Referendum



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.

Referenda can qualify for the statewide ballot up to 31 days before an election (unlike initiatives which must qualify 131 days before).

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.

A proponent has only 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 § 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.

The petitions must be signed by registered voters in an amount equal to 5% of the votes cast for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election. The total number of signatures required is 504,760.

Once petitions are filed, county elections officials have 8 working days to determine a raw count of the signatures submitted and report their findings to the Secretary of State.

Once the statewide total reaches at least 100% of the required amount of signatures (504,760), the Secretary of State directs the counties to begin a random sample verification of signatures. Counties have 30 working days to complete a random sample of 3% or 500 signatures, whichever is greater, and report their results to the Secretary of State.

If the statewide random sample total projects more than 110% of the required amount of signatures (555,237), the referendum would qualify for the ballot. If the statewide total is less than 95% of the required amount of signatures (479,522), the referendum would fail to qualify for the ballot.

If the statewide total falls between 95% and 110%, counties would be required to perform a full check of signatures and report their results to the Secretary of State within 30 working days. Once the statewide full count total reached 100% of the required amount of signatures, the referendum would qualify for the ballot.

Once on the ballot, the law is repealed if voters cast more NO votes than YES votes on the referendum in question.

The Summary of Referendum Data provides a one page summarization of the total number of referendum cleared for circulation, qualified for the ballot, and how many of those were approved by voters.

Here is a complete list of referenda measures that have been placed on the ballot or circulated for signature but did not qualify for the ballot.


Print Version (pdf ~45KB)



  Election Date Proposition Issue Outcome Yes % No %
1 November 5, 1912 3 Appointment of
Registrar of Voters
Rejected
by voters
145,924 36.4% 255,051 63.6%
2 November 5, 1912 4 Salaries and Fees,
Officers, Courts, 3rd class
Rejected
by voters
135,303 34.8% 254,327 65.2%
3 November 5, 1912 5 Officers of a County Rejected
by voters
142,729 36.6% 246,818 63.4%
4 November 3, 1914 4 Abatement of Nuisances Approved
by voters
402,629 53.3% 352,821 46.7%
5 November 3, 1914 5 Investment Companies Act Approved
by voters
343,805 54.4% 288,084 45.6%
6 November 3, 1914 6 Water Commission Act Approved
by voters
309,950 50.7% 301,817 49.3%
7 November 3, 1914 18 Non-Sale of Game Rejected
by voters
353,295 49.4% 361,446 50.6%
8 October 26, 1915   Direct Primary Law Rejected
by voters
112,681 41.8% 156,967 58.2%
9 October 26, 1915 2 Form of Ballot Law Rejected
by voters
106,377 41.3% 151,067 58.7%
10 November 7, 1916   Direct Primary Law Rejected
by voters
319,559 47.7% 349,723 52.3%
11 November 5, 1918 17 Tax Levy Limitations Rejected
by voters
127,634 33.0% 259,626 67.0%
12 November 2, 1920 2 Prohibition Enforcement Act Rejected
by voters
400,475 46.2% 465,537 53.8%
13 November 2, 1920 8 Poison Act Approved
by voters
479,764 63.9% 270,562 36.1%
14 November 2, 1920 13 Community Property Rejected
by voters
246,875 32.0% 524,133 68.0%
15 November 2, 1920 14 Insurance Act Rejected
by voters
308,062 48.4% 328,115 51.6%
16 November 2, 1920 15 Irrigation District Act Approved
by voters
314,522 52.8% 280,948 47.2%
17 Date Unknown N/A Establishment of
Home for Elderly Women
Did not
qualify
       
18 November 7, 1922 2 Prohibition Enforcement Act Approved
by voters
445,076 52.0% 411,133 48.0%
19 November 7, 1922 5 State Housing Act Rejected
by voters
117,110 15.6% 635,919 84.4%
20 November 7, 1922 24 Regulating Practice of Law Rejected
by voters
197,905 26.3% 555,522 73.7%
21 Date Unknown N/A Repeal of Wright Act Did not
qualify
       
22 Filed in 1923 N/A Repeal of
Community Property Law
Did not
qualify
       
23 November 3, 1926 3 Oleomargarine Rejected
by voters
287,703 27.7% 749,640 72.3%
24 November 6, 1928 1 Reapportionment of Legislative Districts Approved
by voters
692,347 54.9% 570,120 45.1%
25 November 6, 1928 8 Motor Vehicle Registration Fees Approved
by voters
936,695 71.9% 365,309 28.1%
26 Filed in 1931 N/A Reapportionment of
Senate/Assembly Districts
Did not
qualify
       
27 Date Unknown N/A Reapportionment of
Congressional Districts
Did not
qualify
       
28 May 3, 1932 1 Oil Control Rejected
by voters
303,417 21.3% 1,124,592 78.7%
29 May 3, 1932 2 Preventing Leasing of
State Owned Tide or Beach
Lands for Oil Production
Approved
by voters
794,329 59.3% 545,464 40.7%
30 December 19, 1933 1 Water and Power Approved
by voters
459,712 51.9% 426,109 48.1%
31 Filed in 1935 N/A Retail Store Licenses Did not
qualify
       
32 November 3, 1936 18 Oleomargarine Tax Rejected
by voters
400,367 20.9% 1,513,924 79.1%
33 November 3, 1936 22 Retail Store Licenses Rejected
by voters
1,067,443 43.8% 1,369,778 56.2%
34 November 8, 1938 10 Oil Leases on
State Owned Tidelands
and Huntington Beach
Rejected
by voters
491,973 22.8% 1,666,251 77.2%
35 November 8, 1938 13 Revenue Bond Act of 1937 Rejected
by voters
516,591 26.1% 1,465,841 73.9%
36 November 8, 1938 24 Leasing State Owned
Tidelands for Oil Drilling
Rejected
by voters
309,795 15.1% 1,744,801 84.9%
37 November 7, 1939 3 Personal Property Approved
by voters
1,853,663 71.1% 753,480 28.9%
38 November 7, 1939 4 Personal Property Brokers Approved
by voters
1,850,811 71.6% 732,873 28.4%
39 November 7, 1939 5 Oil and Gas Control Rejected
by voters
1,110,316 38.7% 1,755,625 61.3%
40 November 3, 1942 1 Prohibiting "Hot Cargo"
and "Secondary Boycott"
Approved
by voters
1,124,624 55.3% 909,061 44.7%
41 Filed in 1943 N/A Allows Absence of Children
from Public Schools for
Participation in Religious Exercises
Did not
qualify
       
42 Filed in 1951 N/A Property Tax Exemption Did not
qualify
       
43 November 4, 1952 3 Taxation: Welfare Exemption
of Nonprofit School Property
Approved
by voters
2,441,005 50.8% 2,363,528 49.2%
44 Filed in 1963 N/A Discrimination in Housing Did not
qualify
       
45 Filed in 1964 N/A School District Unification Did not
qualify
       
46 Filed in 1975 N/A Sexual Offenses Did not
qualify
       
47 June 8, 1982 9 Peripheral Canal Rejected
by voters
2,049,042 37.3% 3,444,483 62.7%
48 June 8, 1982 10 Reapportionment of
Congressional Districts
Rejected
by voters
1,764,981 35.4% 3,226,333 64.6%
49 June 8, 1982 11 Reapportionment
of Senate Districts
Rejected
by voters
1,883,702 37.8% 3,101,411 62.2%
50 June 8, 1982 12 Reapportionment
of Assembly Districts
Rejected
by voters
1,889,730 37.9% 3,091,888 62.1%
51 Filed in 1983 N/A Reapportionment of
Congressional Districts
Did not
qualify
       
52 Filed in 1999 N/A Assault Weapons Did not
qualify
       
53 March 7, 2000 29 Overturning Indian
Gaming Statutes
Approved
by voters
4,713,594 64.6% 2,592,107 35.4%
54 March 7, 2000 30 Insurance Claims
Practices. Civil Remedies.
Rejected
by voters
2,210,112 31.5% 4,795,576 68.5%
55 March 7, 2000 31 Insurance Claims Practices.
Civil Remedy Amendments.
Rejected
by voters
1,959,194 28.4% 4,936,904 71.6%
56 Filed in 2002 N/A Greenhouse Gas
Emissions Law
Did not
qualify
       
57 Filed in 2002 N/A Amendments to Judicial
Summary Judgment Procedure
Did not
qualify
       
58 Filed in 2003 N/A Immigrant Driver's
License Law
Did not
qualify
       
59 Filed in 2003 N/A Domestic Partner Law Did not
qualify
       
60 November 2, 2004 72 Health Care
Coverage Requirements
Rejected
by voters
5,709,500 49.2% 5,889,936 50.8%
61 Filed in 2005 N/A Authorizing Dog-
Breed-Specific Ordinances
Did not
qualify
       
62 Filed in 2007 N/A Referendum to Overturn
Amendments to Education Code
Did not
qualify
       
63 February 5, 2008 94 Referendum on Amendment
to Indian Gaming Compact
Approved
by voters
4,812,313 55.6% 3,848,998 44.4%
64 February 5, 2008 95 Referendum on Amendment
to Indian Gaming Compact
Approved
by voters
4,809,573 55.6% 3,841,352 44.4%
65 February 5, 2008 96 Referendum on Amendment
to Indian Gaming Compact
Approved
by voters
4,785,413 55.5% 3,844,408 44.5%
66 February 5, 2008 97 Referendum on Amendment
to Indian Gaming Compact
Approved
by voters
4,786,884 55.5% 3,838,892 44.5%
67 Filed July 18, 2011 N/A Referendum to Overturn
Law Requiring Internet Retailers to
Collect Same Sales or Use Taxes
as Other Retailers
Did not qualify            
68 Filed July 25, 2011 N/A Referendum to Overturn
Non-Discrimination Requirements
for School Instruction.
Did not qualify            
69 Filed August 1, 2011 N/A Referendum to Overturn
Law Requiring State to
Establish Fire Prevention Fee.
Did not qualify            
70 Filed August 1, 2011 N/A Referendum to Overturn
Authorization of Alternative
Redevelopment Agencies.
Did not qualify            
71 November 6, 2012 40 Redistricting. State
Senate Districts. Referendum.
Approved by voters 8,354,156 71.9% 3,258,740 28.1%
72 Filed September 9, 2011 N/A Redistricting.
Congressional Districts. Referendum.
Did not qualify            
73 Filed October 17, 2011 N/A Referendum to
Overturn Changes to
Ballot Measure Elections.
Did not qualify            
74 Filed October 20, 2011 N/A Referendum to
Overturn State Financial Aid for
Undocumented Students.
Did not qualify            
75 Filed October 28, 2011 N/A Referendum to
Overturn Law That Prohibits the
Required Use of Federal Electronic
Employment-Verification Systems.
Did not qualify            
76 November 4, 2014 N/A Referendum to
Overturn Indian Gaming Compacts.
Pending            
77 Filed August 26, 2013 N/A Referendum to Overturn
Non-Discrimination Requirements
for School Programs and Activities.
Did not qualify            
78 Filed November 7, 2013 N/A Referendum to Overturn
Law Allowing Specified
Licensed Medical Professionals to Perform
Early Abortion Procedures.
Did not qualify            
79 Filed November 7, 2013 N/A Referendum to Reimpose
Different Standards on Clinics Providing Abortion
Services than on
Other Primary Care Clinics.
Did not qualify            

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