Part ll Direct Democracy in California. Part l is here.
In addition, within eight days after the filing of the petition, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the elections official must determine the total number of signatures affixed to the petition and transmit this information to the Secretary of State. If the total number of signatures filed with all elections officials is less than 100 percent of the number of qualified voters required to find the petition sufficient, the Secretary of State must notify the proponents and the elections officials, and no further action is to be taken with regard to the petition.
However, if the number of signatures filed with all elections officials is 100 percent or more of the number of qualified voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, the Secretary of State must immediately so notify the elections officials. Then, within 30 days after this notification, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the elections official must determine the number of qualified voters who have signed the petition.
The elections official, upon the completion of the examination, is required to immediately attach to the petition, except the signatures thereto appended, a properly dated certificate, showing the result of the examination, and immediately transmit the petition and the certificate to the Secretary of State.
If the certificates received from all elections officials by the Secretary of State establish that the number of valid signatures does not equal 95 percent of the number of qualified voters needed to find the petition sufficient, the petition is deemed to have failed to qualify, and the Secretary of State must immediately so notify the proponents and the elections officials.
Finally, if the certificates received from all elections officials by the Secretary of State total more than 110 percent of the number of qualified voters needed to find the petition sufficient, the Secretary of State certifies that the measure is qualified for the ballot.
Section 9031 provides that, if the statistical sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is within 95 to 110 percent of the number of signatures of qualified voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, the Secretary of State is required to order the examination and verification of the signatures filed, and shall so notify the elections officials.
Section 9032 provides that the petition is to be reserved to its proponents, and any section thereof presented for filing by any person or persons other than the proponents of a measure or by persons duly authorized in writing by one or more of the proponents shall be disregarded by the elections official.
Section 9033 requires that, when the Secretary of State has received from one or more elections officials or registrars a petition, certified to have been signed by the requisite number of qualified voters, the Secretary of State must forthwith notify the proponents and immediately transmit to the elections official or registrar of voters of every county or city and county in the state a notice directing that signature verification be terminated.
In the case of an initiative measure, the Secretary of State is required to identify the date of the next statewide general election, or the next special statewide election, that will occur not less than 131 days after the date the Secretary of State receives a petition certified to have been signed by the requisite number of qualified voters. On the 131st day prior to the date of the election, the Secretary of State must do specified activities. Upon the issuance of a certificate of qualification, an initiative measure shall be deemed qualified for the ballot.
Section 9034 provides that the proponents of a proposed initiative measure must submit a certification, signed under penalty of perjury, to the Secretary of State immediately upon the collection of 25 percent of the number of signatures needed to qualify the initiative measure for the ballot. Thereafter, the Secretary of State is required to transmit copies of the initiative measure, together with the circulating title and summary as prepared by the Attorney General to the Senate and the Assembly.
Thereafter, each house of the Legislature must assign the initiative measure to its appropriate committees. The appropriate committees are required to hold joint public hearings on the subject of the measure not later than 131 days before the date of the election at which the measure is to be voted upon. Nonetheless, the Legislature cannot alter the initiative measure or prevent it from appearing on the ballot.
Section 9050 specifies that, after the Secretary of State determines that a measure will appear on the ballot at the next statewide election, the Secretary of State must promptly transmit a copy of the measure to the Attorney General. The Attorney General provides and returns to the Secretary of State a ballot title and summary and ballot label for each measure submitted to the voters of the whole state by a date sufficient to meet the state voter information guide public display deadlines.
Section 9051 provides that the ballot title and summary may differ from the legislative, circulating, or other title and summary of the measure, but cannot exceed 100 words, not including the fiscal impact statement. The ballot title and summary must include a summary of the Legislative Analyst’s estimate of the net state and local government fiscal impact. The ballot label cannot contain more than 75 words and is to be a condensed version of the ballot title and summary including the financial impact summary.
In providing the ballot title and summary, the Attorney General is required to give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure in such language that the ballot title and summary shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure. And, the Attorney General must invite and consider public comment in preparing each ballot title and summary.
Section 9053 requires each measure to be designated on the ballot by the ballot label certified to the Secretary of State by the Attorney General. Section 9060 requires that, in case either the argument for or the argument against any measure placed on the ballot is not prepared and filed, the Secretary of State must, by a general press release, request voters to submit arguments. Sections 9061 – 9063 specify provisions of the press release and what it must contain.
Section 9064 allows any voter or group of voters at any time within the time limit, to prepare and file with the Secretary of State an argument for or against any measure as to which arguments have not been prepared or filed. This argument cannot exceed 500 words in length. Section 9065 requires a ballot argument to be accompanied by specified information or else it cannot be accepted.
Section 9067 states that, if more than one argument for, or more than one argument against, a measure is filed within the time prescribed, the Secretary of State is required to select one of the arguments for printing in the state voter information guide. In selecting the argument, the Secretary of State must give preference and priority in the order named to the arguments specified individuals.
Section 9068 specifies that no more than three signatures can appear with an argument printed in the state voter information guide. In case an argument is signed by more than three persons, the signatures of the first three are to be printed. Section 9069 requires the Secretary of State, within five days of receipt of the arguments, to send copies of the arguments in favor of the proposition to the authors of the arguments against and copies of the arguments against to the authors of the arguments in favor.
Thereafter, the authors may prepare and submit rebuttal arguments not exceeding 250 words, or may authorize in writing another person or persons to prepare, submit, or sign the rebuttal argument. The rebuttal arguments must be filed with the Secretary of State no later than a date to be designated by the Secretary of State. Rebuttal arguments are required to be printed in the same manner as the direct arguments. Each rebuttal argument must immediately follow the direct argument that it seeks to rebut.
Section 9087 requires the Legislative Analyst to prepare an impartial analysis of the proposed initiative measure describing the measure and including a fiscal analysis of the measure showing the amount of any increase or decrease in revenue or cost to state or local government. If it is estimated that a measure would result in increased cost to the state, an analysis of the measure’s estimated impact on the state must be provided, including an estimate of the percentage of the General Fund that would be expended due to the measure, using visual aids when appropriate.
The analysis must be written in clear and concise terms, so as to be easily understood by the average voter, and must avoid the use of technical terms wherever possible. The analysis may contain background information, including the effect of the measure on existing law and the effect of enacted legislation which will become effective if the measure is adopted, and must generally set forth in an impartial manner the information the average voter needs to adequately understand the measure.
Section 9600 requires all arguments concerning ballot measures to be accompanied by a form statement found in this code section that is signed by each proponent and by each author, if different, of the argument. Section 9601 provides that, whenever any ballot arguments for or against any measure submitted to the voters for approval are authorized, these arguments may be withdrawn by their proponents at any time prior to and including the final date fixed for filing arguments.
Section 9602 provides that a voter who has signed an initiative or referendum petition, and who subsequently wishes his or her name withdrawn, may do so by filing a written request for the withdrawal with the appropriate elections official that includes the voter’s name, residence address, and signature. This request must be filed in the elections official’s office prior to the date the petition is filed.
Section 9604 provides that any person may engage in good faith bargaining between competing interests to secure legislative approval of matters embraced in a statewide or local initiative or referendum measure, and the proponents may, as a result of these negotiations, withdraw the measure at any time before filing the petition with the appropriate elections official. In addition, the proponents of a statewide initiative or referendum measure may withdraw the measure after filing the petition with the appropriate elections official at any time before the Secretary of State certifies that the measure has qualified for the ballot.
Section 9605 specifies that, whenever a legislative body has ordered that a measure or proposal be submitted to the voters of any jurisdiction at a special election, the order of election cannot be amended or withdrawn after the 83rd day prior to the election. The order of election must be amended or withdrawn upon the filing of a resolution by the legislative body stating the specifics concerning the amendment or withdrawal. The resolution is to be filed with the election official not later than the 83rd day prior to the election.
Section 9607 states that the proponents of an initiative measure are required to ensure that any person, company, or other organization that is paid, or who volunteers, to solicit signatures to qualify the proposed measure for the ballot must receive instruction on the requirements and prohibitions imposed by state law with respect to circulation of the petition and signature gathering thereon, with an emphasis on the prohibition on the use of signatures on an initiative petition for a purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for the ballot.
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