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Election Dates in California

The statewide election is to be held on the first Tuesday in November of each even-numbered year

By Chris Micheli, January 24, 2022 6:38 am

As readers would expect, the California Elections Code provides numerous election dates. They are contained in Division 1, entitled “Established Election Dates,” and contained in Sections 1000 to 1500.

Chapter 1 provides the main election dates in this state. Section 1000 sets forth the “established election dates.” Section 1001 sets forth the statewide election dates as an election held in November of an even-numbered year, and an election held in June of an even-numbered year that is not evenly divisible by four and in March of each even-numbered year that is evenly divisible by four. Section 1002 requires all state, county, municipal, district, and school district elections to be held on an established election date.

Section 1003 specifies that this chapter does not apply to the following:

  • Any special election called by the Governor.
  • Elections held in chartered cities or chartered counties in which the charter provisions are inconsistent with this chapter.
  • School governing board elections consolidated or initiated by petition.
  • Elections of any kind required or permitted to be held by a school district located in a chartered city or county when the election is consolidated with a regular city or county election held in a jurisdiction that includes 95 percent or more of the school district’s population.
  • County, municipal, district, and school district initiative, referendum, or recall elections.
  • Any election conducted solely by mailed ballot.
  • Elections held pursuant to the Education Code.

Chapter 2 provides the Election Day. Section 1100 states that no election is to be held on any day other than a Tuesday, nor is any election to be held on the day before, the day of, or the day after, a state holiday.

Chapter 3 provides the Statewide Elections. Section 1200 requires the statewide election to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year. Section 1201 requires the statewide direct primary to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June of each even-numbered year that is not evenly divisible by four and on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March in each even-numbered year that is evenly divisible by four. Section 1202 requires the presidential primary to be consolidated with the statewide direct primary in any year that is evenly divisible by four, and the consolidated primary must be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March.

Chapter 4 provides for Local Elections. Section 1300 requires an election to select county officers to be held with the statewide primary at which candidates for Governor are nominated. In the event that county officers are not elected, this election is deemed a primary election and a county general election must be held with the statewide general election to select county officers.

Section 1301 requires a general municipal election to be held on an established election date. However, a city council may enact an ordinance requiring its general municipal election to be held on the day of the statewide direct primary election, the day of the statewide general election, the day of school district elections, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of March in each odd-numbered year, or the second Tuesday of April in each year.

Section 1302 requires the regular election to select governing board members in any school district, community college district, or county board of education to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each odd-numbered year.

Section 1302.1 specifies that in a community college district that includes the trustee areas authorized to be established, the consolidation of the election of trustees on the same date as the statewide general election may be approved by any county or counties for the trustee areas located entirely within the county or counties.

Section 1302.2 provides that, when an elementary, unified, high school, or community college district includes within its boundaries the same territory, or territory that is in part the same, as a chartered city, the governing board member elections of the elementary, unified, high school, or community college district may be consolidated with the city election.

Section 1302.3 provides that an annual election for members of the board of education must be held in each unified district that is coterminous with or includes in its boundaries all or any portion of a chartered city or city and county the charter of which provides for a board of education, of five members with five-year terms, with the term of one member expiring each year. The election must be held annually on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Section 1302.5 states that, upon recommendation of the county superintendent of schools and with the approval of the county board of supervisors, the election of governing board members of school districts whose boundaries are coterminous with the boundaries of the county, must be consolidated with the November general election.

Section 1303 requires that, unless the principal act of a district provides that an election be held on one of the other dates, a general district election to elect members of the governing board must be held in each special district on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each odd-numbered year.

Section 1304 requires a general district election to be held in each district on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in each odd-numbered year to choose a successor for each elective officer the term of whose office will expire on the following first Friday in December.

Chapter 5 provides for Special Elections. Section 1400 requires each special election to be held on one of the established election dates set by this division or on the date of any statewide special election. Section 1405 requires the election for a county initiative to be held at the next statewide election occurring not less than 88 days after the date of the order of election.

Section 1410 requires the election for a county or municipal referendum to be held at the jurisdiction’s next regular election occurring not less than 88 days after the date of the order of election or at a special election called for that purpose not less than 88 days after the date of the order of election.

Section 1415 provides that a city or city and county charter proposal proposed by the governing body of a city or city and county on its own motion must be submitted to the voters at the next established statewide general election occurring not less than 88 days after the date of the order of election.

Chapter 6 provides for Mail Ballot Elections. Section 1500 provides that the established mailed ballot election dates are the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May of each year and the last Tuesday in August of each year.

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2 thoughts on “Election Dates in California

  1. I do not know why they bother to hold elections in California when the tabulated ballots are preprinted with the results this progressive authoritarian government needs to stay in power. We need a voter referendum demanding the voting process return to one election day, voting in person with valid ID. Absentee voting must be applied for with valid ID and an approved reason. Until then I will go through the motions of voting, knowing that my vote will be disregarded.

  2. The headline incorrectly says (certain) elections are to be held on the first Tuesday of November. Not so – they must take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (in other words, the date must be between the 2nd and 8th).

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