Once the requisite number of signatures has been collected, the petitions must be filed with the appropriate county elections official(s). Counties then have eight working days to report the raw count of signatures to the Secretary of State.
If the raw count of signatures equals 100% or more of the total number of signatures needed to qualify the initiative or referendum measure, the Secretary of State notifies the county elections officials that they will have to randomly sample signatures for validation, to ensure petitions were signed by registered voters. 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 or referendum 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 of signatures. If the total number of valid signatures is less than 95% of the number of signatures required to qualify the initiative or referendum measure, the proposed measure will fail to qualify for the ballot. For an initiative measure, if the number of valid signatures is greater than 110% of the required number of signatures, the initiative measure will be eligible for the ballot. Eligible initiative measures will become qualified for the ballot on the 131st day prior to the next statewide general election unless withdrawn by the proponent(s) prior to its qualification by the Secretary of State. For a proposed referendum measure, if the number of valid signatures is greater than 110% of the required number of signatures, the referendum measure is considered qualified without further verification. A referendum can qualify up to 31 days prior to a statewide general election. Spreadsheets containing the progress of a proposed initiative or referendum measure in the signature verification stage are updated regularly.
*Elections Code section 9034 requires that once proponent(s) of a proposed initiative measure have gathered 25% of the number of signatures required (currently 155,803 for an initiative statute and 249,285 for a constitutional amendment) proponent(s) must immediately certify that they have done so under penalty of perjury to the Secretary of State.