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California’s Municipal Elections

Candidates cannot file nomination papers for more than one municipal office for the same municipality in the same election

By Chris Micheli, February 19, 2022 3:54 pm

California law in Division 10, Part 2 provides detailed rules for municipal elections. Chapter 1 of Part 2 deals with general provisions. Section 10100 specifies that, whenever the county elections official is required to examine the signatures upon any nomination paper or petition of any candidate for a municipal office, he or she may employ necessary help for the examination. The cost is paid by the city.

Section 10101 provides that Part 2 applies to all municipal elections, except where otherwise provided for in the Constitution, or in a charter duly adopted or amended pursuant to the Constitution. Section 10102 specifies that the law relating to ballot designation applies to municipal elections whether held in a general law or chartered city.

Section 10103 states that the law relating to write-in votes applies to municipal elections held in general law cities. Section 10104 provides that, if the last day for the performance of any act provided for or required by this code is a day when the elections official’s office is closed, the act may be performed upon the next business day with the same effect as if it had been performed upon the day appointed.

Chapter 2 of Part 2 deals with regulations governing elections in cities. Article 1 provides general provisions. Section 10200 requires Chapter 2 to be liberally construed to promote its objects, and no error, omission or irregularity can invalidate an election if there has been a substantial compliance with this chapter. Section 10201 provides that a proposition may be submitted at a regular election, or a special election may be called, by ordinance or resolution, for the purpose of voting on a proposition.

Article 2 deals with the nomination of candidates. Section 10220 provides that candidates may be nominated for any of the elective offices of the city in the specified manner. Not earlier than the 113th day nor later than the 88th day before a municipal election during normal office hours, as posted, the voters may nominate candidates for election by signing a nomination paper. Each candidate must be proposed by not less than 20 nor more than 30 voters in a city of 1,000 registered voters or more, and not less than five nor more than 10 voters in a city of less than 1,000 registered voters, but only one candidate may be named in any one nomination paper.

Section 10220.5 prohibits a candidate from filing nomination papers for more than one municipal office or term of office for the same municipality in the same election. Section 10221 provides that the signatures to each nomination paper must be appended on the same sheet of paper, and each signer must add his or her place of residence, giving the street and number, if any, or another designation of his or her place of residence, so as to enable its location to be readily ascertained.

Section 1022 requires every nomination paper to have annexed an affidavit of the person who circulated it, to the effect that he or she saw written all the signatures appended, and knows that they are the signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be.

Section 10223 requires each nomination paper to be accompanied by a verified statement of the candidate that he or she will accept the nomination, and will also accept the office in the event of his election.

Section 10224 requires all nomination papers to be filed with the city elections official during regular business hours as posted, not later than the 88th day before the election. Until that time, but not after, a candidate may withdraw his or her nomination paper after it is filed with the elections official.

Section 10225 provides that, if nomination papers for an incumbent officer of the city are not filed by or on the 88th day before the election, during normal business hours, the voters have until the 83rd day before the election during normal business hours to nominate candidates other than the person who was the incumbent on the 88th day, for that incumbent’s elective office.

Section 10226 requires the nomination papers and affidavits to be substantially in the following form:

“NOMINATION PAPER

We, the undersigned voters of the ____ of ____ hereby nominate ____ for the office of ____ of the city:

Name

Residence

AFFIDAVIT OF THE CIRCULATOR

State of California

County of


ss.

I, ______, solemnly swear (or affirm) all of the following:

1.That I am 18 years of age or older.

2.That my residence address, including street and number, is
.
[If no street or number exists, a designation of my residence adequate to readily ascertain its location is
.]

3.That the signatures on this nomination paper were obtained between _____, 2__, and _____, 2__; that I circulated this petition and I saw the signatures on this section of the nomination papers being written; and that, to the best of my information and belief, each signature is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be.

(Signature)

I certify (or declare) under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the
State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed by me at ____, on ____, 2__.

AFFIDAVIT OF THE NOMINEE

State of California

County of


ss.

______ being duly sworn, says that he or she is the above-named nominee
for the office of ____, that he or she will accept the office in the event of his
or her election, that he or she desires his or her name to appear on the ballot
as follows:

(Print name above),

and that he or she desires the following designation to appear on the ballot
under his or her name:

(Print desired designation above),

and that his or her residence address is .

(Print residence address as provided by affiant)

I certify (or declare) under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed by me at ____, on ____, 2___.”

Section 10227 requires all forms for nomination and election to all municipal offices to be furnished only by the city elections official during regular business hours. Section 10228 provides that a filing fee proportionate to the costs of processing a candidate’s nomination papers or a candidate’s supplemental nomination papers filed as determined by the city council and set by ordinance, but not exceeding $25, may be imposed, to be paid upon the filing of the nomination papers.

Section 10229 specifies that if, by the 88th day, during normal business hours as posted, prior to the day fixed for a regularly scheduled municipal election or the 83rd day before the election, during normal business hours as posted, if an incumbent fails to file, no one or only one person has been nominated for any elective office to be filled at that election, the city elections official is required to submit a certificate of these facts to the governing body of the city and inform the governing body of the city that it may, at a regular or special meeting held before the municipal election, adopt one of the specified courses of action.

Section 10230 provides that, if the date of a general municipal election is changed by municipal ordinance or by charter, the period to file as a candidate for the general municipal election is the same as the nomination period to file as a candidate for the election in which the general municipal election is consolidated.

Article 3 deals with the conduct of elections. Section 10240 requires the city elections official to have the necessary ballots printed and procure and furnish to the election officers the necessary supplies and equipment. The elections official must see that they are properly distributed to each precinct prior to the opening of the polls on the day of election.

Section 10241 requires, before opening the polls, the election officers to sign a declaration to discharge faithfully the duties of an election officer, before the inspector or before any other of themselves.

Section 10242 requires the polls to be open on the day of election between the hours that the governing body determines, but not less than eight consecutive hours. The hours of opening and closing the polls must be specified in the notice of election, or otherwise be the same as provided for general elections. Before the precinct board receives any ballots, it must proclaim aloud at the place of election that the polls are open.

Section 10243 requires a majority of the members of any precinct board to be present at the polling place at all times while the polling place is open.

Article 4 deals with the canvass of ballots and returns. Section 10260 requires the vote to be counted, the result of the votes cast to be posted, the supplies and records of the election to be returned to the city elections official and disposed of by him or her in accordance with the provisions of this code governing elections generally, so far as they may be applicable.

Section 10261 requires the city elections official, or a canvassing board appointed by him or her, to count the votes cast by vote by mail voters. The city elections official or board must commence this count as soon as the polls close on the day of election, and the count must continue, for not less than six hours each day providing ballots remain to be counted, until all vote by mail voter ballots have been received within the time provided by law. The result of the vote by mail vote count is required to be included with the canvass of returns from the precincts.

Section 10262 requires the canvass to be conducted by the elections official. Sections 15302 and 15303 govern the conduct of the canvass. Upon the completion of the canvass, the elections official must certify the results to the governing body.

Section 10263 provides that, upon the completion of the canvass and before installing the new officers, the governing body must adopt a resolution reciting the fact of the election and the governing body must declare elected the persons for whom the highest number of votes were cast for each office.

Section 10264 requires, as soon as the result of the election is declared, the elections official of the governing body to enter on its records a statement of the result. The statement is required to show:

  • The whole number of votes cast in the city.
  • The names of the persons voted for.
  • The measures voted upon.
  • For what office each person was voted for.
  • The number of votes given at each precinct to each person and for and against each measure.
  • The number of votes given in the city to each person and for and against each measure.

Section 10265 requires the elections official to immediately sign and deliver to each person elected a certificate of election. He or she must also administer to each person elected the oath of office prescribed in the California Constitution. Section 10266 requires the recount of votes in municipal elections to be governed by Sections 15600, et seq. of the Elections Code.

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