California ballot initiative petition signature costs

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See also: California signature requirements
California
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How much money have initiative sponsors in California spent per signature to qualify their initiatives?

This article compares-and-contrasts signature-collection costs based on the CPRS, or Cost Per Required Signature.

When initiative sponsors collect and submit signatures, they aim to collect many more than the required minimum number of signatures. This is done in order to provide a sufficient cushion for those signatures that inevitably are disqualified. In most states, anywhere from 25-35% of submitted signatures are disqualified.

Some initiative sponsors collect a much larger cushion of extra signatures. If it were possible to know exactly how many signatures each initiative sponsor submitted, it would be possible to calculate a "cost-per-actual-signature" figure. In California, initiative sponsors must submit signatures on a per-county basis to each of the state's 58 counties, rather than to one central election office. County election officials do not routinely release a count of the number of filed signatures for each proposition.

The charts below, therefore, compare signature-collection costs based on a figure that is readily available, which is the legal minimum requirement of signatures, rather than the number of signatures actually gathered and submitted for each proposition.

2014

See also: California 2014 ballot propositions
Ballot measure Subject Signature collection company Cost Signatures required CPRS
Proposition 45 Insurance Kimball Petition Management $1,728,998 504,760 $3.43
Proposition 46 Healthcare Kimball Petition Management $1,438,885 504,760 $2.85
Proposition 47 Trials PCI Consultants, Inc $937,836 504,760 $1.86
Proposition 48 Gambling Arno Political Consultants and The Monaco Group $2,030,443 504,760 $4.02
TOTAL: $6,136,162

2012

See also: California 2012 ballot propositions
Ballot measure Subject Signature collection company Cost Signatures required CPRS
Proposition 28 Term limits Kimball Petition Management $1,424,087 694,354 $2.05
Proposition 29 Taxes Arno Political Consultants $663,867 433,971 $1.53
Proposition 30 Taxes Kimball Petition Management $8,773,490 807,615 $10.86
Proposition 31 Budgets Progressive Campaigns (PCI) $2,806,880 807,615 $3.48
Proposition 32 Labor Bader & Associates $1,170,886 504,760 $2.32
Proposition 33 Insurance Arno Political Consultants $1,700,916 504,760 $3.37
Proposition 34 Death penalty Kimball Petition Management $1,418,122 504,760 $2.81
Proposition 35 Law enforcement Progressive Campaigns (PCI) $1,437,523 504,760 $2.85
Proposition 36 Law enforcement Progressive Campaigns (PCI) $1,475,775 504,760 $2.92
Proposition 37 Regulation Masterson & Wright $1,463,968 504,760 $2.90
Proposition 38 Taxes Arno Political Consultants, 12 others $4,952,513 504,760 $9.81
Proposition 39 Taxes Masterson & Wright $1,796,003 504,760 $3.56
Proposition 40 Redistricting Bader & Associates $584,126 504,760 $1.18
TOTAL: $28,244,069

2010

See also: 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs and California 2010 ballot propositions
Ballot measure Subject Signature collection company Cost Signatures required CPRS
Proposition 16 Elections Arno Political Consultants $2,199,794 694,354 $3.17
Proposition 17 Regulation National Petition Management $2,273,745 433,971 $5.23
Proposition 19 Marijuana Master'son & Wright $987,833 433,971 $2.27
Proposition 20 Elections National Petition Management $1,937,380 694,354 $2.79
Proposition 21 Taxes Master'son & Wright $1,144,515 433,971 $2.64
Proposition 22 State spending Progressive Campaigns $1,646,596 694,354 $2.37
Proposition 23 Environment National Petition Management $2,222,312 433,971 $5.12
Proposition 24 Taxes Kimball Petition Management $1,587,363 433,971 $3.65
Proposition 25 State spending Kimball Petition Management $2,626,808 694,354 $3.78
Proposition 26 Taxes National Petition Management $2,341,023 694,354 $3.37
Proposition 27 Elections Kimball Petition Management $3,031,085 694,354 $4.37
TOTAL: $21,998,454

2008

See also: California 2008 ballot propositions
Ballot measure Subject Signature collection company Cost Signatures required CPRS
Proposition 91 Transportation 694,354
Proposition 92 Education Arno Political Consultants $38,000[1] 694,354
Proposition 93 Term limits Kimball Petition Management $2,238,538 694,354 $3.22
Proposition 94 Gambling Arno Political Consultants $926,133 433,971 $2.13
Proposition 95 Gambling Arno Political Consultants $926,133 433,971 $2.13
Proposition 96 Gambling Arno Political Consultants $926,133 433,971 $2.13
Proposition 97 Gambling Arno Political Consultants $926,133 433,971 $2.13
Proposition 98 Eminent domain Arno Political Consultants $1,583,000 694,354 $2.28
Proposition 99 Eminent domain Progressive Campaigns, Inc. $3,559,970 694,354 $5.13
Proposition 2 Animal rights Progressive Campaigns, Inc. $416,756 433,971 $.96
Proposition 3 Bonds Arno Political Consultants $1,028,000 433,971 $2.37
Proposition 4 Abortion Bader & Associates, Inc. $2,555,000 694,354 $3.68
Proposition 5 Marijuana Progressive Campaigns, Inc. $1,762,000 433,971 $4.06
Proposition 6 Criminal justice National Petition Management $1,022,000 433,971 $2.35
Proposition 7 Energy Progressive Campaigns, Inc. $1,367,000 433,971 $3.15
Proposition 8 Marriage Bader & Associates, Inc. $882,900 694,354 $1.27
Proposition 9 Criminal justice Bader & Associates, Inc. $2,258,000 694,354 $3.25
Proposition 10 Energy Progressive Campaigns, Inc. $3,078,263 433,971 $7.09
Proposition 11 Redistricting Kimball Petition Management $2,332,988 694,354 $3.36
TOTAL: $27,826,947

2006

See also: California 2006 ballot propositions
Ballot measure Subject Signature collection company Cost Signatures required CPRS
Proposition 82 Education Kimball Petition Management $1,616,569 598,105 $2.70
Proposition 83 Law enforcement Bader & Associates $700,000 373,816 $1.87
Proposition 84 Bond issues Kimball Petition Management $1,043,484 373,816 $2.79
Proposition 85 Abortion Bader & Associates $2,527,615 598,105 $4.22
Proposition 86 Taxes Master'son & Wright $2,558,147 598,105 $4.28
Proposition 87 Taxes Kimball Petition Management $2,382,280 598,105 $3.98
Proposition 88 Taxes National Petition Management $4,226,621 598,105 $7.06
Proposition 89 Elections and campaigns [2] 373,816
Proposition 90 Eminent domain Arno Political Consultants $1,788,706 598,105 $2.99
TOTAL: $16,843,422

2005

See also: California 2005 ballot propositions
Ballot measure Subject Signature collection company Cost Signatures required CPRS
Proposition 73 Abortion Bader & Associates, Inc. $2,527,611 598,105 $4.23
Proposition 74 Labor NPM, Arno and Forde $1,514,707 373,816 $4.05
Proposition 75 Labor NPM, Arno and Forde $1,514,707 373,816 $4.05
Proposition 76 Spending NPM, Arno and Forde $2,423,529 598,105 $4.05
Proposition 77 Redistricting NPM, Arno and Forde $2,423,529 598,105 $4.05
Proposition 78 Healthcare Progressive and Bader $2,415,397 373,816 $6.46
Proposition 79 Healthcare Kimball Petition Management $4,635,466 373,816 $12.40
Proposition 80 Energy Kimball Petition Management $4,839,466 373,816 $12.95
TOTAL: $22,294,412

Note: The petition drives for Proposition 74, Proposition 75, Proposition 76 and Proposition 77 were conducted jointly. Three different petition drive management companies were involved. The expense reports were pooled. It is not therefore possible to determine the exact costs of each individual petition drive. The costs in this chart were derived by assuming that each signature in each of the four petition drives had the same cost. The overall cost of the four petition drives was $7,876,472.40.

References

  1. The Cal-Access database lists two campaign committees as having registered in support of Proposition 92. One of these organizations ("Yes on 92! Students and Educators in Support") shows no expenditures of any kind. The other organization, "Yes on Proposition 92, Californians for Improving Community Colleges, a Coalition of Educators and Community College Organizations", shows one $38,000 expenditure to Arno Political Consultants. In our judgment, it is very unlikely that only $38,000 was spent collecting signatures for Proposition 92. It is more likely that there is a flaw in the database.
  2. A search of expenditures in the Cal-Access database for Proposition 89 campaign committees shows no disbursements to petition drive management companies.