Code Section Group

Elections Code - ELEC


  ( Division 16 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

CHAPTER 5. Form of Contest Statement [16400 - 16467]

  ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

ARTICLE 1. General Elections [16400 - 16404]
  ( Article 1 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )


When an elector contests any election he or she shall file with the clerk of the superior court having jurisdiction a written statement setting forth specifically:

(a) The name of the contestant and that he or she is an elector of the district or county, as the case may be, in which the contested election was held.

(b) The name of the defendant.

(c) The office.

(d) The particular grounds of contest and the section of this code under which the statement is filed.

(e) The date of declaration of the result of the election by the body canvassing the returns thereof.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1143, Sec. 56. Effective September 30, 1996.)


The contestant shall verify the statement of contest, as provided by Section 446 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and shall file it within the following times after either the declaration of the result of the election or the declaration of the results of any postcanvass risk-limiting audit conducted pursuant to Section 15560 by the body canvassing the returns thereof:

(a) In cases other than cases of a tie, where the contest is brought on any of the grounds mentioned in subdivision (c) of Section 16100, six months.

(b) In all cases of tie, 20 days.

(c) In cases involving presidential electors, 10 days.

(d) In all other cases, 30 days.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 122, Sec. 4. (AB 2023) Effective January 1, 2011.)


When the reception of illegal votes is alleged as a cause of contest, it is sufficient to state generally that in one or more specified voting precincts illegal votes were given to the defendant, which, if taken from him or her, will reduce the number of his or her legal votes below the number of legal votes given to some other person for the same office.

Testimony shall not be received of any illegal votes, unless the contestant delivers to the defendant, at least three days before the trial, a written list of the number of illegal votes, and by whom given, which he or she intends to prove. No testimony may be received of any illegal votes except those that are specified in the list.

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


An election shall not be set aside on account of eligible voters being denied the right to vote, unless it appears that a sufficient number of voters were denied the right to vote as to change the result.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 173, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2004.)


A statement of the grounds of contest shall not be rejected nor the proceedings dismissed by any court for want of form, if the grounds of contest are alleged with such certainty as will advise the defendant of the particular proceeding or cause for which the election is contested.

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


The affidavit shall specify separately each precinct in which any irregularity or improper conduct took place, or in which a recount is demanded, and the nature of the mistake, error, misconduct, or other cause of contest, and the date of completion of the official canvass of the board of supervisors of the county last making the declaration.

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

ELECElections Code - ELEC1