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Getting a Measure on The Ballot

Election Workers

Measures that appear on the ballot in an election may be local, countywide, or statewide measures. Statewide measures are usually labeled by a number (e.g. Proposition 29) designated by the California Secretary of State. Countywide measures are named by the County and identified by alphabetical letters (e.g. Measure S).

The Ballot Initiative Process

The ballot initiative process gives California citizens a way to propose laws and constitutional amendments without the support of the Governor or the Legislature. At the County level, the County ballot initiative process gives County voters a way to propose laws or changes to laws without the support of the Board of Supervisors.

Simplified Steps in the County Ballot Initiative Process*

A simplified explanation for proponents to start the County initiative process:

  1. Draft a proposed law or changes to law.
  2. Submit to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) a Notice of Intention (NOI) to circulate a petition in the County, the written text of the proposed law, along with a request for ballot title and summary (to be prepared by County Counsel).
  3. Publish NOI and official ballot title and summary.
  4. File Proof of Publication with the RR/CC.
  5. Proponents may request RR/CC to review and finalize the petition format with proponents.

Once the petition is deemed ready for circulation and all the legal requirements are met, the proponents have 180 days to circulate the petition for signatures by the registered voters in the County and file the petition with the RR/CC. If the number of signatures on the petition submitted to the RR/CC equals or exceeds the minimum number of signatures required, RR/CC will examine and verify the signatures on the petition within 30 business days. The minimum number of signatures required to qualify a County initiative measure for the ballot is a number equal to not less than 10% of all votes cast in the County for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election preceding the publication of the NOI.

Initiative Time Frame for the November 5, 2024 General Election

The dates reflected are sample timeframes to qualify a County initiative. Dates are approximate and can vary due to weekends and holidays. Additionally, dates and timelines may vary based on a proponent's completion of events and required steps in the process.

Initiative Time Frame for the November 5, 2024 General Election

Additional Information and Resources:

  1. County Initiative Frequently Asked Questions
  2. County Initiative Procedures
  3. Measure Information for Schools, General Districts, and Special Districts
  4. Ballot Measures (Secretary of State)

*Note: The steps set forth below are for the County ballot initiative, the ballot initiative process for state, municipal, and district initiatives are set forth in different statutes and different requirements may apply.

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