A ballot measure is proposed legislation submitted to voters for a direct decision. Measures that appear on the ballot on Election Day may be local, countywide, or statewide.

Measures can be placed on the ballot by either a local jurisdiction or governing board or by a petition signed by registered voters.

This section describes the citizen-driven processes of beginning an initiative or a referendum.

To learn more about statewide measures, including initiatives and referendums, visit the Secretary of State’s website. To obtain information on qualifying a city initiative, referendum or filing an argument for a city measure visit the appropriate Office of the City Clerk.

Any person or group desiring to start and circulate an initiative or referendum is strongly advised to contact private legal counsel to guide and advise them through the many steps involved in the petition process.

File a Measure Argument

A Measure Argument is a statement written in favor or against a measure. Arguments in favor and against measures are published in the Voter Information Guide. Read our Guide to Filing Measure Arguments to learn more about key dates and participating in this process.

Arguments in Favor or Against a Measure
Members of a Governing Body, members on behalf of a Bona fide Association, and any voter eligible to vote on the measure can submit an argument signed by up to five people. Only one Argument In Favor and one Argument Against can be published. If more than one argument is received the precedence above will take priority. Each Argument may be up to 300 words.

Rebuttal Arguments
A Rebuttal Argument is a statement which refutes the Argument in Favor or Argument Against. Rebuttal Arguments must be signed by the same authors of the original arguments unless the original signers of the arguments authorize others to sign the Rebuttal Arguments. Each Rebuttal Argument may be up to 250 words.