How to do Ballot Initiatives

The following websites explain how to create ballot initiatives and get on ballots in California:

Typically the authority in charge of elections, voting, and ballot measures is the Secretary of State of the specific state. If you go to the website of the secretary of state for your state of interest you can find this same information. This is public information that by law has to be disclosed to anyone who asks for it. If the site doesn't have it call them and ask them to mail it or email it to you.

To outline how it works in California:

  1. Write the text of the proposed law. May obtain assistance from the Legislative Counsel in drafting the language of the initiative measure. Proponent(s) must present the idea for the law to the Legislative Counsel, and 25 or more electors must sign the request for a draft of the proposed law. If it is determined that there is a reasonable probability the initiative measure will eventually be submitted to the voters, the Legislative Counsel (with or without your private counsel) will draft the proposed law (Government Code Section 10243).
  2. Submit it to Attorney General:
    Office of the Attorney General, ATTN: Initiative Coordinator, 1300 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
    (916) 324-5490 /
  3. SoS prepares calendar of filing deadlines. (There also is a suggested schedule in the handbook.)
  4. You have a max of 150 days to circulate petitions and collect signatures. Initiative measure must qualify at least 131 days before the next statewide election at which it is to be submitted to the voters. Must be signed by at least 5% of the total votes cast for Governor at the last gubernatorial election, all of them registered voters providing name and residence address. That would be (for 2006) 373,816 signatures. For initiative constitutional amendments the threshold is 8% which in 2006 is 598,105 signatures.
  5. Monetary contributions must be disclosed in certain official ways.
A history (pdf) of CA initiatives reveals:

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