Code Section Group

Elections Code - ELEC

DIVISION 0.5. PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS [1 - 362]

  ( Division 0.5 heading added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1143, Sec. 17. )

CHAPTER 1 General Provisions [1. - 20]
  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

1.
  

This act shall be known as the Elections Code.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

2.
  

The provisions of this code, insofar as they are substantially the same as existing statutory provisions relating to the same subject matter, shall be construed as restatements and continuations, and not as new enactments.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

3.
  

If any provision of this code or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the code and the application of that provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

4.
  

Unless the provision or the context otherwise requires, these general provisions, rules of construction, and definitions shall govern the construction of this code.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

5.
  

Division, part, chapter, article, and section headings do not in any manner affect the scope, meaning, or intent of this code.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

6.
  

Whenever a power is granted to, or a duty is imposed upon, a public officer, the power may be exercised or the duty may be performed by a deputy of the officer or by a person authorized, pursuant to law, by the officer, unless this code expressly provides otherwise.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

7.
  

Writing includes any form of recorded message capable of comprehension by ordinary visual means. Whenever any notice, report, statement or record is required or authorized by this code, it shall be made in writing in the English language unless it is expressly provided otherwise.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

8.
  

As used in this code, the present tense includes the past and future tenses, and the future the present; the masculine gender includes the feminine; and the singular includes the plural, and the plural, the singular.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

9.
  

(a) Counting of words, for purposes of this code, shall be as follows:

(1) Punctuation is not counted.

(2) Each word shall be counted as one word except as specified in this section.

(3) All proper nouns, including geographical names, shall be considered as one word; for example, “City and County of San Francisco” shall be counted as one word.

(4) Each abbreviation for a word, phrase, or expression shall be counted as one word.

(5) 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.

(6) Dates shall be counted as one word.

(7) Any number consisting of a digit or digits shall be considered as one word. Any number which is spelled, such as “one,” shall be considered as a separate word or words. “One” shall be counted as one word whereas “one hundred” shall be counted as two words. “100” shall be counted as one word.

(8) Telephone numbers shall be counted as one word.

(9) Internet Web site addresses shall be counted as one word.

(b) This section shall not apply to counting words for ballot designations under Section 13107.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 697, Sec. 3. (SB 1253) Effective January 1, 2015.)

10.
  

(a) The Secretary of State is the chief elections officer of the state, and has the powers and duties specified in this code and Section 12172.5 of the Government Code.

(b) (1) The Secretary of State shall make reasonable efforts to do all of the following:

(A) Promote voter registration to eligible voters.

(B) Encourage eligible voters to vote.

(C) Promote preregistration to eligible citizens.

(D) Promote civic learning and engagement to prepare students and new citizens to register to vote and to vote.

(2) In undertaking these efforts, the Secretary of State shall prioritize communities that have been historically underrepresented in voter registration or voting.

(c) Beginning in the year before the federal decennial census and continuing through the completion of the enumeration activities for that census, the Secretary of State shall incorporate messages into public election materials produced by the Secretary of State that promote awareness of, and encourage participation in, the census. In undertaking this effort, the Secretary of State shall prioritize messages that are designed to overcome significant challenges to a complete and accurate enumeration of the state, including messages targeted at overcoming barriers to participation by historically hard-to-count communities based on response rate data from the United States Census Bureau.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 652, Sec. 2. (AB 2592) Effective January 1, 2019.)

10.5.
  

(a) There is established within the Secretary of State the Office of Elections Cybersecurity.

(b) The primary missions of the Office of Elections Cybersecurity are both of the following:

(1) To coordinate efforts between the Secretary of State and local elections officials to reduce the likelihood and severity of cyber incidents that could interfere with the security or integrity of elections in the state.

(2) To monitor and counteract false or misleading information regarding the electoral process that is published online or on other platforms and that may suppress voter participation or cause confusion and disruption of the orderly and secure administration of elections.

(c) The Office of Elections Cybersecurity shall do all of the following:

(1) Coordinate with federal, state, and local agencies the sharing of information on threats to election cybersecurity, risk assessment, and threat mitigation in a timely manner and in a manner that protects sensitive information.

(2) In consultation with federal, state, and local agencies and private organizations, develop best practices for protecting against threats to election cybersecurity.

(3) In consultation with state and local agencies, develop and include best practices for cyber incident responses in emergency preparedness plans for elections.

(4) Identify resources, such as protective security tools, training, and other resources available to state and county elections officials.

(5) Advise the Secretary of State on issues related to election cybersecurity, and make recommendations for changes to state laws, regulations, and policies to further protect election infrastructure.

(6) Serve as a liaison between the Secretary of State, other state agencies, federal agencies, and local elections officials on election cybersecurity issues.

(7) Coordinate efforts within the Secretary of State to protect the security of Internet-connected elections-related resources, including all of the following:

(i) The state’s online voter registration system established pursuant to Section 2196.

(ii) The statewide voter registration database developed in compliance with the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 20901 et seq.).

(iii) The Secretary of State’s election night results Internet Web site.

(iv) The online campaign and lobbying filing and disclosure system developed by the Secretary of State pursuant to Chapter 4.6 (commencing with Section 84600) of Title 9 of the Government Code.

(v) Other parts of the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site.

(8) Assess the false or misleading information regarding the electoral process described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), mitigate the false or misleading information, and educate voters, especially new and unregistered voters, with valid information from elections officials such as a county elections official or the Secretary of State.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 241, Sec. 1. (AB 3075) Effective January 1, 2019.)

11.
  

On written call of the Secretary of State, the county elections officials, city elections officials, and registrars of voters of this state may meet with the approval of their legislative bodies, at the time and place within this state designated in the call, to discuss matters affecting the administration of the election laws and to promote uniformity of procedure in those matters. Meetings shall not exceed three in any calendar year. Any deputy of a county elections official, city elections official, or registrar of voters, designated for the purpose by his or her principal, may attend these meetings, alone or with his or her principal. The actual and necessary expenses of the county elections official, city elections official, or registrar of voters, and of a deputy, incurred in traveling to and from meetings and in attending the same, for each officer for any one meeting, shall be a charge of the county or city of the elections official or registrar, and payable as other county or city charges.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

12.
  

Whenever any candidate files a declaration of candidacy, nomination paper, or any other paper evidencing an intention to be a candidate for any public office at any election in this state with either the Secretary of State or a county elections official, the candidate shall by the filing irrevocably appoint the Secretary of State or the county elections official with whom the filing is made, and their successors in office, the candidate’s attorneys upon whom all process in any action or proceeding against him or her concerning his or her candidacy or the election laws may be served with the same effect as if the candidate had been lawfully served with process. The appointment shall continue until the day of the election.

If in any action or proceeding arising out of or in connection with any matters concerning his or her candidacy or the election laws it is shown by affidavit to the satisfaction of a court or judge that personal service of process against the candidate cannot be made with the exercise of due diligence, the court or judge may make an order that the service be made upon the candidate by delivering by hand to the Secretary of State or the county elections official appointed as the candidate’s attorney for service of process, or to any person employed in his or her office in the capacity of assistant or deputy, one copy of the process for the defendant to be served, together with a copy of the order authorizing the service. Service in this manner constitutes personal service upon the candidate. The Secretary of State and the county elections officials of all counties shall keep a record of all process served upon them under this section, and shall record therein the time of service and their action with reference thereto.

Upon the receipt of service of process the Secretary of State or the county elections official shall immediately give notice of the service of the process to the candidate by forwarding the copy of the process to the candidate at the address shown on his or her declaration, nomination paper, affidavit, or other evidence of intention to be a candidate filed with that officer, by special delivery registered mail with request for return receipt.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

13.
  

(a) A person shall not be considered a legally qualified candidate for an office, for party nomination for a partisan office, or for nomination to participate in the general election for a voter-nominated office, under the laws of this state unless that person has filed a declaration of candidacy or statement of write-in candidacy with the proper official for the particular election or primary, or is entitled to have his or her name placed on a general election ballot by reason of having been nominated at a primary election, or having been selected to fill a vacancy on the general election ballot as provided in Section 8807, or having been selected as an independent candidate pursuant to Section 8304.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing or prohibiting any qualified voter of this state from casting a ballot for a person by writing the name of that person on the ballot, or from having that ballot counted or tabulated, nor shall this section be construed as preventing or prohibiting a person from standing or campaigning for an elective office by means of a “write-in” campaign. However, nothing in this section shall be construed as an exception to the requirements of Section 15341 or to permit a person to be a write-in candidate contrary to Sections 8600 and 8606.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this section, to enable the Federal Communications Commission to determine who is a “legally qualified candidate” in this state for the purposes of administering Section 315 of Title 47 of the United States Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 3, Sec. 1. (AB 1413) Effective February 10, 2012.)

13.5.
  

(a) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 13, no person shall be considered a legally qualified candidate for any of the offices set forth in subdivision (b) unless that person has filed a declaration of candidacy, nomination papers, or statement of write-in candidacy, accompanied by documentation, including, but not necessarily limited to, certificates, declarations under penalty of perjury, diplomas, or official correspondence, sufficient to establish, in the determination of the official with whom the declaration or statement is filed, that the person meets each qualification established for service in that office by the provision referenced in subdivision (b).

(2) The provision of “documentation,” for purposes of compliance with the requirements of paragraph (1), may include the submission of either an original, as defined in Section 255 of the Evidence Code, or a duplicate, as defined in Section 260 of the Evidence Code.

(b) This section shall be applicable to the following offices and qualifications therefor:

(1) For the office of county auditor, the qualifications set forth in Sections 26945 and 26946 of the Government Code.

(2) For the office of county district attorney, the qualifications set forth in Sections 24001 and 24002 of the Government Code.

(3) For the office of county sheriff, the qualifications set forth in Section 24004.3 of the Government Code.

(4) For the office of county superintendent of schools, the qualifications set forth in Sections 1205 to 1208, inclusive, of the Education Code.

(5) For the office of judge of the superior court, the qualifications set forth in Section 15 of Article VI of the California Constitution.

(6) For the office of county treasurer, county tax collector, or county treasurer-tax collector, the qualifications set forth in Section 27000.7 of the Government Code, provided that the board of supervisors has adopted the provisions of that section pursuant to Section 27000.6 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 784, Sec. 92. Effective January 1, 2003.)

14.
  

In case of a disaster in which a portion or all of the voting records of any county are destroyed, the Governor may appoint an election commission to outline and recommend procedures to be followed in the conduct of regular or special elections. The commission shall consist of the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the county elections official of each county in which destruction occurs.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

15.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the last day for the performance of any act provided for or required by this code shall be a holiday, as defined in Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 6700) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code, the act may be performed upon the next business day with the same effect as if it had been performed upon the day appointed.

For purposes of this section, the Friday in November immediately after Thanksgiving Day shall be considered a holiday.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

16.
  

A copy of Section 84305 of the Government Code shall be provided by the elections official to each candidate or his or her agent at the time of filing the declaration of candidacy and to the proponents of a local initiative or referendum at the time of filing the petitions.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2.)

17.
  

The Secretary of State shall establish and maintain administrative complaint procedures, pursuant to the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 21112), in order to remedy grievances in the administration of elections. The Secretary of State shall not require that the administrative remedies provided in the complaint procedures established pursuant to this section be exhausted in order to pursue any other remedies provided by state or federal law.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 86, Sec. 81. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2017.)

20.
  

(a) A person shall not be considered a candidate for, and is not eligible to be elected to, any state or local elective office if the person has been convicted of a felony involving accepting or giving, or offering to give, any bribe, the embezzlement of public money, extortion or theft of public money, perjury, or conspiracy to commit any of those crimes.

(b) For purposes of this section, “conviction of a felony” includes a conviction of a felony in this state and a conviction under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any foreign government or country of a crime that, if committed in this state, would be a felony, and for which the person has not received a pardon from the Governor of this state, the governor or other officer authorized to grant pardons in another state, the President of the United States, or the officer of the foreign government or country authorized to grant pardons in that foreign jurisdiction.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 160, Sec. 1. (AB 2410) Effective January 1, 2013.)

ELECElections Code - ELEC