Code Section Group

Elections Code - ELEC

DIVISION 13. BALLOTS, SAMPLE BALLOTS, AND VOTER PAMPHLETS [13000 - 13502]

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

CHAPTER 4. State and County Voter Information Guides [13300 - 13317]
  ( Heading of Chapter 4 amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 63. )

13300.
  

(a) By at least 29 days before the partisan primary, each county elections official shall prepare a separate county voter information guide for each political party and a separate nonpartisan county voter information guide. The county elections official shall place in each guide, as applicable, in the order provided in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100), and under the appropriate title of each office, the names of all candidates for whom nomination papers have been duly filed with him or her, or have been certified to him or her by the Secretary of State, to be voted for in his or her county at the partisan primary election.

(b) The county voter information guides shall include a substantial facsimile of the official ballots, except as otherwise provided by law. The county voter information guides shall be printed on paper of a different texture from the paper to be used for the official ballot.

(c) One county voter information guide of the party for which the voter has disclosed a preference, as evidenced by his or her registration, shall be mailed not more than 40 nor fewer than 10 days before the election to each voter entitled to vote at the primary who registered at least 29 days before the election. A nonpartisan county voter information guide shall be so mailed to each voter who is not registered as preferring any of the parties participating in the primary election. On election day the voter may, upon request, vote the ballot of a political party if authorized by the party’s rules, duly noticed to the Secretary of State.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 64. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13300.5.
  

In order to facilitate the timely production and distribution of county voter information guides, the county elections official may prepare a combined county voter information guide.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 65. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13300.7.
  

Notwithstanding any other law, county and city elections officials may establish procedures designed to permit a voter to opt out of receiving his or her county voter information guide, state voter information guide, notice of polling place, and associated materials by mail, and instead obtain them electronically via email or by accessing them on the county’s or city’s Internet Web site, if all of the following conditions are met:

(a) The procedures establish a method of providing notice of and an opportunity by which a voter can notify elections officials of his or her desire to obtain ballot materials electronically in lieu of receiving them by mail.

(b) The voter email address or any other information provided by the voter under this section remains confidential pursuant to Section 6254.4 of the Government Code and Section 2194 of this code.

(c) The procedures provide notice and opportunity for a voter who has opted out of receiving a county voter information guide and other materials by mail to opt back into receiving them by mail.

(d) The procedures establish a process by which a voter can apply electronically to become a vote by mail voter.

(e) A voter may only opt out of, or opt back into, receiving his or her county voter information guide and other ballot materials by mail if the elections official receives the request and can process it before the statutory deadline for the mailing of those materials for the next election, pursuant to Section 13303. If a voter misses this deadline, the request shall take effect the following election.

(f) The procedures shall include a verification process to confirm the voter’s identity, either in writing with a signature card that can be matched to the one on file with the elections official, or if the request is submitted electronically, it shall contain the voter’s California driver’s license number, California identification number, or a partial social security number.

(g) Information made available over the Internet pursuant to this section shall meet or exceed the most current, ratified standards under Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794d), as amended, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium for accessibility. Election officials may also implement recommendations of the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee made pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 2053, and of any local Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee created pursuant to the guidelines promulgated by the Secretary of State related to the accessibility of polling places by the physically handicapped.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 66. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13302.
  

(a) The county elections official shall forthwith submit the county voter information guide of each political party to the chairperson of the county central committee of that party, and shall mail a copy to each candidate for whom nomination papers have been filed in his or her office or whose name has been certified to him or her by the Secretary of State, to the post office address given in the nomination paper or certification. The county elections official shall post a copy of each county voter information guide in a conspicuous place in his or her office.

(b) In connection with an election at which a candidate for a voter-nominated office will appear on the ballot, a qualified political party may submit to the county elections official a list of all candidates for voter-nominated office who will appear on a ballot in the county in question, and who have been endorsed by the party by whatever lawful mechanism the party adopts for endorsing candidates for voter-nominated office. If a political party timely submits a list to the county elections official pursuant to this subdivision, the county elections official shall print the names of the candidates for voter-nominated office who were endorsed by that political party in the voter information portion of the county voter information guide. The party chairperson shall provide a written copy of the list of candidates endorsed by the party not later than 83 days before the election at which the candidate for a voter-nominated office will appear on the ballot.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 67. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13303.
  

(a) For each election, each appropriate elections official shall cause to be printed, on plain white paper or tinted paper, without watermark, at least as many copies of the form of ballot provided for use in each voting precinct as there are voters in the precinct. These copies shall be designated “county voter information guide” upon their face and shall include a substantial facsimile of the official ballots used in the election, except as otherwise provided by law. A county voter information guide shall be mailed, postage prepaid, not more than 40 nor less than 21 days before the election to each voter who is registered at least 29 days before the election.

(b) The elections official shall send notice of the polling place, which includes vote centers, to each voter with the county voter information guide. Only official matter shall be sent out with the county voter information guide as provided by law.

(c) The elections official shall send notice of the polling place, which includes vote centers, to each voter who registered after the 29th day before the election and is eligible to participate in the election. The notice shall also include information as to where the voter can obtain a county voter information guide and a state voter information guide before the election, a statement indicating that those documents will be available at the polling place at the time of the election, and the address of the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site and, if applicable, of the county Internet Web site where a county voter information guide may be viewed.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 42. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)

13304.
  

The notice of the polling place which is sent to each voter as provided in Section 13303 may, at the option of the local elections official, inform the voter as to whether the polling place is accessible to the physically handicapped. In addition, this notice may inform the voter of his or her rights under Section 14282, if applicable.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 72, Sec. 2. Effective July 19, 2005.)

13305.
  

(a) Notwithstanding Sections 3022, 13300, 13303, and 13315, a county elections official may elect not to mail a county voter information guide to a voter if all of the following are satisfied:

(1) The voter is one of the following:

(A) A permanent vote by mail voter pursuant to Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 3200) of Division 3.

(B) A voter in a mail ballot election conducted pursuant to Division 4 (commencing with Section 4000).

(C) A voter in a precinct in which an election is conducted pursuant to Section 3005.

(2) The county elections official prepares and mails to each voter a document that includes all of the information required to be included in, and shall be accompanied by all the election materials required to accompany, the county voter information guide, except for both of the following:

(A) An application for a vote by mail ballot.

(B) A notice that a vote by mail ballot application is enclosed.

(3) The voter is furnished with an official ballot pursuant to Section 3005 or 3010.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 13303, for each voter to whom the elections official elects not to mail a county voter information guide pursuant to subdivision (a), the elections official may cause to be printed one less copy of the county voter information guide.

(c) If a county elections official elects not to mail a county voter information guide to a voter pursuant to this section, the elections official shall use any savings achieved to offset the costs associated with establishing a free access system for vote by mail ballots pursuant to Section 3019.5 before the savings may be used for any other purpose.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 269, Sec. 5. (AB 3258) Effective January 1, 2019.)

13306.
  

Notwithstanding Sections 13300, 13303, and 13307, county voter information guides and candidates’ statements need not be mailed to voters who registered after the 54th day before an election, but all of these voters shall receive polling place notices and state voter information guides. A state voter information guide is not required to be mailed to a voter who registered after the 29th day before an election. Each of these voters shall receive a notice in bold print that states: “Because you are a late registrant, you are not receiving a county voter information guide or candidates’ statements.”

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 70. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13307.
  

(a) (1) Each candidate for nonpartisan elective office in any local agency, including any city, county, city and county, or district, may prepare a candidate’s statement on an appropriate form provided by the elections official. The statement may include the name, age, and occupation of the candidate and a brief description, of no more than 200 words, of the candidate’s education and qualifications expressed by the candidate himself or herself. However, the governing body of the local agency may authorize an increase in the limitations on words for the statement from 200 to 400 words. The statement shall not include the party affiliation of the candidate, nor membership or activity in partisan political organizations.

(2) The statement authorized by this subdivision shall be filed in the office of the elections official when the candidate’s nomination papers are returned for filing, if it is for a primary election, or for an election for offices for which there is no primary. The statement shall be filed in the office of the elections official no later than the 88th day before the election, if it is for an election for which nomination papers are not required to be filed. If a runoff election or general election occurs within 88 days of the primary or first election, the statement shall be filed with the elections official by the third day following the governing body’s declaration of the results from the primary or first election.

(3) Except as provided in Section 13309, the statement may be withdrawn, but not changed, during the period for filing nomination papers and until 5 p.m. of the next working day after the close of the nomination period.

(b) (1) The elections official shall send to each voter a county voter information guide that contains the written statements of each candidate that is prepared pursuant to subdivision (a). The statement of each candidate shall be printed in type of uniform size and darkness, and with uniform spacing.

(2) The elections official shall provide a Spanish translation to those candidates who wish to have one, and shall select a person to provide that translation who is one of the following:

(A) A certified and registered interpreter on the Judicial Council Master List.

(B) An interpreter categorized as “certified” or “professionally qualified” by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

(C) From an institution accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.

(D) A current voting member in good standing of the American Translators Association.

(E) A current member in good standing of the American Association of Language Specialists.

(c) (1) In addition to the statement prepared pursuant to subdivision (a), if the elections official who is conducting the election permits electronic distribution of a candidate’s statement, the governing body of a local agency may permit each candidate for nonpartisan elective office in the local agency to prepare a candidate's statement for the purpose of electronic distribution pursuant to this subdivision.

(2) A statement prepared pursuant to this subdivision shall be posted on the Internet Web site of the elections official, and may be included in a voter's pamphlet that is electronically distributed by the elections official pursuant to Section 13300.7, but shall not be included in a voter's pamphlet that is printed and mailed to voters pursuant to subdivision (b).

(3) A statement that is printed in the voter's pamphlet and mailed to voters pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be included with the statement that is prepared and electronically distributed pursuant to this subdivision.

(4) A statement that is prepared and electronically distributed pursuant to this subdivision shall be displayed in type of uniform size and darkness, and with uniform spacing.

(5) The elections official shall provide a Spanish translation to those candidates who wish to have one, and shall select a person to provide that translation who is one of the persons listed in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b).

(d) The local agency may estimate the total cost of printing, handling, translating, mailing, and electronically distributing candidate’s statements filed pursuant to this section, including costs incurred as a result of complying with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended. The local agency may require each candidate filing a statement to pay in advance to the local agency his or her estimated pro rata share as a condition of having his or her statement included in the county voter information guide or electronically distributed. In the event the estimated payment is required, the receipt for the payment shall include a written notice that the estimate is just an approximation of the actual cost that varies from one election to another election and may be significantly more or less than the estimate, depending on the actual number of candidates filing statements. Accordingly, the local agency is not bound by the estimate and may, on a pro rata basis, bill the candidate for additional actual expense or refund any excess paid depending on the final actual cost. In the event of underpayment, the local agency may require the candidate to pay the balance of the cost incurred. In the event of overpayment, the local agency that, or the elections official who, collected the estimated cost shall prorate the excess amount among the candidates and refund the excess amount paid within 30 days of the election.

(e) This section shall not be deemed to make any statement, or the authors of any statement, free or exempt from any civil or criminal action or penalty because of any false, slanderous, or libelous statements offered for printing electronic distribution pursuant to this section or contained in the county voter information guide.

(f) Before the nominating period opens, the local agency for that election shall determine whether a charge shall be levied against that candidate for the candidate’s statement sent to each voter and, if authorized pursuant to subdivision (c), for the electronically distributed candidate’s statement. This decision shall not be revoked or modified after the seventh day before the opening of the nominating period. A written statement of the regulations with respect to charges for handling, packaging, mailing, and electronic distribution shall be provided to each candidate or his or her representative, at the time he or she picks up the nomination papers.

(g) For purposes of this section and Section 13310, the board of supervisors is the governing body of judicial elections.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 71.5. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13307.5.
  

A candidate for United States Representative may purchase the space to place a statement in the voter information portion of the county voter information guide that does not exceed 250 words. The statement shall not refer to any opponent of the candidate. The statement shall be submitted in accordance with the timeframes and procedures set forth in this code for the preparation of the voter information portion of the county voter information guide.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 72. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13307.7.
  

(a) If the elections official posts the form to be used by a candidate to submit a candidate statement pursuant to Section 13307, Section 13307.5, or subdivision (c) of Section 85601 of the Government Code, on the elections official’s Internet Web site, the elections official shall accept the electronic submission of that form if it is submitted in accordance with the times and procedures set forth in this code for the preparation of the voter information portion of the county voter information guide. If the candidate is running in a multicounty district, the elections official of each county shall accept the form from the candidate’s county of residence; however, the candidate shall provide a hard copy of the candidate statement form and payment of the requisite fee to each county. The elections official shall not require the candidate to submit any additional forms as a means of correcting Internet Web site posting errors made by the elections official.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), an elections official may require a candidate to provide additional information that the official needs to comply with state law and county voter information guide requirements.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 160, Sec. 1. (AB 666) Effective January 1, 2019.)

13308.
  

In addition to the restrictions set forth in Section 13307, any candidate’s statement submitted pursuant to Section 13307 shall be limited to a recitation of the candidate’s own personal background and qualifications, and shall not in any way make reference to other candidates for that office or to another candidate’s qualifications, character, or activities. The elections official shall not cause to be printed, posted on an Internet Web site, or circulated any statement that the elections official determines is not so limited or that includes any reference prohibited by this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 128, Sec. 2. (AB 2010) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13309.
  

(a) Notwithstanding Section 13307, if a candidate alleges to be indigent and unable to pay in advance the requisite fee for submitting a candidate statement, the candidate shall submit to the local agency a statement of financial worth to be used in determining whether or not he or she is eligible to submit a candidate statement without payment of the fee in advance.

(b) The statement of financial worth required by this section shall be submitted by the candidate together with his or her candidate statement in accordance with the deadline specified in Section 13307. The statement of financial worth form shall be furnished by the local agency, and may include questions relating to the candidate’s employer, income, real estate holdings, tangible personal property, and financial obligations. The candidate shall certify the content of the statement as to its truth and correctness under penalty of perjury. The candidate shall also sign a release form of the candidate’s most recent federal income tax report.

(c) Upon receipt of a statement of financial worth, a determination shall be made by the local agency of whether or not the candidate is indigent. The local agency shall notify the candidate of its findings.

(d) If it is determined that the candidate is not indigent, the candidate shall, within three days of the notification, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays, withdraw the statement or pay the requisite fee. If the candidate fails to respond within the time prescribed, the local agency shall not be obligated to print and mail the statement.

(e) If the local agency determines that the candidate is indigent, the local agency shall print and mail the statement.

(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the local agency from billing the candidate his or her actual pro rata share of the cost after the election.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 560, Sec. 11. (AB 1417) Effective January 1, 2014.)

13310.
  

Prior to the nomination period for an election, the governing body of the local agency conducting the election may determine that Section 13307 is inapplicable to that election. This section shall become operative only if the United States Supreme Court or the California Supreme Court rules that candidates (other than indigent candidates) may not be required to pay for candidates’ statements authorized pursuant to Section 13307.

(Enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. Section conditionally operative by its own provisions.)

13311.
  

Notwithstanding the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code), the statements filed pursuant to Section 13307 shall remain confidential until the expiration of the filing deadline.

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

13312.
  

(a) Each county voter information guide prepared pursuant to subdivision (b) Section 13307 shall contain a notice in the heading of the first page, not smaller than 10-point type, that specifies both of the following:

(1) That the county voter information guide does not contain a complete list of candidates and that a complete list of candidates appears on the sample ballot (if any candidate is not listed in the county voter information guide).

(2) That each candidate’s statement in the county voter information guide is volunteered by the candidate and (if printed at the candidate’s expense) is printed at his or her expense.

(b) If a local agency has authorized each candidate for nonpartisan elective office to prepare a candidate’s statement for the purpose of electronic distribution pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 13307, and if a candidate has submitted a statement for that purpose, the notice required by subdivision (a) shall specify that additional statements are available on the Internet Web site of the elections official and shall include the Internet Web site address at which the statements may be viewed.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 73.5. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13313.
  

(a) The elections official shall make a copy of the material referred to in Section 13307 available for public examination in the elections official’s office for a period of 10 calendar days immediately following the filing deadline for submission of those documents. Any person may obtain a copy of the candidate’s statements from the elections official for use outside of the elections official’s office. The elections official may charge a fee to any person obtaining a copy of the material, and the fee may not exceed the actual cost incurred by the elections official in providing the copy.

(b) (1) During the 10-calendar-day public examination period provided by this section, any voter of the jurisdiction in which the election is being held, or the elections official, himself or herself, may seek a writ of mandate or an injunction requiring any or all of the material in the candidates statements to be amended or deleted. The writ of mandate or injunction request shall be filed no later than the end of the 10-calendar-day public examination period.

(2) A peremptory writ of mandate or an injunction shall issue only upon clear and convincing proof that the material in question is false, misleading, or inconsistent with the requirements of this chapter, and that issuance of the writ or injunction will not substantially interfere with the printing or distribution of official election materials as provided by law.

(3) The elections official shall be named as respondent and the candidate who authored the material in question shall be named as the real party in interest. In the case of the elections official bringing the mandamus or injunctive action pursuant to this subdivision, the board of supervisors of the county shall be named as the respondent and the candidate who authored the material in question shall be named as the real party in interest.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 228, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2003.)

13314.
  

(a) (1) An elector may seek a writ of mandate alleging that an error or omission has occurred, or is about to occur, in the placing of a name on, or in the printing of, a ballot, county voter information guide, state voter information guide, or other official matter, or that any neglect of duty has occurred, or is about to occur.

(2) A peremptory writ of mandate shall issue only upon proof of both of the following:

(A) That the error, omission, or neglect is in violation of this code or the Constitution.

(B) That issuance of the writ will not substantially interfere with the conduct of the election.

(3) The action or appeal shall have priority over all other civil matters.

(4) The Secretary of State shall be named as a respondent or a real party in interest in any proceeding under this section concerning a measure or a candidate described in Section 15375, except for a candidate for judge of the superior court.

(b) Venue for a proceeding under this section shall be exclusively in Sacramento County in any of the following cases:

(1) The Secretary of State is named as a real party in interest or as a respondent.

(2) A candidate for statewide elective office is named as a party.

(3) A statewide measure that is to be placed on the ballot is the subject of the proceeding.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 74. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13315.
  

(a) The officer charged with the duty of providing county voter information guides for an election at which vote by mail voter ballots may be cast shall cause to be printed on the envelope containing the county voter information guide in heavy-faced gothic type, not smaller than 12-point, the following:

Notice: Vote By Mail Ballot Application Enclosed.

(b) This section does not apply to the envelopes mailed to vote by mail voters.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 43. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)

13316.
  

Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a county, city, city and county, or district using voting machines may use reasonable facsimiles of the county voter information guides sent to the voters of the local jurisdiction as vote by mail ballots.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 76. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

13317.
  

Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a county, city, city and county, or district using vote tabulating devices may use reasonable facsimiles of the county voter information guides sent to the voters of the local jurisdiction as vote by mail ballots.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 77. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

ELECElections Code - ELEC