Placing a City Initiative on the Ballot

The following are the basic steps for placing a local citizen initiative on the ballot:

  • Proponents prepare a Notice of Intent, which includes the written text of the initiative, an optional written statement setting forth the reasons for the petition, and the signatures and addresses of 1-3 proponents
  • Proponents file the Notice of Intent with the City Clerk and pay a $200 filing fee
  • Within 15 days, the City Attorney prepares a title and summary of the initiative
  • City Clerk provides a copy of the title and summary to the proponents
  • Proponents publish the Notice of Intent, title and summary (in Daily Review), and file proof of publication with City Clerk
  • Once proof of publication is filed, proponents can begin circulating petition, and have 180 days to obtain enough signatures to qualify the petition for the ballot
  • City Clerk has 30 working days to certify the sufficiency of the petition to the City Council
  • If petition contains the required number of signatures, the City Council must do one of the following:
    • Adopt the ordinance, without alteration, within 10 days of petition certification
    • Immediately order an election
    • Order a report pursuant to Elections Code Section 9212. When the report is presented to the City Council, the Council must either adopt the ordinance within 10 days, or order an election

Signature Requirement

Valid signatures of 10% of the City's registered voters are required to qualify an initiative for the next General Election.

The number of signatures required is based on the last report of registration by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. This report is available on the Registrar of Voters' website.

More detailed information is contained in A Guide to Placing a City Initiative on the Ballot (PDF). For more information, contact Leticia I. Miguel, City Clerk, at 510-577-3367.