On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the Schools and Communities First campaign (Campaign) announced that it has filed more than 1.7 million signatures to qualify an updated version of the Proposition 13 split-roll initiative that would tax commercial and industrial properties regularly at their fair market value. The campaign needs nearly one million of those signatures (just under 60%) to be valid in order for the measure to qualify for the November ballot. If qualified, this initiative would replace the original measure that has already qualified for November (see “Education Funding Initiative to Be Refiled for November 2020 Ballot,” in the August 2019, Fiscal Report).
The Campaign was able to collect almost all of these signatures before the social distancing health directives were implemented, as the new environment under COVID-19 is not conducive for ballot measure sponsors to collect signatures from citizens (see “COVID-19 Effect on California Elections and the Proposition 13 Split-Roll Initiative,” in the March 2020, Fiscal Report).
Now that the signatures are filed, county election officials have eight working days to determine the total number of signatures submitted in their county and report that total to the Secretary of State. If the statewide count is at least equal to the number needed to qualify a ballot measure, in this case just under one million, then the Secretary of State notifies county elections officials that they are to verify a random sample of their signatures within 30 working days. Upon completion of the random sample, county elections officials will certify the number of valid signatures appearing on the petitions in their counties to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then applies a formula to determine the statewide total of valid signatures, which determines whether the measure will qualify for the November ballot or not.
By turning in 700,000 more signatures than is required to qualify the measure, it nearly guarantees that the proposal will clear the necessary valid signature threshold to appear before voters in November. We will be sure to update you if and when the measure officially qualifies for the November General Election.