E-Signature Collection

Authorizes electronic signature gathering for state and local initiative, referendum, and recall petitions. Requires Secretary of State to develop a system that allows voters to view petitions on Secretary of State’s website and to sign them electronically directly on the website, or to download, print, and sign the printed petitions. Requires Secretary of State or local elections official to verify these signatures. Requires Secretary of State to invite arguments for and against petitions, and to post submitted arguments on website. Requires Secretary of State’s website to include ongoing tally of each measure’s signatures received electronically or on downloaded petitions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: : One-time state and local government costs in the millions of dollars or more to develop an online system for electronic petition signature gathering. Potential net costs or savings due to changed state and local government processes for verifying petition signatures.

SECTION 1. Section I 07 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

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107. (a) No later than 180 days after this section takes effect, the Secretary of State shall develop a system that allows a voter to view initiative, referendum, and recall petitions on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site and do either of the following:

(1) Provide necessary identifying information and electronically sign the petition directly on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site.

(2) Download, print, and sign a document in portable document format (PDF) that contains a copy of the petition and space for the signer to provide necessary identifying information.

(b) The system developed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall enable the Secretary of State to verify the authenticity of an electronic signature.

SEC. 2. Section 9023 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9023. (a) An initiative or referendum petition that is cleared for circulation may be circulated pursuant to the system established under Section 107.

(b) (1) If a proponent informs the Secretary ofState that he or she elects to have a petition circulated pursuant to Section 107, the Secretary of State shall do all of the following:

(A) Post the text of the petition on his or her Internet Web site.
(B) Enable a voter to do either o f the following:
(i) Provide the information required by Section 9020 and electronically sign the

petition directly on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site.

(ii) Download, print, and sign a document in portable document format (PDF) that contains a copy of the petition and space for the signer to provide the information required by Section 9020.

(C) Provide on his or her Internet Web site an ongoing tally of the total number of signatures received pursuant to the methods described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1).

(D) Invite the submission of arguments for and against the measure, and post any submitted arguments on his or her Internet Web site.

(2) A document provided to a person pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall include instructions for returning it to the Secretary of State.

(3) Notwithstanding Section 16.5 of the Government Code, an electronic signature submitted pursuant to this section may be used to sign an initiative or referendum petition. The signature and information obtained pursuant this subdivision shall be deemed to be personally affixed to the petition, and the signature shall be treated as a “signature” as defined in Section 354.5 of the Elections Code.

SEC. 3. Section 9036 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9036. (a) Upon the close of the circulation period for a petition circulated pursuant to Section 9023, the Secretary o f State shall verify the signatures and determine the total number of valid signatures submitted by voters who did either of the following:

(1) Electronically signed the petition.
(2) Signed a copy of the petition in portable document format (PDF).
(b) (1) If the total number of valid signatures is less than 100 percent of the

number of qualified voters required to find the petition sufficient, the Secretary of State shall so notify the proponents, and he or she shall take no further action with regard to the petition.

(2) If the total number of valid signatures is 100 percent or more of the number of qualified voters needed to declare the petition sufficient, the Secretary ofState shall certify pursuant to Section 9033 that the measure is qualified for the ballot.

SEC. 4. Section 9107.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9107.5. (a) An initiative or referendum petition that is cleared for circulation may be circulated pursuant to the system established under Section 107.

(b) (1) I f a proponent informs the county elections official that he or she elects to have a petition circulated pursuant to Section 107, the county elections official shall notify the Secretary of State, who shall do all of the following:

(A) Post the text of the petition on his or her Internet Web site.
(B) Enable a voter to do either o f the following:
(i) Provide the information required by Section 9020 and electronically sign the

petition directly on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site.
(ii) Download, print, and sign a document in portable document format (PDF)

that contains a copy of the petition and space for the signer to provide the information required by Section 9020.

(C) Provide on his or her Internet Web site an ongoing tally of the total number of signatures received pursuant to the methods described in subparagraph (B).

(D) Invite the submission of arguments for and against the measure, and post any submitted arguments on his or her Internet Web site.

(2) A document provided to a person pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall include instructions for returning it to the Secretary of State.

(3) Notwithstanding Section 16.5 of the Government Code, an electronic signature submitted pursuant to this section may be used to sign an initiative or referendum petition. The signature and information obtained pursuant this subdivision shall be deemed to be personally affixed to the petition, and the signature shall be treated as a “signature” as defined in Section 354.5 of the Elections Code.

SEC. 5. Section 9118.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9118.5. (a) Upon the close of the circulation period for a petition circulated pursuant to Section 9107.5, the county elections official shall do both of the following:

(1) Request the electronic signature data and documents received in portable document format (PDF) from the Secretary o f State.

(2) Examine the signatures and determine the total number of valid signatures submitted by voters who did either of the following:

(A) Electronically signed the petition.
(B) Signed a copy of the petition in portable document format (PDF).
(b) (1) I f the county elections official finds the petition to be insufficient, the

county elections official shall take no further action on the petition.
(2) I f the county elections official finds the petition to be sufficient, the county

elections official shall certify the results of the examination to the board of supervisors at the next regular meeting of the board.

SEC. 6. Section 9206.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9206.5. (a) An initiative or referendum petition that is cleared for circulation may be circulated pursuant to the system established under Section 107.

(b) (1) Ifa proponent informs the elections official that he or she elects to have a petition circulated pursuant to Section 107, the elections official shall notify the Secretary of State, who shall do all of the following:

(A) Post the text of the petition on his or her Internet Web site.
(B) Enable a voter to do either of the following:
(i) Provide the information required by Section 9020 and electronically sign the

petition directly on his or her Internet Web site.
(ii) Download, print, and sign a document in portable document format (PDF)

that contains a copy of the petition and space for the signer to provide the information required by Section 9020.

(C) Provide on his or her Internet Web site an ongoing tally of the total number of signatures received pursuant to the methods described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1).

(D) Invite the submission of arguments for and against the measure, and post any submitted arguments on his or her Internet Web site.

(2) A document provided to a person pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall include instructions for returning it to the Secretary of State.

(3) Notwithstanding Section 16.5 of the Government Code, an electronic signature submitted pursuant to this section may be used to sign an initiative or referendum petition. The signature and information obtained pursuant this subdivision shall be

deemed to be personally affixed to the petition, and the signature shall be treated as a “signature” as defined in Section 354.5 of the Elections Code.

SEC. 7. Section 9215.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9215.5. Uponthecloseofthecirculationperiodforapetitioncirculatedpursuant to Section 9206.5, the elections official shall examine the petition in the same manner as county petitions are examined in accordance with Section 9118.5, except that for the purposes of this section, references to the board of supervisors shall be treated as references to the legislative body of the city.

9304.7. (a) An initiative or referendum petition that is cleared for circulation may be circulated pursuant to the system established under Section 107.

(b) (1) Ifa proponent informs the district elections official that he or she elects to have a petition circulated pursuant to Section 107, the district elections official shall notify the Secretary ofState, who shall do all of the following:

(A) Post the text of the petition on his or her Internet Web site.
(B) Enable a voter to do either of the following:
(i) Provide the information required by Section 9020 and electronically sign the

petition directly on his or her Internet Web site.
(ii) Download, print, and sign a document in portable document format (PDF)

that contains a copy of the petition and space for the signer to provide the information required by Section 9020.

(C) Provide on his or her Internet Web site an ongoing tally of the total number of signatures received pursuant to the methods described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1).

(D) Invite the submission of arguments for and against the measure, and post any submitted arguments on his or her Internet Web site.

(2) A document provided to a person pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) shall include instructions for returning it to the Secretary of State.

(3) Notwithstanding Section 16.5 of the Government Code, an electronic signature submitted pursuant to this section may be used to sign an initiative or referendum petition. The signature and information obtained pursuant this subdivision shall be deemed to be personally affixed to the petition, and the signature shall be treated as a “signature” as defined in Section 354.5 of the Elections Code.

SEC. 9. Section 9311.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9311.5. (a) Upon the close of the circulation period for a petition circulated pursuant to Section 9304.7, the district elections official shall do both of the following:

(1) Request the electronic signature data and documents received in portable document format (PDF) from the Secretary of State.

(2) Examine the signatures and determine the total number of valid signatures submitted by voters who did either of the following:

(A) Electronically signed the petition.
(B) Signed a copy of the petition in portable document format (PDF).
(b) (1) I f the district elections official finds the petition to be insufficient, the

district elections official shall take no further action on the petition.

(2) If the district elections official finds the petition to be sufficient, the district elections official shall certify the results of the examination to the governing board of the district at the next regular meeting of the board.

SEC. 10. Section 11024 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

11024. (a) The statement and answer are intended solely for the information of the voters. No insufficiency.

(b) The Secretary of State shall post the statement and answer on his or her Internet Web site.

(c) Insufficiency in the form or substance thereof of the statement or answer shall not affect the validity of the election proceedings.

SEC. 11. Section 11042.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

11042.5. (a) A recall petition that satisfies the requirements of Section 11042 may be circulated pursuant to the system established under Section 107.

(b) (1) If a proponent informs the Secretary of State that he or she elects to circulate a petition pursuant to Section 107, the Secretary of State shall do all of the following:

(A) Post the text of the petition on his or her Internet Web site.
(B) Enable a voter to do either of the following:
(i) Provide the information required by Section 11043 and electronically sign

the petition directly on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site.
(ii) Download, print, and sign a document in portable document format (PDF)

that contains a copy of the petition and space for the signer to provide the information required by Section 11043.

(C) Provide on his or her Internet Web site an ongoing tally of the total number of signatures received pursuant to the methods described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1).

(2) A document provided pursuant to subparagraph (B) o f paragraph (1) shall include instructions for returning it to the Secretary of State.

(3) Notwithstanding Section 16.5 of the Government Code, an electronic signature submitted pursuant to this section may be used to sign a recall petition. The signature and information obtained pursuant to either this subdivision shall be deemed to be personally affixed to the petition, and the signature shall be treated as a “signature” as defined in Section 354.5 of the Elections Code.

SEC. 12. Section 11108.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

11108.5. Immediately after the deadline for submission of all signatures for a recall petition circulated pursuant to Section 11042.5, the Secretary o f State shall verify the signatures and determine the total number of valid signatures submitted by voters who did either of the following:

(1) Electronically signed the petition.
(2) Signed a copy ofthe petition in portable document format (PDF).
SEC. 13. Section 11228 is added to the Elections Code, to read:
11228. Immediately after the deadline for submission of all signatures for a

recall petition circulated pursuant to Section 11042.5, the elections official shall do both of the following:

(1) Request the electronic signature data and documents received in portable document format (PDF) from the Secretary of State.

(2) Examine the signatures and determine the total number of valid signatures submitted by voters who did either of the following:

(A) Electronically signed the petition.
(B) Signed a copy of the petition in portable document format (PDF).
(b) (1) If the elections official finds the petition to be insufficient, the elections

official shall take no further action on the petition.
(2) If the elections official finds the petition to be sufficient, the elections official

shall submit his or her certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition to the governing body at its next regular meeting.