Article II, California Constitution

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Article I of the California Constitution is labelled Voting, Initiative and Referendum, and Recall. It has 20 sections.

Section 1

All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.

Section 2

A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this State may vote.

Section 2.5

A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted.

Section 3

The Legislature shall define residence and provide for registration and free elections.

Section 4

The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony.

Section 5

(a) The Legislature shall provide for primary elections for partisan offices, including an open presidential primary whereby the candidates on the ballot are those found by the Secretary of State to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States, and those whose names are placed on the ballot by petition, but excluding any candidate who has withdrawn by filing an affidavit of noncandidacy.

(b) A political party that participated in a primary election for a partisan office has the right to participate in the general election for that office and shall not be denied the ability to place on the general election ballot the candidate who received, at the primary election, the highest vote among that party's candidates.

Section 6

(a) All judicial, school, county, and city offices shall be nonpartisan.

(b) No political party or party central committee may endorse, support, or oppose a candidate for nonpartisan office.

Section 7

Voting shall be secret.

Section 8

(a) The initiative is the power of the electors to propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution and to adopt or reject them.

(b) An initiative measure may be proposed by presenting to the Secretary of State a petition that sets forth the text of the proposed statute or amendment to the Constitution and is certified to have been signed by electors equal in number to 5 percent in the case of a statute, and 8 percent in the case of an amendment to the Constitution, of the votes for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election.

(c) The Secretary of State shall then submit the measure at the next general election held at least 131 days after it qualifies or at any special statewide election held prior to that general election. The Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.

(d) An initiative measure embracing more than one subject may not be submitted to the electors or have any effect.

(e) An initiative measure shall not include or exclude any political subdivision of the State from the application or effect of its provisions based upon approval or disapproval of the initiative measure, or based upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes in favor of the measure, by the electors of that political subdivision.

(f) An initiative measure shall not contain alternative or cumulative provisions wherein one or more of those provisions would become law depending upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes for or against the measure.

Section 9

(a) The referendum is the power of the electors to approve or reject statutes or parts of statutes except urgency statutes, statutes calling elections, and statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for usual current expenses of the State.

(b) A referendum measure may be proposed by presenting to the Secretary of State, within 90 days after the enactment date of the statute, a petition certified to have been signed by electors equal in number to 5 percent of the votes for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election, asking that the statute or part of it be submitted to the electors. In the case of a statute enacted by a bill passed by the Legislature on or before the date the Legislature adjourns for a joint recess to reconvene in the second calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session, and in the possession of the Governor after that date, the petition may not be presented on or after January 1 next following the enactment date unless a copy of the petition is submitted to the Attorney General pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 10 of Article II before January 1.

(c) The Secretary of State shall then submit the measure at the next general election held at least 31 days after it qualifies or at a special statewide election held prior to that general election. The Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.

Section 10

(a) An initiative statute or referendum approved by a majority of votes thereon takes effect the day after the election unless the measure provides otherwise. If a referendum petition is filed against a part of a statute the remainder shall not be delayed from going into effect.

(b) If provisions of 2 or more measures approved at the same election conflict, those of the measure receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail.

(c) The Legislature may amend or repeal referendum statutes. It may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without their approval.

(d) Prior to circulation of an initiative or referendum petition for signatures, a copy shall be submitted to the Attorney General who shall prepare a title and summary of the measure as provided by law.

(e) The Legislature shall provide the manner in which petitions shall be circulated, presented, and certified, and measures submitted to the electors.

Section 11

(a) Initiative and referendum powers may be exercised by the electors of each city or county under procedures that the Legislature shall provide. Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), this section does not affect a city having a charter.

(b) A city or county initiative measure shall not include or exclude any part of the city or county from the application or effect of its provisions based upon approval or disapproval of the initiative measure, or based upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes in favor of the measure, by the electors of the city or county or any part thereof.

(c) A city or county initiative measure shall not contain alternative or cumulative provisions wherein one or more of those provisions would become law depending upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes for or against the measure.

Section 12

No amendment to the Constitution, and no statute proposed to the electors by the Legislature or by initiative, that names any individual to hold any office, or names or identifies any private corporation to perform any function or to have any power or duty, may be submitted to the electors or have any effect.

Section 13

Recall is the power of the electors to remove an elective officer.

Section 14

(a) Recall of a state officer is initiated by delivering to the Secretary of State a petition alleging reason for recall. Sufficiency of reason is not reviewable. Proponents have 160 days to file signed petitions.

(b) A petition to recall a statewide officer must be signed by electors equal in number to 12 percent of the last vote for the office, with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1 percent of the last vote for the office in the county. Signatures to recall Senators, members of the Assembly, members of the Board of Equalization, and judges of courts of appeal and trial courts must equal in number 20 percent of the last vote for the office.

(c) The Secretary of State shall maintain a continuous count of the signatures certified to that office.

Section 15

(a) An election to determine whether to recall an officer and, if appropriate, to elect a successor shall be called by the Governor and held not less than 60 days nor more than 80 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures.

(b) A recall election may be conducted within 180 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures in order that the election may be consolidated with the next regularly scheduled election occurring wholly or partially within the same jurisdiction in which the recall election is held, if the number of voters eligible to vote at that next regularly scheduled election equal at least 50 percent of all the voters eligible to vote at the recall election.

(c) If the majority vote on the question is to recall, the officer is removed and, if there is a candidate, the candidate who receives a plurality is the successor. The officer may not be a candidate, nor shall there be any candidacy for an office filled pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI.

Section 16

The Legislature shall provide for circulation, filing, and certification of petitions, nomination of candidates, and the recall election.

Section 17

If recall of the Governor or Secretary of State is initiated, the recall duties of that office shall be performed by the Lieutenant Governor or Controller, respectively.

Section 18

A state officer who is not recalled shall be reimbursed by the State for the officer's recall election expenses legally and personally incurred. Another recall may not be initiated against the officer until six months after the election.

Section 19

The Legislature shall provide for recall of local officers. This section does not affect counties and cities whose charters provide for recall.

Section 20

Terms of elective offices provided for by this Constitution, other than Members of the Legislature, commence on the Monday after January 1 following election. The election shall be held in the last even-numbered year before the term expires.

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