Consumes River College Ballot Initiatives Referendum and Recall Process Discussion



  1. Navigate to the links listed to read about initiatives, referendum, and recall process. Ballot Initiative. Referendums. Recall Process. 
  2. Summarize the process for each. Discuss whether you think this type of direct democracy is beneficial or harmful for California. 
  3. Submit your initial post
  4. Comment on two classmates posts 

Hi everyone,

The Ballot Initiative is the process for California citizens to propose new laws and constitutional amendments without the support of the Governor or Legislature.  It is a multi-step process consisting of writing a draft of the proposed law, submitting the draft to the Attorney General where he/she prepares the title and summary prior to circulation, circulating the initiative petition to collect signatures from registered voters, and turning in the signatures into county election officials for verification.  After the signatures verification, the initiative will either be qualified for the ballot or will be failed by the Secretary of State (SOS).  If the initiative makes it onto the ballot, then the California voters will approve or deny the ballot initiative.

A Referendum allows citizens to refer acts of the legislature to the ballot before they become law, through the petition process. The referendum also permits the legislature itself to refer proposed legislation to the electorate for approval/rejection.  A Referendum measure is a law recently passed by the legislature that is placed on the ballot because of petitions signed by the voters.  A Referendum bill is a proposed law referred to the electorate by the legislature.  The Referendum measures are filed any time after the legislature has passed the act that is referred to the ballot.  Signature petition forms are filed within 90 days after the final adjournment of the legislative session at which the act is passed.  The Referendum measures must be certified by the SOS and have equal to 5% of the total votes cast for the office of Governor in the last regular gubernatorial election.  After petitions are filed, county officials have 8 working days to determine a rough count of the signatures submitted, at which time they report what they found to the SOS.  After reaching the certain criteria, then the referendum is submitted at the next state general election.  Then it is up to the voters to cast their votes for, or against, the referendum in question.

According to Article II of the California Constitution that was approved by the voters in 1911, the citizens are allowed to recall and remove elected officials and justices of the State Supreme Court from office.  The Recall Process starts with the petition process; filing the notice-of-intent-to-recall petition, delivery to the officer to be recalled, publication of the notice of intent (NI), the Official’s answer to the NI, then the NI and the Official’s answer is included on the sample ballot.  After the petition signatures are verified, then the recall election is called for.  At that time, candidates who wish to be considered to replace the official must submit a nomination form and declare candidacy prior to the recall election.  During the election, the question to recall said official is asked, then voters submit their ballot.  If, after the election is held and the majority of electors vote for the recall, then the official will be recalled from office.  Although few Senators and Assemblymen/women have been recalled, only one California Governor has been successfully recalled, Governor Gray Davis in 2003.

Overall, I think that this type of direct democracy is beneficial for California because it gives the power to the citizens as to what is proposed for the ballot initiatives, referendums, and whether or not they want their local official(s) governing them.  Not all states allow for recall of elected officials, California is 1 of 19 states.  Having a direct democracy can weed out political bribery/corruption for fear of being recalled.  It is up to the Official to govern the citizens in a fair and responsible manner, but it is important for the citizens to hold the officials accountable for their governing actions and to have a voice if that responsibility isn’t being upheld.

We are almost to the end of the semester.  Good luck everyone!

-Teryn Linder

Hello class,

Ballot Initiative: Without the assistance of the Governor or the Legislature, a regular Californian can propose legislation and constitutional modifications. California people can submit a bill draft, and registered voters who approve the proposed legislation can sign it. Additionally, signatures are verified by local election authorities, which is critical to ensuring that the law is actually relevant. The Secretary of State can either qualify something for the ballot or refuse it, and then California voters will decide whether to accept or reject the qualified Ballot Initiative.

Referendums: With the exception of urgency acts, statutes calling elections, and statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for regular, current state costs, electors have the right to accept or reject statutes or sections of statutes. This is stated in California’s Constitution, Article II, Section 9.

Recall Process: California voters enacted Article II of the California Constitution in 1911, which permits citizens to recall and remove elected officials including Supreme Court judges from office.

This form of direct democracy, in my opinion, is advantageous to the entire state of California. Ordinary persons with an idea can submit it to the state, which will study it. If it is judged relevant and timely to the state’s needs, all stakeholders must simply approve or reject the proposed bill. This type of method can provide a lot of ideas that will benefit the state’s development.