Petition Process: FAQs
Once a petition is submitted to the Registrar of Voters office for
processing, can the proponent or any individual get an update on how a
particular petition is doing?
No. The Registrar of Voters cannot disclose any information while the petition is being processed.
What is considered a section of a petition?
A section of a petition may be a single page or multiple pages that are securely bound together with one declaration of circulator.
Are there key things I should consider when circulating a petition?
Yes. Here are some important considerations for any signature gatherer:
- If a voter is not sure if they are registered at their current residence address, have the voter check their registration status and if needed re-register by completing a new registration form on or before the date they sign the petition. It’s easy! They can check their registration status and if needed re-register to vote online at Check Your Registration.
- Registration forms should be turned in immediately. The Registrar’s office compares the signature date on the registration form (or the date the registration form is received if the signature date is missing) to the date the petition was signed.
- The declaration of circulator section must be accurately filled out by the circulator with their name, signature, and most importantly the circulation dates otherwise the signatures in that section could be invalidated.
Are there key things to avoid when circulating a petition?
Yes. There are three critical errors any signature gather should avoid: 1) never fill in anything for the signer, 2) never allow a signer to sign a petition more than once, and 3) never tamper with the petition by removing staples, removing copies, or by using whiteout to make a correction.
If a signer needs assistance filling out their information on a petition due to a disability, the circulator may assist by filling out the signer’s information and then allowing the signer to provide their own signature. If the signer additionally cannot sign their own name and they have no other legal mark, the signer may make an "X" on the signature line. The circulator must make a note of the assistance they provided near this entry on the petition and sign as a witness.
Can petition signatures be turned in at different times to the Registrar
of Voters office?
No. Petition signatures must be turned in all at the same time. Exception would be statewide recall petitions.
Can anyone turn in petition signatures to the Registrar of Voters office?
No. Only proponents or someone authorized by the proponent may deliver petition signatures.
Can a signer withdraw their signature from a petition?
Yes. A signer may request to withdraw their signature prior to the day the petition is filed.
Can a signer of a petition sign the petition more than once?
No. Duplicate signatures have a large negative impact on a petition because of the weighted average assigned (on a random sampling).
Can the proponent of a petition check for duplicate signers before
turning in the petition to the Registrar of Voters office?
Yes. Crossing out any duplicate and invalid signatures will help the validity rate of a petition.
Does the Registrar of Voters office prioritize the processing of
No. Petitions are processed in the order that they are received by the Registrar’s office.
What happens when the Registrar of Voters office completes the
processing of a petition?
The Registrar’s office will report the findings to the appropriate governing body or agency:
- Findings for countywide petitions go to the County Board of Supervisors.
- Findings for city petitions will be presented to the appropriate city clerk.
- Findings for district petitions will be presented to the appropriate agency.
- In a statewide initiative, referendum or recall petition, the Registrar’s office presents findings to the California Secretary of State. Once findings are gathered, the Secretary of State will determine if petition had sufficient signatures statewide.