You have full Initiative & Referendum rights. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Voters can also initiate constitutional amendments by Initiative.


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.

Grade: B+

Click here to view California’s individual report in Of the People, By the People, For the People: A 2010 Report Card on Statewide Voter Initiative Rights.

California Office

For more information about how to get involved in protecting and expanding California’s initiative process contact Amanda Roman in our California office:

(530) 470-9294

State Balloting Process

How you can change California’s government through ballot initiatives


Californians rightly credit Progressive-era Governor Hiram Johnson with
leading the successful fight for direct democracy in the Golden State, but
few are familiar with the critical groundwork that had been laid by Dr.
John Randolph Haynes… Read More

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Date Initiative language can be submitted: Any time

Signatures tied to vote of which office: Governor

Next Gubernatorial election: 2010

Votes cast for governor in last election: 8,899,059

Net number of signatures required: 8% of votes cast for Governor for a
constitutional amendment (711,925) and 5% for a statute (444,953)

Distribution requirement: None

Circulation period: 150 days

Do circulators have to be residents: No

Date when signatures are due for certification: No petition may be
circulated prior to the official summary date. The completed and signed
petition must be filed with the county elections official not later than 150
days from the official summary date; no petition may be accepted for
filing after that date. Each initiative will be placed on the next statewide
general or special election ballot that occurs at least 131 days after the
initiative qualifies.

Signature verification process: Random Sampling

Single-subject restriction: Yes

Legislative tampering: The legislature cannot amend or repeal an
initiative, unless it is permitted by the initiative.

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.