Code Section

Elections Code - ELEC


  ( Division 13 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

CHAPTER 2. Forms of Ballots: Ballot Order [13100 - 13121]
  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )


(a) With the exception of candidates for Justice of the State Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, immediately under the name of each candidate, and not separated from the name by any line, unless the designation made by the candidate pursuant to Section 8002.5 must be listed immediately below the name of the candidate pursuant to Section 13105, and in that case immediately under the designation, may appear at the option of the candidate only one of the following designations:

(1) Words designating the elective city, county, district, state, or federal office which the candidate holds at the time of filing the nomination documents to which he or she was elected by vote of the people, or to which he or she was appointed, in the case of a superior court judge.

(2) The word “incumbent” if the candidate is a candidate for the same office which he or she holds at the time of filing the nomination papers, and was elected to that office by a vote of the people, or, in the case of a superior court judge, was appointed to that office.

(3) No more than three words designating either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents. For purposes of this section, all California geographical names shall be considered to be one word. Hyphenated words that appear in any generally available standard reference dictionary, published in the United States at any time within the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the election for which the words are counted, shall be considered as one word. Each part of all other hyphenated words shall be counted as a separate word.

(4) The phrase “appointed incumbent” if the candidate holds an office other than a judicial office by virtue of appointment, and the candidate is a candidate for election to the same office, or, if the candidate is a candidate for election to the same office or to some other office, the word “appointed” and the title of the office. In either instance, the candidate may not use the unmodified word “incumbent” or any words designating the office unmodified by the word “appointed.” However, the phrase “appointed incumbent” shall not be required of a candidate who seeks reelection to an office which he or she holds and to which he or she was appointed, as a nominated candidate, in lieu of an election, pursuant to Sections 5326 and 5328 of the Education Code or Section 7228, 7423, 7673, 10229, or 10515 of this code.

(b) Neither the Secretary of State nor any other elections official shall accept a designation of which any of the following would be true:

(1) It would mislead the voter.

(2) It would suggest an evaluation of a candidate, such as outstanding, leading, expert, virtuous, or eminent.

(3) It abbreviates the word “retired” or places it following any word or words which it modifies.

(4) It uses a word or prefix, such as “former” or “ex-,” which means a prior status. The only exception is the use of the word “retired.”

(5) It uses the name of any political party, whether or not it has qualified for the ballot.

(6) It uses a word or words referring to a racial, religious, or ethnic group.

(7) It refers to any activity prohibited by law.

(c) If, upon checking the nomination documents and the ballot designation worksheet described in Section 13107.3, the elections official finds the designation to be in violation of any of the restrictions set forth in this section, the elections official shall notify the candidate by registered or certified mail return receipt requested, addressed to the mailing address provided on the candidate’s ballot designation worksheet.

(1) The candidate shall, within three days, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and state holidays, from the date he or she receives notice by registered or certified mail, or from the date the candidate receives actual notice of the violation, whichever occurs first, appear before the elections official or, in the case of the Secretary of State, notify the Secretary of State by telephone, and provide a designation that complies with subdivision (a).

(2) In the event the candidate fails to provide a designation that complies with subdivision (a) within the three-day period specified in paragraph (1), no designation shall appear after the candidate’s name.

(d) No designation given by a candidate shall be changed by the candidate after the final date for filing nomination documents, except as specifically requested by the elections official as specified in subdivision (c) or as provided in subdivision (e). The elections official shall maintain a copy of the ballot designation worksheet for each candidate that appears on the ballot in the county for the same period of time as applied to nomination documents pursuant to Section 17100.

(e) The designation shall remain the same for all purposes of both primary and general elections, unless the candidate, at least 98 days before the general election, requests in writing a different designation which the candidate is entitled to use at the time of the request.

(f) In all cases, the words so used shall be printed in 8-point roman uppercase and lowercase type except that, if the designation selected is so long that it would conflict with the space requirements of Sections 13207 and 13211, the elections official shall use a type size for the designation for each candidate for that office sufficiently smaller to meet these requirements.

(g) Whenever a foreign language translation of a candidate’s designation is required under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 10101), as amended, to appear on the ballot in addition to the English language version, it shall be as short as possible, as consistent as is practicable with this section, and shall employ abbreviations and initials wherever possible in order to avoid undue length.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 732, Sec. 29. Effective January 1, 2016.)