiative amendment regarding English language education, placed on the ballot by the Legislature.


In order to qualify for the ballot, the ban on single-use plastic bags 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. A referendum can qualify via random sampling of petition signatures if the sampling projects a number of valid signatures greater than 110 percent of the required number. The plastic bag ban referendum needed at least 555,236 projected valid signatures to qualify by random sampling, and it exceeded that threshold today.

 The Attorney General’s official title and summary of the referendum is as follows:

 REFERENDUM TO OVERTURN BAN ON SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS. If signed by the required number of registered voters and timely filed with the Secretary of State, this petition will place on the statewide ballot a challenge to a state law previously approved by the Legislature and the Governor. The challenged law must then be approved by a majority of voters at the next statewide election to go into effect. The law prohibits grocery and certain other retail stores from providing single-use bags but permits sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags. (14-0011.)

 The proponent of this referendum, Doyle L. Johnson, can be reached at (916) 446-6752.

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

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