California Electors Right to Call for Constitutional Convention Act (2010)

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A California Electors Right to Call for Constitutional Convention Act (09-0066) ballot proposition was intended for the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, but on February 12, 2010, its backers announced that they were pulling the plug on the effort to qualify it for the ballot.[1]

The proposed measure would have amended the California Constitution to permit voters to place on the ballot the question of whether to call a convention to revise the California Constitution. Supporters also wanted to give voters a chance on the same ballot to go ahead and call a limited convention, and that effort was also terminated in mid-February.[1]

The proposed but unsuccessful initiative was given an official ballot title and ballot summary on December 22, 2009, with a circulation deadline of May 21, 2010. Supporters must collect a minimum of 694,354 signatures.

In mid-February 2010, supporters of the measure first indicated that their effort was in danger of not being able to collect the signatures it would need to qualify for the November ballot because they had not so far been able to attract the needed funds to conduct a large-scale paid signature-gathering effort, and then they ultimately said the project was dead.

One notable aspect of the effort was that it faced opposition from several of the state's most powerful petition drive management companies.[2]


If a constitutional convention had been held under the terms of this initiative, it would have:

  • Convened in 2011
  • Met for several months
  • Prepared a new California Constitution that would go before the state's voters in 2012.
  • There are several different ways delegates to the convention might have been chosen.[3]


Repair California raised $352,000 in 2009. Spokesman John Grubb said the organization had received $2 million in commitments from donors to support the petition drives to qualify the two measures the group is supporting for the November 2, 2010 ballot.[5]


  • Thomas Elias. He said the measure is "backed by Google and other high-tech giants that finance the Bay Area Council business lobby" and urged that people refrain from signing the petition to put it on the ballot. He said, "Why is this a bad idea? For one thing, despite sponsors' pious claims that their measure would limit action by that convention to fixing the state's budget and ballot initiative processes, cutting the influence of special interests on elections and government, bettering relations between state and local governments and making government more efficient, there's room here for enormous mischief."[6]


A poll conducted by EMC Research for Repair California in mid-September 2009 found that 69% of approximately 1,000 polled voters said they would vote "yes" on the question of whether California voters should be allowed to call a constitutional convention.[7] 71% also said they would then vote "yes" on calling a constitutional convention.

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements, Petition blocking

The initiative was cleared for circulation with a deadline of May 21, 2010.

Repair California said that their effort to collect the required signatures for this measure and for Call for a Convention, its companion measure, ran into a petition blocking effort. They accused five petition drive management companies in the state of being behind an effort to stop them from being able to collect signatures. The activities they said they had learned of included "shouting down their volunteers, destroying valid signatures and intentionally submitting fake signatures."[8]

Repair California sent cease-and-desist letters to several firms it believed had engaged in these activities, including:

Fred Kimball of Kimball Petition Management said that he opposed the initiatives and indicated to a newspaper that he had warned "the independent supervisors who manage signature-gatherers that he will blacklist them if they work for the constitutional-convention measures."[10]

Bob Stern of the Center for Governmental Studies said, "This is the first time I have heard of the petition firms taking a position on an initiative in this way. These firms typically won't circulate two competing measures, which makes sense, but they rarely turn down business."[8]


Ballot title: Allows Voters to Place Question of Calling a Constitutional Convention on the Ballot. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Summary: Amends the Constitution to permit voters to place on the ballot the question of whether to call a convention to revise the state Constitution. Permits any ballot measure calling a convention to specify the parts of the Constitution that the convention can or cannot revise. Requires any ballot measure calling a convention to specify the process for selection of convention delegates. Repeals requirement that convention delegates be elected by voters. Permits voters to call a convention no more than once every ten years.

Estimated fiscal impact: Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: No direct fiscal impact, as any effect would depend on whether and how voters used the power to call and accept the recommendations of a constitutional convention in the future. Potentially major fiscal changes in state and local governments could result. (09-0066.) [11]

See also

External links