Code Section Group

Elections Code - ELEC

DIVISION 9. MEASURES SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS [9000 - 9610]

  ( Division 9 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

CHAPTER 4. District Elections [9300 - 9380]

  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

ARTICLE 1. Initiative [9300 - 9323]
  ( Article 1 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

9300.
  

In addition to any other method provided by law, ordinances may be enacted by any district pursuant to this article, except that this article shall not apply to irrigation districts, to a district formed under a law that does not provide a procedure for elections, to a district formed under a law which does not provide for action by ordinance, to a district governed by an election procedure that permits voters, in electing the district’s directors or trustees, to cast more than one vote per voter, or to a district in which the directors are empowered to cast more than one vote per director when acting on any matter.

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

9301.
  

Any proposed ordinance may be submitted to the governing board of the district by an initiative petition filed with the district elections official. Signatures to these petitions shall be obtained in the same manner as set forth in Section 9020. Affidavits shall be attached to each petition section in the form and in the manner set forth in Section 9022.

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

9302.
  

Before circulating an initiative petition in any district, the proponents of that measure shall publish a notice of intention. The notice shall be accompanied by a printed statement stating the reasons for the proposed petition. The printed statement shall not exceed 500 words. The notice shall be signed by at least one, but not more than five, proponents, and shall be in substantially the following form:

 “Notice of Intention to Circulate Initiative Petition


Notice is hereby given of the intention of the persons whose names appear hereon of their intention to circulate the petition within the ____ district for the purpose of ____. A statement of the reasons for the proposed action as contemplated in the petition is as follows:”

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

9303.
  

A notice of intention and statement as referred to in Section 9302 shall be published or posted, or both, as follows:

(a) If there is a newspaper of general circulation within the district, as described in Section 6000 of the Government Code, the notice and statement shall be published therein at least once.

(b) If the petition is to be circulated in a district in which there is no newspaper of general circulation, the notice and statement shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation within the county in which the district is located, and the notice and statement shall be posted in three public places within the district.

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

9304.
  

Within 10 days after the date of publication or posting, or both, of the notice of intention and statement of the reasons for the proposed petition, the proponents shall file with the district elections official a copy of the notice and statement as published or posted, or both, together with the written text of the initiative and an affidavit made by a representative of the newspaper in which the notice was published or, if the notice was posted, by a voter of the district certifying to the fact of publication or posting.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 240, Sec. 3. (AB 1851) Effective January 1, 2013.)

9304.5.
  

From the time materials pertaining to an initiative petition are filed pursuant to Section 9304 until the day after the district elections official determines that the initiative petition does not contain the minimum number of signatures required, the day after the election at which the initiative measure is put before the voters, or the day after the proposed ordinance is adopted by the governing board of the district after being submitted to the governing board of the district pursuant to Section 9301, as applicable, the district elections official shall do both of the following:

(a) Keep on file at his or her office the notice of intention, statement of the reasons for the proposed petition, written text of the initiative, and affidavit of publication or posting that the proponents of the initiative measure filed with the district elections official pursuant to Section 9304.

(b) Furnish copies of the materials he or she is required to keep on file pursuant to subdivision (a) to any person upon request. The district elections official may charge a fee to a person obtaining copies pursuant to this subdivision. The fee may not exceed the actual cost incurred by the district elections official in providing the copies.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 240, Sec. 4. (AB 1851) Effective January 1, 2013.)

9305.
  

After filing a copy of the notice of intention, statement of the reasons for the proposed petition, written text of the initiative, and affidavit of publication or posting with the district elections official pursuant to Section 9304, the petition may be circulated among the voters of the district for signatures by any person who meets the requirements of Section 102. Each section of the petition shall bear a copy of the notice of intention and statement.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 278, Sec. 23. (SB 213) Effective January 1, 2014.)

9306.
  

Signatures upon petitions and sections thereof shall be secured, and the petition, together with all sections thereof, shall be filed within 180 days from the date of filing the materials specified in Section 9304 with the district elections official. If the petitions are not filed within the time permitted by this section, the petition and its sections shall be void for all purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 240, Sec. 6. (AB 1851) Effective January 1, 2013.)

9307.
  

Each section of the petition shall have attached thereto the affidavit of the person soliciting the signatures. This affidavit shall be substantially in the same form as set forth in Section 9022.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 278, Sec. 24. (SB 213) Effective January 1, 2014.)

9308.
  

(a) Except as provided in Section 9309, within 30 days from the date of filing of the petition, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the district elections official shall examine the petition, and from the records of registration ascertain whether the petition is signed by the requisite number of voters. A certificate showing the results of this examination shall be attached to the petition.

(b) In determining the number of valid signatures, the district elections official may check the signatures against facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with law.

(c) The district elections official shall notify the proponents of the petition as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition.

(d) If the petition is found insufficient, no further action shall be taken. However, the failure to secure sufficient signatures, shall not preclude the filing of a new petition on the same subject, at a later date.

(e) If the petition is found sufficient, the district elections official shall certify the results of the examination to the governing board of the district at the next regular meeting of the board.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 79. (AB 1020) Effective January 1, 2016. Operative September 26, 2016, when the Secretary of State issued the certification prescribed by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 88.)

9309.
  

(a) Within 30 days from the date of filing of the petition, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, if, from the examination of petitions pursuant to Section 9308, more than 500 signatures have been signed on the petition, the district elections official may use a random sampling technique for verification of signatures. The random sample of signatures to be verified shall be drawn in such a manner that every signature filed with the elections official shall be given an equal opportunity to be included in the sample. A random sampling shall include an examination of at least 500 or 3 percent of the signatures, whichever is greater.

(b) If the statistical sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is within 95 to 110 percent of the number of signatures of qualified voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, the district elections official, within 60 days from the date of the filing of the petition, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, shall examine and verify each signature filed.

(c) In determining from the records of registration, what number of valid signatures are signed on the petition, the district elections official may check the signatures against facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with law.

(d) The district elections official shall attach to the petition, a certificate showing the result of this examination, and shall notify the proponents of either the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition.

(e) If the petition is found insufficient, no action shall be taken on the petition. However, the failure to secure sufficient signatures shall not preclude the filing later of an entirely new petition to the same effect.

(f) If the petition is found to be sufficient, the district elections official shall certify the results of the examination to the governing board of the district at the next regular meeting of the board.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 80. (AB 1020) Effective January 1, 2016. Operative September 26, 2016, when the Secretary of State issued the certification prescribed by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 88.)

9310.
  

(a) If the initiative petition is signed by voters not less in number than 10 percent of the voters in the district, if the total number of registered voters is less than 500,000, or not less in number than 5 percent of the voters in the district, if the total number of registered voters is 500,000 or more, the district board shall do either of the following:

(1) Adopt the ordinance, without alteration, either at the regular meeting at which the certification of the petition is presented, or within 10 days after it is presented.

(2) Submit the ordinance, without alteration, to the voters pursuant to Section 1405.

(b) The number of registered voters referred to in subdivision (a) shall be calculated as of the time of the last report of registration by the county elections official to the Secretary of State made before publication or posting of the notice of intention to circulate the initiative petition.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 92, Sec. 64. (SB 1289) Effective January 1, 2019.)

9311.
  

The proponent of an initiative may withdraw the initiative at any time before the 88th day before the election, whether or not the petition has already been found sufficient by the elections official.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 155, Sec. 3. (SB 1153) Effective January 1, 2019.)

9312.
  

Whenever an ordinance is required by this article to be submitted to the voters of a district at an election, the district elections official shall cause the ordinance to be printed. A copy of the ordinance shall be made available to any voter upon request.

The district elections official shall mail with the voter information guide to each voter the following notice printed in no less than 10-point type.

“If you desire a copy of the proposed ordinance, please call the district elections official’s office at (insert telephone number) and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.”

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 49. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

9313.
  

Except as provided in Section 9314, whenever a district measure is submitted to the voters, the district elections official shall transmit a copy of the measure to the county counsel, or to the district attorney if there is no county counsel, of the county that contains the largest number of registered voters of the district. The county counsel or district attorney shall prepare an impartial analysis of the measure showing the effect of the measure on the existing law and the operation of the measure. The analysis shall include a statement indicating whether the measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters or by the governing body of the district. The analysis shall be printed preceding the arguments for and against the measure. The analysis shall not exceed 500 words in length.

If the entire text of the measure is not printed on the ballot nor in the voter information guide, there shall be printed immediately below the impartial analysis, in no less than 10-point bold type, a legend substantially as follows:

“The above statement is an impartial analysis of Ordinance or Measure ____. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the district elections official’s office at (insert telephone number) and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.”

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 50. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

9314.
  

(a) Whenever a district measure is submitted to the voters of a water district, the district elections official shall transmit a copy of the measure to the legal counsel for the water district, or to the county counsel if there is no legal counsel for the water district, of the county that contains the largest number of registered voters of the water district. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), if there is a legal counsel for the water district, he or she shall prepare, subject to review and revision by the county counsel, an impartial analysis of the measure showing the effect of the measure on the existing law and the operation of the measure. The analysis shall include a statement indicating whether the measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters or by the governing body of the water district. The analysis shall be printed preceding the arguments for and against the measure. The analysis shall not exceed 500 words in length.

If the entire text of the measure is not printed on the ballot nor in the voter information guide, there shall be printed immediately below the impartial analysis, in no less than 10-point bold type, a legend substantially as follows:

“The above statement is an impartial analysis of Ordinance or Measure ____. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the district elections official’s office at (insert telephone number) and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.”

(b) If there is no legal counsel for the water district, or if the legal counsel for the water district and the county counsel so agree, the county counsel shall prepare the impartial analysis.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) “Legal counsel for the water district” means the attorney designated under the district’s conflict of interest code as its legal officer pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 87300) of Chapter 7 of Title 9 of the Government Code.

(2) “County counsel” means the district attorney if there is no county counsel.

(3) “Water district” means a water district as defined in Section 20200 of the Water Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 51. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

9315.
  

The persons filing an initiative petition pursuant to this article may file a written argument in favor of the ordinance. The district board may submit an argument against the ordinance. Neither argument shall exceed 300 words in length, and both arguments shall be printed and mailed to each voter with the voter information guide for the election.

The following statement shall be printed on the front cover, or if none, on the heading of the first page, of the printed arguments:

“Arguments in support of or in opposition to the proposed laws are the opinions of the authors.”

Printed arguments submitted to voters in accordance with this section shall be titled either “Argument In Favor Of Measure ____” or “Argument Against Measure ____,” accordingly, the blank spaces being filled in only with the letter or number, if any, designating the measure. At the discretion of the district elections official, the word “Proposition” may be substituted for the word “Measure” in the titles. Words used in the title shall not be counted when determining the length of any argument.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 52. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

9316.
  

Based on the time reasonably necessary to prepare and print the arguments and voter information guides, and to permit the 10-calendar-day public examination as provided in Article 4 (commencing with Section 9380) for the particular election, the district elections official charged with the duty of conducting the election shall fix and determine a reasonable date before the election for the submission to the district elections official of an argument in favor of and against the ordinance, and additional rebuttal arguments as provided in Section 9317. Arguments may be changed or withdrawn by their proponents until and including the date fixed by the district elections official.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 53. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

9317.
  

(a) When an argument in favor and an argument against a measure have been selected for publication in the voter information pamphlet the elections official responsible for conducting the election shall send copies of the argument in favor of the measure to the authors of the argument against the measure and copies of the arguments against the measure to the authors of the argument in favor. The authors may prepare and submit rebuttal arguments not exceeding 250 words, or may authorize in writing any other person or persons to prepare, submit, or sign the rebuttal argument. The rebuttal arguments shall be submitted to the elections official conducting the election no later than a date designated by the elections official.

(b) Rebuttal arguments shall be printed in the same manner as the direct arguments. Each rebuttal argument shall immediately follow the direct argument that it seeks to rebut and shall be titled “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure (or Proposition) ____,” or “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure (or Proposition) ____,” the blank spaces being filled in only with the letter or number, if any, designating the measure. Words used in the title may not be counted when determining the length of any rebuttal argument.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 228, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2003.)

9319.
  

Any number of proposed ordinances may be voted upon at the same election.

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

9320.
  

If a majority of the voters voting on a proposed ordinance vote in its favor, the ordinance shall become a valid and binding ordinance of the district. The ordinance shall be considered as adopted upon the date the vote is declared by the district board, and shall go into effect 10 days after that date.

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

9321.
  

If the provisions of two or more ordinances adopted at the same election conflict, the ordinance receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall control.

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

9322.
  

The enacting clause of an ordinance submitted to the voters of a district shall be substantially in the following form:

“The people of the ____ District do ordain as follows:”

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

9323.
  

No ordinance proposed by initiative petition and adopted either by the district board without submission to the voters or adopted by the voters shall be repealed or amended except by a vote of the people, unless provision is otherwise made in the original ordinance. In all other respects, an ordinance proposed by initiative petition and adopted shall have the same force and effect as any ordinance adopted by the board.

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

ELECElections Code - ELEC1