California Photo ID to Vote Initiative (2010)

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A California Photo ID to Vote Initiative (09-0005, 09-0007, 09-0008, 09-0059, 09-0106) did not qualify for the November 2, 2010 state ballot as an initiated state statute.

George Runner was the measure's official proponent.

The proposed initiative had these provisions:

  • People would not have been able to vote unless they present a government-issued photo-identification card at the polls.
  • Provisional voting would have been allowed for eligible voters who failed to present government-issued photo-identification.
  • Provisional ballots and mail-in ballots would have been deemed invalid unless the accompanying envelope were marked with the last four digits of a citizen’s California driver’s license, state identification card or social security number.
  • Citizens on probation for a felony offense would not have been allowed to vote.
  • Ballots from absent military personnel would not have been considered timely if they were postmarked by election day.

Five different versions of the measure were filed.

Text of measure

One version, numbered 09-0106, had the following title and summary provided. The other versions were similar.

Ballot title

Prohibits Voting by Those Who Do Not Provide Government-Issued Identification. Adds Additional Absentee Voting Requirements. Initiative Statute.[1][2]


Prohibits citizens from casting a regular ballot at the polls unless they present a government-issued photo-identification card. Restricts voting by citizens who fail to present government-issued photo-identification to casting provisional ballots. Invalidates mail-in and provisional ballots unless elections official verifies that last four digits of voter's government-issued identification number on ballot envelope are consistent with voter's corresponding government records. Establishes that ballots from absent military personnel are timely if received no later than 15 days after election.[1][2]

Fiscal impact

Some increased government costs associated with voting in elections. These costs probably would not be significant.[2]


Example of a photo ID

On October 14, 2009, proponent George Runner filed a lawsuit against California Attorney General's office over the ballot title created by that office. Runner said the ballot title they came up with for the measure was "overtly biased."[3]

The title prepared by Jerry Brown was “Limits on voting” and the summary said “prohibits citizens from voting” unless they showed ID. Runner said this wording was inaccurate inasmuch as the measure would have allowed citizens who did not possess ID to vote provisionally, and required the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue free ID cards to voters without them.

Runner thought “Voter identification requirement” was a more neutral and accurate description of the proposed measure.[3][4]

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

For version 09-0106 to have qualified for the 2012 ballot, supporters would have needed to collect 433,971 valid signatures by July 19, 2010.

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