The Initiative Process in the City of Santa Monica

The following information is intended to assist residents who are considering circulating a petition for a local measure/initiative in the City of Santa Monica. This information is intended to provide general guidance only. While the information contained herein is believed to be substantially correct, it is not intended to provide legal or factual advice. The related California State Elections Code Chapter 3, Sections 9200-9226 appear below the information and you may view the related Santa Monica Municipal Code information at: Santa Monica Municipal Elections Code Chapter 11.

Steps for circulating and filing a petition for a measure/initiative:

  1. Proponents file a notice of intent with the City Clerk's Office requesting a ballot title and summary (Section 9202).
  2. Within 15 days, the City Clerk will provide to proponents a ballot title and summary, as prepared by the city attorney (Section 9203).
  3. Proponents must publish the notice of intent, the title and the summary of the proposed measure in an adjudicated newspaper of general circulation (Section 9205).
  4. Within ten days of publication/posting, proponents must submit to City Clerk a copy of the notice filed and a publishing affidavit from newspaper where notice was published. (Section 9206).
  5. Once proof of publishing has been filed with City Clerk, proponents may circulate petitions to gather signatures. Proponents must file petition within 180 from date of receipt of title and summary (Section 9208).
  6. City Clerk will verify that the petition contains the minimum required number of signatures within 30 days of filing, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (Section 9211).
  7. If the petition qualifies, the City Clerk will present the petition to the Council at its next regularly scheduled meeting. The City Council may do one of the following:
    • Adopt the ordinance, without alteration at the regular meeting or within 10 days.
    • If petition contains 15% of voters' signatures and a request for a special election, order a special election; if petition contains 10% of voter's signatures, place the proposed measure on the ballot of the next regularly scheduled municipal election.
    • If the Council has not yet done so, Council may order a report as provided for in Section 9212.
  8. Should the City Council order a report, as provided for in Section 9212, the report will be presented to Council no later than 30 days, at which time Council may adopt the ordinance as presented or call an election as indicated above.
  9. The suggested date for submitting a signed petition to the City Clerk for placement on a November ballot election is approximately 172 days prior to the election. i.e., mid-May of the election year.

Califorinia State Election Code

Chapter 3 - Sections 9200-9226