California Legislature—2013–14 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 2219


Introduced by Assembly Member Fong

February 20, 2014


An act to amend Sections 9031 and 9115 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 2219, as introduced, Fong. Initiative and referendum petitions: verification of signatures.

Existing law requires local elections officials to perform various duties with respect to statewide initiative and referendum petitions, including determining the total number of signatures affixed to the petitions, transmitting that information to the Secretary of State, and performing a random sampling technique for verification of signatures on specified petitions. If the sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is within 95 to 110% of the number of signatures of qualified voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, existing law requires election officials or the registrar of voters to examine and verify each signature filed.

This bill would require the elections official or registrar of voters during the examination of the signatures to submit one or more reports to the Secretary of State showing the number of signatures that have been verified as of that date. The bill would require the Secretary of State to maintain a list indicating the number of verified signatures based on the most recent reports and, if the Secretary of State determines that based on the list the petition is signed by the requisite number of voters, the bill would require the Secretary of State to notify the elections official or registrar of every county or city and county of that fact. After receipt of the notification that the petition has obtained the requisite number of verified signatures, this bill would require the elections official or registrar of voters to immediately transmit to the Secretary of State the petition and an amended certificate showing the results of the examination and would permit the elections official or registrar to suspend the signature verification until the Secretary of State transmits a certificate to terminate the verification or provides other instructions.

Existing law prescribes the procedure for determining the total number of valid signatures affixed to a county initiative petition and requires the county elections official, if the initiative petition contains more than 500 signatures, to verify signatures using a random sampling method. If the sampling shows the petition contains 95 to 110% of the number of valid signatures to qualify the petition, the county elections official is required to verify each signature filed.

This bill would permit the elections official to terminate the verification of the remaining unverified signatures if he or she determines, prior to completing the examination of each signature filed, that the petition is signature by the requisite number of qualified voters to declare the petition sufficient.

By increasing the duties of the local elections officials and registrars of voters, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 9031 of the Elections Code is amended
2to read:

3

9031.  

(a) If the statistical sampling shows that the number of
4valid signatures is within 95 to 110 percent of the number of
5signatures of qualified voters needed to declare the petition
6sufficient, the Secretary of State shall order the examination and
7verification ofbegin delete each signatureend deletebegin insert the signaturesend insert filed, and shall so
8notify the elections officials.

P3    1(b) Within 30 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays,
2after receipt of the order, the elections official or registrar of voters
3shall determine from the records of registration what number of
4qualified voters have signed the petition and if necessary the board
5of supervisors shall allow the elections official or registrar
6additional assistance for the purpose of examining the petition and
7provide for their compensation. In determining from the records
8of registration what number of qualified voters have signed the
9petition, the elections official or registrar of voters may use any
10file or list of registered voters maintained by his or her office, or
11the facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that the method of
12preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with law.

begin insert

13(c) (1) During the examination and verification of the signatures
14filed, the elections official or registrar of voters shall submit one
15or more reports to the Secretary of State showing the number of
16signatures of qualified voters that have been verified as of that
17date. The Secretary of State shall determine the number of reports
18required to be submitted and the manner of their submission.

end insert
begin insert

19(2) The Secretary of State shall maintain a list indicating the
20number of verified signatures of qualified voters who have signed
21the petition based on the most recent reports submitted pursuant
22to paragraph (1). If the Secretary of State determines, prior to
23each county’s completing the examination of each signature filed,
24that based on the list the petition is signed by the requisite number
25of voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, the Secretary of
26State shall immediately notify the elections official or registrar of
27voters of every county or city and county in the state of this fact.
28 Immediately after receipt of this notification, the elections official
29or registrar of voters may suspend signature verification until
30receipt of a certificate pursuant to Section 9033 or until otherwise
31instructed by the Secretary of State.

end insert
begin delete

32(c)

end delete

33begin insert(d)end insert The elections official or registrar, upon the completion of
34the examinationbegin insert or notification pursuant to paragraph (2) of
35subdivision (c)end insert
, shall immediately attach to the petition, except the
36signatures thereto appended, an amended certificate properly dated,
37showing the result of the examination and shall immediately
38transmit the petition, together with the amended certificate, to the
39Secretary of State. A copy of the amended certificate shall be filed
40in the elections official’s office.

begin delete

P4    1(d)

end delete

2begin insert(e)end insert If the amended certificates establish the petition’s
3sufficiency, the petition shall be deemed to be filed as of the date
4of receipt by the Secretary of State of certificates showing the
5petition to be signed by the requisite number of voters of the state.

begin delete

6If

end delete

7begin insert(f)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertIfend insert the amended certificates received from all elections
8officials by the Secretary of State establish that the petition has
9still been found insufficient, the Secretary of State shall
10immediately so notify the proponents and the elections officials.

11

SEC. 2.  

Section 9115 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

12

9115.  

(a) Within 30 days from the date of filing of the petition,
13excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, if, from the
14examination of petitions pursuant to Section 9114 shows that more
15than 500 signatures have been signed on the petition, the elections
16official may use a random sampling technique for verification of
17signatures. The random sample of signatures to be verified shall
18be drawn so that every signature filed with the elections official
19shall be given an equal opportunity to be included in the sample.
20The random sampling shall include an examination of at least 500,
21or 3 percent of the signatures, whichever is greater.

22(b) If the statistical sampling shows that the number of valid
23signatures is within 95 to 110 percent of the number of signatures
24of qualified voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, the
25elections official shall, within 60 days from the date of the filing
26of the petition, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays,
27examine and verifybegin delete each signatureend deletebegin insert the signaturesend insert filedbegin insert.end insertbegin insert If the
28elections official determines, prior to completing the examination
29of each signature filed, that the petition is signed by the requisite
30number of qualified voters to declare the petition sufficient, the
31elections official may terminate the verification of the remaining
32unverified signaturesend insert
.

33(c) In determining from the records of registration, what number
34of valid signatures are signed on the petition, the elections official
35may use the duplicate file of affidavits maintained, or may check
36the signatures against facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided
37that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies
38with law.

P5    1(d) The elections official shall attach to the petitionbegin delete,end delete a certificate
2showing the result of this examinationbegin delete,end delete and shall notify the
3proponents of either the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition.

4(e) If the petition is found insufficient, no action shall be taken
5on the petition. However, the failure to secure sufficient signatures
6shall not preclude the filing later of an entirely new petition to the
7same effect.

8(f) If the petition is found to be sufficient, the elections official
9shall certify the results of the examination to the board of
10supervisors at the next regular meeting of the board.

11

SEC. 3.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
12this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
13local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
14pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
154 of Title 2 of the Government Code.



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