Initiative and Referendum Processes

9/5/2019

Introduction

In political terminology, the initiative is a process that enables citizens to bypass their state legislature by placing proposed statutes and, in some states, constitutional amendments on the ballot. A total of 24 states have the citizen initiative process.

There are two types of initiatives: direct and indirect. In the direct process, proposals that get enough signatures go directly on the ballot. In the indirect process, the proposal and signatures are submitted to the legislature, which may act on the proposal. Depending on the state, the initiative question goes on the ballot if the legislature rejects it, submits a different proposal or takes no action. In some states with the indirect process, the legislature may submit a competing measure that appears on the ballot along with the original proposal.

The popular referendum is a device which allows voters to approve or repeal an act of the legislature. If the legislature passes a law that voters do not approve of, voters may gather signatures to demand a popular vote on the law. Generally, there is a 90-day period after the law is passed during which the petitioning must take place. Once enough signatures are gathered and verified, the new law appears on the ballot for a popular vote. During the time between passage and the popular vote, the law may not take effect. If voters approve of the law, it takes effect as scheduled. If voters reject the law, it is voided and does not take effect.

In 2002, NCSL conducted an in-depth study of the citizen initiative process called Initiative and Referendum in the 21st Century. It includes recommendations.

Select a topic from the column at left in the below graphic for more information. Select a state in the map above to see state-specific information.

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Specific Types

Year Established:
Citizen Initiative

Alaska: 1956
Arizona: 1911
Arkansas: 1910
California: 1911
Colorado: 1912
Florida: 1972
Idaho: 1912
Illinois: 1970
Maine: 1908
Massachusetts: 1918
Michigan: 1908
Mississippi: 1914
Missouri: 1908
Montana: 1904
Nebraska: 1912
Nevada: 1905
North Dakota: 1914
Ohio: 1912
Oklahoma: 1907
Oregon: 1902
South Dakota: 1898
Utah: 1900
Washington 1912
Wyoming: 1968

States with citizen initiatives (24): Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

States may have the direct initiative, the indirect initiative or the choice of either.

In the indirect initiative process, a proposed initiative is referred to the legislature after proponents have gathered the required number of signatures. The legislature has the option to enact, defeat or amend the measure. Depending on the legislature's action, the proponents may continue to pursue placement on the ballot for a popular vote. In three states (Massachusetts, Ohio and Utah), proponents must gather additional signatures to place the measure on the ballot; in the others, it automatically goes to the ballot.

For direct initiatives, proponents collect signatures and place the measure directly on the ballot once it’s certified and verified.

States with direct initiatives (19): Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington

States with indirect initiatives (10): Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

States with popular referendums (23): Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington Wyoming

Subject Matter Restrictions and Repeating a Measure

States may limit the subject matter of ballot measures. States may apply a single-subject rule or other restrictions. States sometimes limit how soon a measure can be re-attempted.

Single-Subject Rule

Fifteen states follow a single-subject rule:

  • Alaska (AS § 15.45.040)
  • Arizona (for constitutional amendments, not statutes) (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1; CV–16–0314-SA)
  • California (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8)
  • Colorado (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
  • Florida (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
  • Missouri (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50)
  • Montana (MT CONST Art. 5, § 11; Art. 5, § 11; MACo v. The State of Montana, MT 267 [2017])
  • Nebraska (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2)
  • Nevada (N.R.S. 295.009)
  • Ohio (O.R.C. § 3519.01)
  • Oklahoma (OK Const. Art. 5, § 57; Art. 24, § 1)
  • Oregon (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1)
  • Utah (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202; U.C.A. 1953, Const. Art. 6, § 22)
  • Washington (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 19; Amalgamated Transit Union Local 597 v. State of Washington, 11 P.3d 762 [2000])
  • Wyoming (Const. Art. 3, § 24)

Nine states do not have a single-subject rule:

Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Additional Subject Restrictions

Aside from single-subject rules, seven states have no additional subject restrictions on what can be in initiatives: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Other states vary when it comes to restrictions, ranging from specific vote thresholds on certain topics to disallowing certain issues. Some states limit the number of sections of code or the constitution that may be altered. Seventeen states have subject matter limitations other than the single-subject rule:

State Citation Content

Alaska

AS § 15.45.010

Dedicate revenue, repeal appropriations, create courts, define court rules or jurisdictions, or enact local or special legislation.

Arizona

A.R.S. Const. Art. 9 § 23

If includes expenditures, must also include sufficient increased revenue sources that cannot come from general fund.

California

Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8, § 12

Measure provisions cannot be dependent upon meeting certain vote percentage. And no measure that names an individual to hold office or names private corporation to perform any function.

Florida

F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 3

Amendments that propose a tax or fee not in place in November 1994 require a two-thirds vote to pass.

Illinois

ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3 and see Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (1976)

May only amend structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV.

Maine

M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 19

If there are insufficient state funds and the measure does not provide a source, it is effective 45 days after next regular legislative session.

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 2; M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 74

Must contain only subjects that are related or mutually dependent. Cannot relate to: religion, the judiciary, specific appropriations, local or special legislation, the 18th amendment of the constitution, anything inconsistent with the Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Michigan

M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9

The initiative power extends only to laws which the legislature may enact.

Mississippi

MS Const. Art. 15, § 273

May not repeal/modify the state's Bill of Rights, amend/repeal provisions relating to the state's public employees' retirement system, amend/repeal right-to-work provision or modify the initiative process, and special rules if includes expenditures.

Missouri

V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50, 51

No appropriations or other new revenues not provided for in the measure.

Montana

MT CONST Art. 3, § 4; Art. 5, § 11; Art. 14, § 11

No amendment may change more than one section, no appropriations, and no local or special laws.

Nebraska

Nebraska Const. Art. 3, Sec. 2; Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1408

Limited to matters that can be enacted by legislation, and no measures that interfere with the legislature’s ability to direct taxation of necessary revenues.

Nevada

N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3; Art. 16, § 6; N.R.S. 295.009

Cannot require an expenditure of money unless a sufficient tax is provided.

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 5

Cannot stop emergency laws passed by the legislature or appropriations to support state departments or institutions.

Ohio

OH Const. Art. II, § 1e

Cannot "pass a law authorizing any classification of property for the purpose of levying different rates of taxation thereon or of authorizing the levy of any single tax on land or land values or land sites at a higher rate or by a different rule than is or may be applied to improvements thereon or to personal property."

South Dakota

Const. Art. 3, § 23

No private or special laws.

Wyoming

Const. Art. 3, § 52

Cannot dedicate revenues, make or repeal appropriations, create courts, define the jurisdiction of courts, prescribe court rules, enact local or special legislation, or enact legislation prohibited y the Wyoming constitution.

Repeating a Measure

Seventeen states do not provide for any limitation on attempting to repeat a specific measure: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington.

Of course, in some of the above states, timelines concerning filing, signature gathering and deadlines for signatures and the indirect initiative process may impose limits not otherwise spelled out in statute.

Seven states impose explicit limits for how much time must pass before a measure is re-attempted, ranging from 12 months to five years:

State Citation Content

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3

Cannot be same as a measure at either of the two preceding biennial state elections.

Mississippi

MS Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-43

Two years.

Nebraska

Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2

May only be attempted once every three years.

North Dakota

NDCC, 16.1-01-11

More than two elections on the “same general matter” cannot be held within 12 months.

Oklahoma

OK Const. Art. 5, § 6; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 21

For three years, measures can only be proposed again by signatures totaling 25%of total votes cast for governor last election, and special rule for competing measures.

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202

Two years.

Wyoming

W.S.1977 § 22-24-301

Five years on any measure that is "substantially the same as that defeated by" the previous measure.

Petition Application Process

Most states require proponents of a proposed law to follow guidelines. These guidelines may include an application process, registering a certain number of sponsors, submitting the full text and an explanation of the measure, affidavits, the office or offices to file with, registering a proponent or opposition organization, campaign finance issues and the process for withdrawing an initiative.

Application and Filing Requirements

Seven states require filing an initial number of signatures or registering of sponsors as part of an application to fully circulate an initiative:

State Citation Number of Signatures to File

Alaska

AS § 15.45.020; 15.45.030

100

Idaho

I.C. § 34-1804, § 34-1809

20

Maine

21-A M.R.S.A. § 901

5

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3

10

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 2

25

Ohio

O.R.C. § 3519.01; 3519.02; 3513.10

1,000

Oregon

O.R.S. § 250.045; 250.052

1,000–2,000

Four states require a filing fee in statute:

State Citation Fee Amount

Alaska

AS § 15.45.020; 15.45.030

$100

Ohio

O.R.C. § 3519.01; 3519.02; 3513.10

Unspecified amount

Washington

RCWA 29A.72.010; 43.07.120; 29A.72.020; 29A.72.040

Unspecified amount

Wyoming

W.S.1977 § 22-24-302; § 22-24-303

$500

Eighteen states require proponents to file application materials with the state’s secretary of state:

  • Arizona (A.R.S. § 19-111)
  • Arkansas (AR Const. Art. 5, § 1; A.C.A. § 7-9-104)
  • California (Cal.Elec.Code § 9001, 9004; Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8)
  • Colorado (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-105)
  • Idaho (§ 34-1804)
  • Maine (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18 and 21-A M.R.S.A. § 901)
  • Massachusetts (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3)
  • Michigan (M.C.L.A. 168.471 and M.C.L.A. 168.472)
  • Mississippi (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-1)
  • Missouri (V.A.M.S. 116.332)
  • Montana (MCA 13-27-202)
  • Nebraska (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405)
  • Nevada (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 1)
  • North Dakota (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 2)
  • Oklahoma (OK Const. Art. 5, § 3; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8)
  • Oregon (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1)
  • South Dakota (SDCL § 12-13-25.1; 12-13-26; 2-1-1-1; 2-1-1-2)
  • Wyoming (W.S.1977 § 22-24-302)

Two states require proponents to file application materials with the lieutenant governor:

  • Alaska (AS § 15.45.020)
  • Utah (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202)

Five states require proponents to file application materials with the attorney general:

  • California (Cal.Elec.Code § 9001, 9004; Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8)
  • Idaho (I.C. § 34-1804, § 34-1809)
  • Massachusetts (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3)
  • Ohio (O.R.C. § 3519.01)
  • South Dakota (SDCL § 12-13-25.1; 12-13-26)

Four states require filing with another entity:

State Citation Filing with Other

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 1-40-105

Legislative council

Florida

F.S.A. § 106.03

Division of Elections

Illinois

10 ILCS 5/28-9

None listed, but must register organization with board of elections.

South Dakota

SDCL § 12-13-25.1; 12-13-26

Legislative Research Council

Campaign Finance

All 24 citizen initiative states require political organizations supporting or opposing a ballot measure—almost always considered political action committees—to follow state campaign finance laws. These include filing reports and designating organization officers. The following is not a legal, comprehensive list of every campaign finance law governing the initiative process in each state, but rather provides a starting guide of where to find relevant statutes:

  • Alaska: AS § 15.13.040; § 15.13.050; § 15.13.065; § 15.13.110
  • Arizona: A.R.S. § 16-906, § 16-926
  • Arkansas: A.C.A. § 7-9-404; 405; 406; 407; 408; 409
  • California: Cal.Gov.Code § 82013, 84200, 84202.3, 85309, 84511, 84101, Cal.Elec.Code § 18680; Form 460
  • Colorado: C.R.S.A. § 1-45-103, § 1-45-108.3, § 1-45-111.5§ 1-45-117
  • Florida: F.S.A. § 106.08, § 106.19
  • Idaho: I.C. § 67-6602, § 67-6607
  • Illinois: 10 ILCS 5/9-15
  • Maine: 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1051, 1052, 1052-A, 1053-B, 1054, 1054-A, 1055, 1055-A, 1056, 1056-A, 1056-B, 1057, 1058, 1059, 1060, 1062-A, 1062-B
  • Massachusetts: M.G.L.A. 55 § 1, § 6B, § 7A, § 18C, § 18
  • Michigan: M.C.L.A. 169.234; 169.247
  • Mississippi: Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-47; § 23-17-49; § 23-17-51; § 23-17-53
  • Missouri: V.A.M.S. 130.110; 130.120; 130.029; 130.046; 130.041
  • Montana: MCA 13-27-112; 13-27-113
  • Nebraska: Neb.Rev.St. § 49-1401
  • Nevada: N.R.S. Const. Art. 2, § 10; N.R.S. 295.009; 294A.150; 294A.220
  • North Dakota: NDCC, 16.1-08.1-02.4; 16.1-08.1-03.1; 16.1-08.1-03.2
  • Ohio: O.R.C. § 3517.01, .08, .10, .11, 12, .13, .20, .092, .093, .102, .105; O.H.R. § 3599.03
  • Oklahoma: 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 2; 21 Okl.St.Ann. § 187; Okl.St.Ann. Rule 2.36; Okl.St.Ann. Rule 2.79; Oklahoma Ethics Commission's Guide for Political Action Committees
  • Oregon: O.R.S. § 250.045; § 260.035; § 260.054
  • South Dakota: SDCL § 12-27-22; SDCL § 12-27-3
  • Utah: U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-11-101; § 20A-11-801; § 20A-11-802; § 20A-11-803
  • Washington: RCWA 42.17A.005; 42.17A; 42.17A.205
  • Wyoming: W.S.1977 § 22-1-102; § 22-24-201; § 22-24-306

Withdrawing an Initiative

Nine states have an explicit process for withdrawal of an initiative from circulation:

State Citation Petition Withdrawal Process

California

Cal.Elec.Code § 9033, 9604

Proponents may any time before measure qualifies for the ballot, 131 days before the general statewide election.

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 1-40-134

File a letter with secretary of state, signed by designated representatives, no later than 60 days prior to the election.

Illinois

10 ILCS 5/28-3

Only before submissions.

Missouri

V.A.M.S. 116.115

The sponsor may file a written notice to withdraw the initiative with the secretary of state.

Nebraska

N.R.S. AB 45; 30

One of three authorized people must submit a notice of withdrawal with the secretary of state.

Ohio

O.R.C. § 3519.08

Any time more than 70 days before the election, a majority of the committee members may withdraw the petition by writing to the secretary of state.

Oklahoma

34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8

Any time before the final submission of signatures, the delegated proponents may write to the secretary of state to withdraw.

Oregon

O.R.S. § 250.029

The chief petitioners may withdraw at any time before submitting the total number of signatures for verification. All of the chief petitioners must sign the form to withdraw.

South Dakota

SDCL § 2-1-2.3

May remove no later than 120 days prior to the next general election.

Fourteen states do not have any process for withdrawal: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Petition Content

In every state, petitions must follow guidelines, which vary by state. Petitions always include a title and/or summary of the proposed measure, although who writes this information varies. Several states require two officials to write or review the title and/or summary, given their importance to a ballot measure.

Petition sheets also always include space for signatures. Other requirements may include a legal warning, a statement that the petition circulator is paid, a summary of the proposed measure, the full text of the measure, the county or district where the signature was collected and more.

Who Writes the Title and Summary of Proposed Measures

Seventeen states have at least one government official draft or review the petition title and/or summary, while proponents draft this language in nine states. Details on who or which offices write the title and summary are listed below:

State Citation Who Drafts Title and/or Summary

Alaska

AS § 15.45.090

Lieutenant governor

Arizona

A.R.S. § 19-102; § 19-111

Proponents

Arkansas

A.C.A. § 7-9-107

Proponents

California

Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10; Cal.Elec.Code § 9004

Attorney general

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 1-40-106, § 1-40-124.5

Title board, comprised of secretary of state, attorney general and director of the office of legislative legal services

Florida

F.S.A. § 101.161

Prepared by sponsor, approved by secretary of state. Attorney general writes title and summary if original is challenged in court.

Idaho

I.C. § 34-1809

Attorney general

Illinois

ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3

Proponents, no explicit statute

Maine

21-A M.R.S.A. § 901 and 1 M.R.S.A. § 353

Secretary of state, revisor of statutes and attorney general

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3; M.G.L.A. 54 § 53

Attorney general certifies submitted title and measure and summary by secretary of state, with attorney general oversight.

Michigan

M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 12, § 2

None specified for title, and summary "prepared by the person authorized by law."

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-7; § 23-17-9; § 23-17-15

Attorney general

Missouri

V.A.M.S. 116.180; V.A.M.S. 116.334

Secretary of state and approved by attorney general

Montana

MCA 13-27-312

Proponents, approved or rewritten by attorney general

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405

Proponents

Nevada

N.R.S. 295.015; 295.009

Proponent, with possibility of being amended by statute

North Dakota

NDCC, 16.1-01-07

Secretary of state and approved by the attorney general

Ohio

O.R.C. § 3519.21; 3519.01; 3519.03

Secretary of state, official committee that filed and approved by attorney general.

Oklahoma

34 Okl.St.Ann. § 3; § 8

Proponents; a simple “statement of the gist” of the measure is included on the petition.

Oregon

O.R.S. § 250.045; § 250.067; § 250.035; § 250.036; § 250.075

Attorney general drafts ballot titles and certifies statements.

South Dakota

SDCL § 12-13-25.1

Attorney general, after receiving written comments from the Legislative Research Council

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202; 20A-7-203

Proponents

Washington

RCWA 29A.72.060

Attorney general

Wyoming

W.S.1977 § 22-24-310

Secretary of state

Statutes on Petition Contents

States include a range of requirements for petition contents including legal warnings, serial numbers provided by officials, notarization, date of the election the measure is to be voted upon, the measure’s full text, summary, the district or county where the signature was gathered, if the circulator is paid, fiscal statement abstract, affidavit of circulator, circulator information, rights of the potential signer, names of proponents or proponent organization, statement of the proponent organization and deadline for signatures. Statutes for petition contents for each state:

  • Alaska: AS § 15.45.090
  • Arizona: A.R.S. § 19-102
  • Arkansas: A.C.A. § 7-9-108
  • California: Cal.Elec.Code § 9008, 9009, 9012
  • Colorado: CRS § 1-40-110, § 1-40-105.5
  • Florida: F.S.A. § 106.19, § 100.371, § 120.54
  • Idaho: I.C. § 34-1801a, § 34-1804, § 34-1809
  • Illinois: ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3, 10 ILCS 5/28-2
  • Maine: 21-A MRSA § 901, 903
  • Massachusetts: M.G.L.A. 53 § 22A; M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3
  • Michigan: M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 12, § 2; M.C.L.A. 168.482; 168.544c
  • Mississippi: Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-17; § 23-17-19
  • Missouri: V.A.M.S. 116.050; 116.050
  • Montana: MCA 13-27-201; 13-27-202; 13-27-204; 13-27-207
  • Nebraska: Neb.Rev.St. § 32-1401; § 32-1405; § 32-628; § 32-1403
  • Nevada: N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3; N.R.S. 295.055; 295.009
  • North Dakota: NDCC, 16.1-01-07; 16.1-01-09
  • Ohio: OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; O.R.C. § 3501.38; 3519.05
  • Oklahoma: OK Const. Art. 5, § 2; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 2
  • Oregon: O.R.S. § 250.015; § 250.052; § 250.045
  • South Dakota: SDCL § 2-1-1.1; § 2-1-1.2; South Dakota Administrative Rules 5:02:08:07
  • Utah: U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-203
  • Washington: RCWA 29A.72.120; 29A.72.110
  • Wyoming: W.S.1977 § 22-24-304; § 22-24-310; § 22-24-311

Circulators

Individuals who physically gather signatures are referred to as circulators.

General Requirements

Every state includes requirements for circulators operating in the state. The most common requirements: that they be at least 18 years old, a citizen, a registered voter and/or a resident of the state.

State 18 years old Citizen Legal Qualified Voter State Resident Register Not Allowed

Alaska

     

Arizona

       

County recorder or justice of the peace. Cannot have had a civil or criminal penalty for a violation of election code in the last five years; been convicted of treason or a felony and not restored civil rights; been convicted of any criminal offense involving fraud, forgery or identity theft.

Arkansas

      Criminal background check done for paid circulators with additional restrictions.

California

         

Colorado

   

✓*

 

Florida

           

Idaho

       

Illinois

       

Maine

       

Massachusetts

           

Michigan

       

Mississippi

     

✓**

 

Individuals who cannot vote

Missouri

     

Cannot be a person once convicted of, or who has pled guilty to crimes involving forgery

Montana

         

Nebraska

         

Nevada

         

North Dakota

       

Ohio

       

Oklahoma

   

Criminal background check done for paid circulators with additional restrictions

Oregon

         

Cannot in last five years have been convicted of a crime involving fraud, forgery, or identification theft or subject to a civil penalty due to an election offense

South Dakota

       

Utah

       

Washington

         

Wyoming

       

For citation information, please contact the NCSL Elections and Redistricting team.

*While the Colorado residency requirement for circulators was struck down in Independence Institute v. Gessler, the court upheld the requirement that a circulator present to the notary a specific type of identification.
**Residency requirement was struck down by Term Limits Leadership Council v. Clark (1997).

Two states require circulators to attend a training:

  • Colorado (C.R.S. § 1-40-112; § 1-40-135)
  • Oregon (OR Rev. Stat. § 250.048)

Affidavits or Sworn Oaths

Twenty-two states require circulators or proponents to sign affidavits or other sworn statements as to the accuracy or authenticity of the petitions:

  • Alaska (AS § 15.45.130)
  • Arizona (A.R.S. § 19-118; § 19-121)
  • Arkansas (Arkansas Const. Art. 5  § 1)
  • California (Elections Code §§ 104, 9022)
  • Colorado (C.R.S. § 1-40-111)
  • Florida (FLA. STAT. 3 § 100.371)
  • Idaho (I.C. § 34-1807)
  • Illinois (10 ILCS 5/28-3)
  • Maine (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 19; 21-A MRSA §903-A, sub-§§4)
  • Michigan (M.C.L.A. 168.482, 168.544c)
  • Missouri (V.A.M.S. § 116.080)
  • Montana (MCA § 13-27-302)
  • Nebraska (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-628; § 32-1546)
  • Nevada (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3; Nev. Rev. Stat. § 295.0575)
  • North Dakota (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 3; NDCC, 16.1-01-09)
  • Ohio (O.R.C. § 3501.38)
  • Oklahoma (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 6)
  • Oregon (O.R.S. § 250.045)
  • South Dakota (DCL § 2-1-1.2)
  • Utah (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-203)
  • Washington (RCWA 29A.72.010; 29A.72.120)
  • Wyoming (W.S.1977 § 22-24-314)

Several of these states require such information to be included on the signature petition sheets.  

Paying Circulators

Several states have or had statutory bans on paying circulators either per signature or in general. Most of these bans have been overturned by the courts.

Furthermore, statutes allowing or requiring paying per signature have been overturned by the courts. There has been one exception: The case Initiative and Referendum Institute v. Jaeger (2001) in North Dakota upheld the ban on paying per signature.

South Dakota has a unique statute regarding pay: may pay based on hourly wage or salary, express or implied minimum signature requirements for the circulator to meet, may terminate someone's employment if they do not meet "certain productivity requirements," and may pay “discretionary bonuses based on reliability, longevity, and productivity.” (SDCL § 12-13-28)

Signatures

All citizen initiatives require the collection of a certain number of signatures, although states vary in the number of signatures and the baseline used to determine that number. Some states also include signatures to be gathered from across the state, although some of these requirements have been found to be unconstitutional. Every state also includes requirements as to how the authenticity of signatures are verified, and constitutional amendments often require more signatures than statutory changes.

Some states have what's called an indirect initiative process. In these states, sponsors gather a smaller number of signatures to reach the first stage of qualification and, once enough valid signatures are gathered to meet this threshold, the initiative goes before the state legislature. If the legislature enacts the proposal, no further petition takes place and the proposal becomes law. If the legislature fails to enact the proposal as written, sponsors then go through a second stage of signature gathering. Massachusetts, Ohio and Utah use this sort of process.

Missouri and Nebraska have unique signature requirements. In Missouri, signature requirements are based entirely on congressional districts. The requirement states that a petition must garner valid signatures from six of the state's nine congressional districts that equal 5 % (for a statutory proposal) or 8% (for a constitutional proposal) of the votes cast for governor in that district in the last election. That means the total number of signatures required for ballot access will vary depending upon which congressional districts sponsors put together to reach the total of six .

In Nebraska, the total number of signatures is based upon the total number of registered voters in the state. Since the total number of registered voters is constantly changing, with new voters being added and ineligible voters being removed, that presents a dilemma for the state. The state must essentially pick a point in time at which to capture a snapshot of the total number of registered voters.

Number of Signatures Required

State Citation Signatures Required

Alaska

AS § 15.45.140

Ten% of total votes cast in previous general election with geographic requirement

Arizona

A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1

Ten% of votes cast for all candidates for governor in previous election for statutes; 15% for amendments

Arkansas

Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1

Eight% of the total number of legal voters for statutes; 10% for amendments

California

Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8

Five% of votes cast for governor in last election for statutes or ;  8% for amendments

Colorado

C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1

Five% of votes cast for secretary of state in last election

Florida

F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 3

Eight% of total votes cast statewide in last presidential election

Idaho

I.C. § 34-1805

Six% of qualified electors at the time of the last general election

Illinois

ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3

Eight% of votes cast for governor in last gubernatorial election

Maine

M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18

Ten% of total votes cast for governor in last gubernatorial election

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 2; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 1

Three% of votes cast for governor at preceding biennial state election to submit to the legislature. If the legislature does not enact the statute, another round of signatures is required equaling 0.5% of votes for governor.

Michigan

M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; Const. Art. 12, § 2

For statute, 8% of total votes cast for governor in last general election. For amendments, 10% of total votes cast for governor.

Mississippi

MS Const. Art. 15, § 273

Twelve% of total votes cast in last gubernatorial race for governor

Missouri

V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50; Art. 3, § 53

For statutory, 5% of total vote for governor in last election in each of two-thirds of the state's congressional districts. For constitutional amendments, 8% of total vote for governor in last election in each of two-thirds of the state's congressional districts.

Montana

MT CONST Art. 3, § 4; Art. 14, § 9; Art. 14, § 10

For statutes, 5% of total qualified electors of the state, determined by the number of votes cast for governor in the preceding general election. For amendments, 10% of total qualified electors of the state.

Nebraska

Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2; § 4

For statutory initiatives, 7% of votes cast for governor in last election. For constitutional amendments, 10% of votes cast for governor in last election.

Nevada

N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2

Ten% of votes cast in last general election

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 4; Art. 3, § 9*

For statutory initiatives, 2% of residential population according to the last federal decennial census. For constitutional amendment initiatives, 4% of resident population.

Ohio

OH Const. Art. II, § 1b and 1g; O.R.C. § 3519.22

For constitutional amendments, 10% of votes cast for governor in last election. For indirect statutory initiatives, 3% of votes cast for governor in last election to submit to the legislator. Another 3% is required to qualify for the ballot if not enacted by the legislature after four months.

Oklahoma

OK Const. Art. V, § 2

For statutory initiatives, 8 % of legal voters who cast ballots for governor in last election. For constitutional amendments, 15% of legal voters.

Oregon

OR CONST Art. IV, § 1

For statutory initiatives, 6% of total votes cast for all candidates for governor in last general election. For constitutional amendments, 8% of total votes cast for all candidates for governor in last general election.

South Dakota

Const. Art. 3, § 1 and SDCL § 2-1-5

Not more than 5% of qualified electors, based on total number of votes cast for governor at last preceding gubernatorial elections.

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-201; § 20A-7-208

For indirect initiatives submitted to the legislature, 4% of the number of active voters in the state on Jan. 1 immediately following the last regular general election. For direct initiatives, 8% of the number of active voters in the state on Jan. 1 immediately following the last regular general election. If the legislature does not enact the proposition, then proponents may collect the additional 5% signatures required to get the measure onto the ballot.

Washington

RCWA 29A.72.150

Eight% of votes cast for the office of governor at last regular gubernatorial election prior to submission of the signatures for verification.

Wyoming

Const. Art. 3, § 52

Fifteen% of total ballots cast in previous general election.

* See also: 2011 N.D. Op.Atty.Gen. No. L-04, 2011 WL 1130010 (July 5, 2011)

Geographic Requirements

To make it more difficult to place initiatives on the ballot and to ensure initiatives do not represent just the interests of heavily populated areas, some states have created a requirement that signatures be gathered from across the state. The criteria for these requirements vary wildly. Some have been found to be unconstitutional, largely on “one person, one vote” grounds. States with geographic requirements using entities that are unequal in population, such as counties or even state legislative districts, are more likely to have the requirement challenged in court (for example, see Montana). Geographic entities based on U.S. House districts, which are required to be highly equal in population, have been ruled to be constitutional (for example, see Nevada). Eleven states do not have a geographic requirement; 13 states do. (Montana is listed in the table below, but its statute was ruled unconstitutional.)

State Citation Geographic Requirement

Alaska

AS § 15.45.140

From three-fourths of house districts of the state with signatures from each district equaling at least 7% of the total votes from preceding general election.

Arkansas

Ark. Const. Art. V, § 1

From 15 different counties, with each county’s petition having signatures of at least half of the designated percentage of electors of the county.

Colorado

C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1

For constitutional amendments, signatures must be gathered from at least 2% of the total registered electors in each state senate district.*

Florida

F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 3

Signatures in each of one-half of the 27 congressional districts of the state.

Idaho

I.C. § 34-1805

Si % of the qualified electors at the time of the last general election in each of at least 18 legislative districts, out of 35 total districts.

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Gen. Prov., Pt. 2

No more than one-quarter of signatures may come from a single county.

Mississippi

MS Const. Art. 15, § 273

The maximum number of signatures counted from any individual congressional district is one-fifth of the total number required.

Missouri

V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50; V.A.M.S. 116.060

In each of two-thirds of the congressional districts, and each petition page must only contain signatures from a singular county.

Montana

Montana Public Interest Research Group v. Johnson, 361 F.Supp.2d 1222 (D. Mont. 2005); MT CONST Art. 3, § 4.

County distribution ruled unconstitutional.

Nebraska

Neb. Const. Art. III, § 2; Bernbeck v. Gale, 59 F.Supp.3d 949 (2014); 829 F.3d 643, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

A requirement for 5% of the registered voters in two-fifths of the counties each was held unconstitutional, but that case was vacated because of an issue of standing.

Nevada

N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada v. Loma (2006); N.R.S. 295.012; 293.069; 304.060; 304.120; Angle v. Miller, 2010, 722 F.Supp.2d 1206.

Original geographical requirement found unconstitutional. Revised statutes now require that signatures be equally collected among all the petition districts (congressional districts). This was held to be constitutional.

Ohio

OH Const. Art. II, § 1

For indirect statutory initiatives, signatures must be collected from at least 44 of 88 counties, equaling 1.5% of the votes cast for governor in each county in the previous election. For constitutional amendments, from 44 of 88 counties, signatures from 5% of the votes cast for governor in each county in the previous election.

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-201

From each of at least 26 Utah state Senate districts, legal signatures equal to 4% for indirect or 8% for direct initiatives of the number of active voters in that district on Jan. 1 immediately following the last regular general election.

Wyoming

Const. Art. 3, § 52

Fifteen% of those residing in at least two-thirds of the counties of the state, as determined by those who voted in the preceding general election in that county.

* Under court challenge.

Verification

States vary a great deal in how they verify collected signatures. States such as Alaska (AS § 15.45.150); Idaho (I.C. § 34-1813); and Maine (21-A M.R.S.A. § 902) concisely require the counting and verification of signatures, without detailed guidance.

Most state statutes include some type of sampling, such as in the cases of Arizona (A.R.S. § 19-121.01); California (Elections Code § 9030); and Colorado (C.R.S. § 1-40-116).

Withdrawal of a Signature

Nine states do not include a process in statute for an individual to withdraw his or her signature. Most states only allow an individual to withdraw a signature before the official filing of the petitions. There are exceptions, such as in Mississippi, where someone can withdraw a signature if it was signed as a result of fraud, coercion, or being intentional mislead as to the substance or effect of the petition (Miss. Code § 23-17-60). Formal processes vary greatly, such as the requirement of a formal sworn statement in Missouri (V.A.M.S. § 116.110) to the simple crossing out of one’s name in Idaho (I.C. § 34-1803B).

Submission Timelines

Indirect initiatives can require two rounds of signature gathering, so timelines and deadlines for these are more complex. In three states (Massachusetts, Ohio and Utah), proponents must gather additional signatures to place the measure on the ballot after the first round. In the others, the measure goes directly to the ballot after it is submitted to the legislature. Each state has a unique way of handling the timeline and deadline for signature gathering.

Timeline and Submission Deadlines for Collecting Signatures

State Citation Timeline

Alaska

AS § 15.45.140

Filed within one year of receiving notice that petitions are ready.

Arizona

A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1; A.R.S. § 19-121

Not more than 24 months for collection with a deadline of four months before the election, and by 5 p.m. on the final day.

Arkansas

Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1; A.C.A. § 7-9-111

Unlimited, but if number of filed signatures is deemed insufficient, sponsors have 30 days to collect more. And must be filed four months before election.

California

Cal.Elec.Code § 9014; § 9016; Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8

From official summary date by attorney general, 180 days to collect and must be filed at least 131 days prior to the next general election the measure is to be voted on.

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 1-40-106; § 1-40-107; § 1-40-108

Six months to turn in signatures once petitions have been titled and certified for circulation, and filed no later than three months and three weeks before the election and made by 3 p.m. on the day of filing.

Florida

F.S.A. § 100.371

Signatures are valid for two years, but a petition can circulate indefinitely, and filed at least 30 days before Feb. 1 of the year of the general election that the measure is to be voted upon.

Idaho

I.C. § 34-1802

Eighteen months or until April 30 of the year of the next general election, whichever is earlier, for collection, and a deadline of May 1 in the year of the election that the initiative will appear on, or 18 months from the date the petitioner receives the official ballot title from the secretary of state, whichever is earlier. Must also file with the secretary of state not less than four months before the election at which initiatives are to be voted on.

Illinois

ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3

Eighteen months, but cannot start collecting more than two years before the election, and a deadline of six months before the general election.

Maine

M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18, 20

One year for collection and must address written petition to the legislature. Signatures must be filed with the secretary of state by the 50th day of the first regular session or by the 25th day of the second regular session. Signatures must be submitted no later than 18 months after the petition form was furnished by the secretary of state, and each signature is only valid for one year. Must also be submitted to the appropriate officials of cities, towns or plantations, or state election officials as authorized by law, 10 days before it's due with the secretary of state.

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Pt. 2, Sec. 3; Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 1; M.G.L.A. 53 § 7

First 10 signatures must be turned in by the “first Wednesday of the September before the assembling of the general court . . . and the remainder of the required signatures shall be filed not later than the first Wednesday of the following December.” After review by legislature, the second 0.5 percent of signatures are to be collected between mid-May and July and must be submitted to the local registrars two weeks before submission to the secretary of state.

Michigan

M.C.L.A. 168.471; 168.472; 168.473b

Deadline of 120 days before election for amendments; 160 days before election and not less than 10 days before legislative session for statutes; and 180 days to collect. And no signature "collected prior to a November general election at which a governor is elected shall not be filed after the date of that November general election.”

Mississippi

MS Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code § 23-17-3

Petitions are valid for one year, and deadline of 90 days before the first day of the legislative session.

Missouri

V.A.M.S. § 116.334

Eighteen months for collection, and then sponsors must submit signatures no later than six months before the election and can only start collecting the day after the previous general election.

Montana

MCA 13-27-301; 13-27-202; MT CONST Art. 3, § 4

One year, but proponents must submit to the county officials no sooner than nine months and no later than four weeks prior to the final deadline. For statute initiatives, no later than three months prior to the election the measure is to be voted upon, and must submit to the county officials no sooner than nine months and no later than four weeks prior to the final deadline.

Nebraska

Neb.Rev.St. § 32-1407

Two years for collection, and deadline of four months prior to the general election.

Nevada

N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; N.R.S. 295.056

For direct constitutional amendments, it is nine months and three weeks. For indirect statutory initiatives, it is roughly 11 months and two weeks. For direct constitutional amendments, a timeline beginning on Sept. 1 before the general election it is to be voted upon and ends on the third Tuesday of June of an even-numbered year. For indirect statutory initiatives, the timeline begins on Jan. 1 of the year preceding year in which a regular session of the legislature is held and then filed by the second Tuesday of November in an even-numbered year, or the next day.

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 5; NDCC, 16.1-01-09

One year after the petition is approved by the secretary of state for collection, and deadline of 120 days before the election it is to be voted upon.

Ohio

OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; Art. II, § 1b; O.R.C. § 3519.16

No collection timeline except when collecting the second 3 percent of signatures of votes in last election for governor, the deadline is 90 days, and deadline of 110 days before the election generally. For indirect statutory initiatives, after turning in original 3 percent of signatures, proponents must return next batch of signatures (another 3 percent) within 90 days of the legislature not enacting or amending a measure. If the petition is insufficient, the sponsors have 10 extra days to collect more signatures.

Oklahoma

34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8

Ninety days from the date marking the beginning circulation for collection, as set by the secretary of state after public posting and chance for protest, and a deadline of 90 days from the official set date from the secretary of state.

Oregon

OR CONST Art. IV, § 1; O.R.S. § 250.105

For collection, if the petitions were filed at least 165 days before the election and the signatures are deemed insufficient, they may collect more, and deadline of four months prior to the general election.

South Dakota

SDCL § 2-1-1.2

Twelve months for collection, and no signatures may be obtained prior to 24 months before the general elections that it is to be voted upon. Signatures must be filed one year prior to the election.

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-206

Collectors have 316 days after the day on which the application is filed or the Feb. 15 immediately before the next regular general election immediately after the application is filed.

Washington

RCWA 29A.72.030

For direct initiatives, six months to collect (submit proposed measure within 10 months with deadline to submit four months out from the general election). For indirect initiatives, about nine months (proposed measure submitted within 10 months of the session it is to be submitted at with a deadline of 10 days before the session).

Wyoming

W.S.1977 § 22-24-315

Eighteen months for collection.

Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice

Some states offer no assistance or advice to initiative proponents on the draft of their proposed law. And, in some states, the review is purely technical; the proposal is reviewed to ensure it meets the legal requirements for format and style and adheres to drafting conventions. However, in about half of the 24 initiative states, proponents can get drafting assistance to improve the quality and consistency of initiative proposals. In these states, sponsors may take a draft, or even just an idea, to a legislative office for assistance with the form and content of the initiative before submitting the proposal to the appropriate state official.

States also have varying processes for reviewing petitions. Fiscal statements are the most common type of review, giving estimates and analysis on the likely fiscal impact the proposed measure will have on the state. Other types of review might include recommendations on wording. And many states include some type of public review or notice of proposed measures, as well.

For indirect initiative states, this review process involves the legislature and can be quite extensive.

Fiscal Analysis and General Reviews

Eighteen states require or provide for fiscal statements:

State Citation Fiscal statement details

Alaska

AS § 15.45.090

Lieutenant governor provides a statement of costs.

Arizona

A.R.S. § 19-123

Prepared by joint legislative budget committee staff.

California

Cal.Elec.Code § 9005; Cal.Gov.Code § 12172

Prepared by attorney general, department of finance and the legislative analyst office.

Colorado

CRS § 1-40-105.5

Prepared by legislative council.

Florida

F.S.A. § 100.371

Prepared by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference.

Maine

1 M.R.S.A. § 353

Prepared by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review.

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. 54 § 53

A statement of 100 words or less by secretary of administration and finance regarding fiscal consequences of the measure.

Mississippi

MS Const. Art. 15, § 273

Prepared by chief legislative budget officer.

Missouri

V.A.M.S. 116.17

Prepared by state auditor, and proponents may submit proposed review.

Montana

MCA § 13-27-312

If fiscal in nature, the attorney general orders the budget director to prepare.

Nevada

N.R.S. 295.015; 293.250

Prepared by the secretary of state, upon consultation with the Fiscal Analysis Division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 2; NDCC, 16.1-01-17

The legislative council determines the estimated fiscal impact at least 90 days before the measure is to be voted on.

Ohio

O.R.C. § 3519.04

Prepared by the office of budget and management and the tax commissioner if involves taxes or expenditures.

Oregon

O.R.S. § 250.125

The financial estimate committee will estimate costs and consult with the legislative revenue officer.

South Dakota

SDLC § 2-9-30; § 2-9-31; § 2-9-34

Director of the Legislative Research Council prepares a fiscal note as requested.

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202.5

Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst conducts an estimate and description of funding sources.

Washington

RCWA 29A.72.025

Prepared by the office of financial management, in consultation with the secretary of state, the attorney general, and any other appropriate state or local agency.

Wyoming

W.S.1977 § 22-24-309

Yes.

Six states do not require fiscal statements: Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Every state requires or offers some type of review in addition to fiscal statements. Details:

  • Alaska: Lieutenant governor reviews within 60 days of receiving (AS § 15.45.150).
  • Arizona: Proponents may submit proposed bill to the director of the legislative council for review. After chance for comment by all legislators, the legislative council prepares an impartial analysis with description, background information and likely effects (A.R.S. § 19-111; § 19-124).
  • Arkansas: Exact petition copy filed with secretary of state (A.C.A. § 7-9-104; § A.C.A. § 7-9-107).
  • California: Proponents may request review by secretary of state and from the Office of Legislative Council. Legislature may hold public hearings and must hold a committee hearing once 25 percent of signatures are collected (Cal.Gov.Code § 12172; 10243; 12172; Cal.Elec.Code § 9007; 9034).
  • Colorado: Upon request, any agency in the executive department shall assist in reviewing and preparing comments on the petition. Nonpartisan staff of general assembly prepare summary, analysis and fiscal review (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1; C.R.S.A. § 1-40-105).
  • Florida: Attorney general can request advisory opinion on the constitutionality of a measure from the state supreme court. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference members of one person from the governor’s office, the coordinator of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, one professional senate staffer and one professional house staffer (F.S.A. § 100.371; § 16.061).
  • Idaho: Within 20 days after initial petition filing, attorney general reviews and recommends revisions in an advisory capacity.
  • Illinois: For accuracy and fairness, the attorney general may rewrite arguments for or against prepared by legislature. General assembly members opposing the amendment may prepare or designate others to prepare a brief argument against such amendment, submitted to attorney general (5 ILCS 20/2).
  • Maine: Secretary of state, along with revisor of statutes, may reject petition application if it does not conform to drafting conventions for statutes. Attorney general aids summary. A petition for direct initiative that is approved by the secretary of state and submitted to the legislature must be afforded a public hearing conducted by the joint standing committee that has jurisdiction over the subject matter. The requirement may be waived by a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature. (21-A M.R.S.A. § 901 and 1 M.R.S.A. § 353, 354).
  • Massachusetts: Proponents may alter the measure in small ways after legislature reviews it. Pamphlet contains one-sentence statements describing the effect of a yes or no vote prepared jointly by the attorney general and the state secretary. Legislature reviews the measure as submitted to it by the proponents. The measure can be amended by a three-fourths vote in a joint session. An amendment requires at least one-fourth of members’ support to get onto the ballot. The legislature may submit a competing measure to the ballot (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3; Const. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 2; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 3; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 4, Pt. 3, § 1; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 5; M.G.L.A. 54 § 53).
  • Michigan: The director of elections, with the approval of the board of canvassers, prepares a statement of designation for the ballot. For indirect statute petitions, the legislature has 40 session days to pass or reject the unchanged or unamended measure. They may also submit their own alternative ballot measure to the people if it is different but under the same subject area. If passed by legislature, it is subject to the referendum (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; M.C.L.A. 168.32).
  • Mississippi: Attorney general may confer with proponents and may recommend revisions. Since the process is an indirect initiative, the legislature has four months to adopt the unchanged constitutional initiative by a majority in each house before the secretary of state submits it to the people. Otherwise, they may submit an alternative measure. Either way, the measure is put before the people (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-5).
  • Missouri: The secretary of State will furnish ballot statements explaining the effects of a no or yes vote for the measure, which will include whether it will increase, decrease or maintain taxes. After certification for the ballot, the joint committee on legislative research holds a public hearing in Jefferson City to take public comments regarding the measure (V.A.M.S. 116.153; 116.025).
  • Montana: Reviews done by attorney general and legislative services division. There must also be a five-person committee of those who favor rejection, comprised of individuals appointed by the governor, attorney general, president of the senate and speaker of the house—the fifth member is appointed by the four previous members. And attorney general reviews legality (MCA 13-27-202; 13-27-312; 13-27-402).
  • Nebraska: The revisor of statutes reviews and recommends revisions with respect to form and draftsmanship. These may be accepted or rejected. The secretary of state writes arguments for and against the measure with information provided by proponents and opponents (Neb.Rev.St. § 32-1405.01; § 32-1405).
  • Nevada: The secretary of state will appoint two, three-person committees, one for and one against the measure. The committees select a chair and may prepare arguments and rebuttals, which will be reviewed by the secretary of state for the ballot. The secretary of state consults with the legislative counsel for any technical suggestions, which will be posted to the secretary's website. The legislature has 40 days to pass the unchanged initiative. If the legislature rejects the measure, the legislature may propose an alternative measure (with the approval of the governor), and it will appear on the ballot along with the original initiative. A legislature committee also reviews the measure by a deadline (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; N.R.S. 218D.810; 293.267; 295.015; 293.252).
  • North Dakota: The secretary of state reviews and if the office deems it insufficient, the committee of petitioners has 20 days to correct it. An estimated fiscal impact statement must be printed with any constitutional amendment or initiated or referred measure on the ballot. (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 6; NDCC 16.1-06-09; and NDCC 16.1-01-17).
  • Ohio: Reviewed by attorney general and Ohio ballot board, which also writes pro or con statements if not supplied. Legislature reviews the indirect statutory initiatives. The legislature has four months to pass the bill in amended or unchanged form. If amended, expired or rejected, it goes onto the ballot. Additional signatures are needed then. If legislature amends, it does not go into effect until the original is rejected by the voters. The president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives have authority to designate groups of members to prepare arguments for and against amendments to the Ohio Constitution proposed by the General Assembly, a person or persons to prepare an argument for any law, section, or item submitted to the electors by referendum petition, and a person or persons to prepare an argument against any constitutional amendment proposed by initiative petition. (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b; Art. II, § 1g; O.R.C. § 3519.03; 3519.01; 3519.062; 3505.063).
  • Oklahoma: Secretary of state reviews and processes the petition, along with the attorney general and the supreme court. The public may protest as to the constitutionality of the measure. The attorney general reviews the ballot title after signed petitions are turned in (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
  • Oregon: The Citizens' Initiative Review Commission reviews measures and may create a citizen panel to review specific items. The attorney general submits a draft ballot title and the public may submit written comments in regard to it, which the attorney general may use to revise the title (O.R.S. § 250.137; § 250.139; § 250.125; § 250.067; § 250.127).
  • South Dakota: The Legislative Research Council provides written comments to the attorney general (SDCL § 12-13-25; § 12-13-25.1).
  • Utah: For indirect initiatives, the legislature may make technical changes only, and prepare a legislative review note and a legislative fiscal note on the law proposed by the initiative petition. Then, the legislature rejects or accepts the proposition unchanged. After the hearings, the proponents and Governor's Office of Management and Budget may revise (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-204.1; § 20A-7-208; § 20A-7-702).
  • Washington: Code reviser or assistant code reviser reviews the proposal of the initial petition and recommends revisions or alterations in an advisory capacity only. Attorney general prepares explanatory statements. Arguments for and against are prepared by committees with members appointed first by the secretary of state, the senate's presiding office, and the house's presiding officer. Code reviser issues certificate of review (RCWA 29A.72.020; 29A.32.040; 29A.32.060).
  • Wyoming: Upon request, the legislative service office or any agency in the executive department shall render assistance in reviewing and preparing comments on the proposed bill. The attorney general may determine an act of the legislature is the same as a proposed law and will remove it from appearing on the ballot (W.S.1977 § 22-24-304; § 22-24-319).

Public Review and Notices

Every initiative state requires some form of public notice.

Thirteen states require a voter pamphlet or booklet, usually mailed to every voter or household: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Washington.

Thirteen states require publication in a newspaper: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah.

These requirements vary widely, most often including newspaper publication, other public displays such as posting on the internet, or public comment periods.

Public notice requirements are found in the following statutes. Only one state does not require this type of action:

  • Alaska: AS § 15.45.195; § 15.45.200
  • Arizona: A.R.S. § 19-123 and A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1
  • Arkansas: Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1
  • California: Cal.Elec.Code § 9002
  • Colorado: C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1; C.R.S.A. §1-40-102, § 1-40-105, § 1-40-106
  • Florida: F.S.A. § 100.371, § 101.161; F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 5
  • Idaho: I.C. § 34-1812a, § 34-1812b, I.C. § 34-1812c
  • Illinois: 5 ILCS 20/2
  • Maine: 21-A M.R.S.A. 905 and 1 M.R.S.A. § 354
  • Massachusetts: M.G.L.A. 54 § 53
  • Michigan: M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 12, § 2; M.C.L.A. 168.22e; 168.476; 168.477; 168.480
  • Mississippi: Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-45
  • Missouri: V.A.M.S. 116.334; 116.260
  • Montana: MCA 13-27-401; 13-27-402; 13-27-410; 13-27-311
  • Nebraska: Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405.01; § 32-1405.02; § 32-1413
  • Nevada: N.R.S. 295.015
  • North Dakota: NDCC, § 16.1-01-07
  • Ohio: OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; Art. XVI, § 1; O.R.C. § 3519.07
  • Oklahoma: 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8; § 17
  • Oregon: O.R.S. § 250.125; § 250.067; § 250.127
  • South Dakota: SDCL § 12-13-23
  • Utah: U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-702; § 20A-7-204.1; § 20A-7-701-706
  • Washington: RCWA 29A.32.010; 29A.32.031; 29A.32.040; 29A.32.070; 29A.32.080
  • Wyoming: None

Ballot Access and Preparation

Before a measure is placed on a ballot, states decide which election it will appear on, how the ballot title and summary are created and any time restrictions involved. In some states, the legislature or governor may order a special election for a measure.

Which Election and Time Restrictions (If Any)

State Citation Election

Alaska

AS § 15.45.190

The first statewide general, special, special runoff, or primary election after the petition has been filed, a legislative session has convened and adjourned, and a period of 120 days has expired since the adjournment of the legislative session.

Arizona

A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1 and A.R.S. § 19-121

Next general election after filing.

Arkansas

Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1

Only regular state, congressional and municipal elections, and filed at least four months before election.

California

Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8; Cal.Elec.Code § 9016

Next general election held at least 131 days after signatures are certified. Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.

Colorado

C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1; C.R.S.A. § 1-40-108

Biennial regular general election, with submission deadline three months and three weeks prior to election.

Florida

F.S.A. § 100.371

General election, and signatures must be verified no later than Feb. 1 of the year of the general election.

Idaho

I. C. § 34-1801a; § 34-1802

General election, and must file by the May before the election the measure is to be voted on.

Illinois

ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3

General election, and filed at least six months before the election with the secretary of state.

Maine

21-A M.R.S.A. § 905-A; M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18, 20

Next statewide or special election after the legislative session concludes sine die, and signatures submitted to appropriate state officials at least 10 days before submitted to secretary of state, which is the 50th day of the first regular session or the 25th day of the second regular session.

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. Const. Art. 48, Pt. 2, § 3; Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 1; Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 4; Art. 48, Pt. 5, § 5; M.G.L.A. 53 § 7

Next state election, and depending on type, must be submitted by September, then December, and then possibly July (see deadlines and timelines topic).

Michigan

M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; M.C.L.A. 168.471; 168.472

For statutes: If not passed by the legislature within 40 days, it is placed on the next general election's ballot. Same if an alternate measure is proposed. A statewide special election may be called for amendments. Restrictions included 120 days before election for amendments, and 160 days before an election and not less than 10 days before legislative session for statutes.

Mississippi

MS Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code § 23-17-3

Statewide general election, and 90 days before the first day of the legislative session and the first five measures make it on the ballot.

Missouri

V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50; § 52

At general elections except when a special election is ordered by the legislature, and must be filed at least six months before the election it is to be voted on.

Montana

MT CONST Art. 3, § 6

General election unless the legislature orders a special election.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1407; § 32-401

Next general election at least four months after filing the signatures.

Nevada

N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; Art. 19, § 3; N.R.S. 295.056

General election, while petitions cannot be filed more than 65 days before the deadline. For amendments, must be submitted for verification by the third Tuesday in June of the general election year. For statutory initiatives, must be submitted to be verified before appearing before the legislature on the second Tuesday in November in even-numbered years, or the next day.

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 5

A referred measure may be voted upon at a statewide election or at a special election called by the governor.

Ohio

OH Const. Art. II, § 1b

The next regular or general election occurring subsequent to the 125 days after filing signatures.

Oklahoma

OK Const. Art. V, § 3; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 12; § 25

The next statewide election unless the legislature or governor convenes a special election for it or the governor designates a vote at the primary election.

Oregon

OR CONST Art. IV, § 1

Regular election unless otherwise ordered by Legislative Assembly, and restrictions of four months prior to the general election.

South Dakota

SDCL § 2-1-17; § 2-1-1.2

General election, and signatures must be filed one year prior to the election.

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-1-201; § 20A-1-203; § 20A-6-106; § 20A-7-206

General election, but governor and legislature may call special elections, and certified ballot title is due at least 65 days before the election. For direct initiatives, signatures must be submitted by Feb. 15 immediately before the next general election.

Washington

RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1

On the next general election or a special election if ordered by the legislature.

Wyoming

W.S.1977 § 22-24-319

The next general election after signature petitions filed, a legislative session has convened and adjourned, and 120 days after the legislative session adjournment.

Ballot Title and Summary

State Citation Who Titles and Summarizes for Ballot

Alaska

AS § 15.45.180

Lieutenant governor with assistance from attorney general

Arizona

A.R.S. § 19-125

Secretary of state, approved by attorney general

Arkansas

Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1; A.C.A. § 7-9-114

Board of Election commissioners and then certified to the secretary of state. Attorney general prepares abstract to be posted at polling places.

California

Cal.Elec.Code § 9004

Attorney general

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 1-40-106

Title board

Florida

F.S.A. § 101.161

Sponsor, approved by secretary of state, reviewed by attorney general

Idaho

I.C. § 34-1809

Attorney general

Illinois

10 ILCS 5/28-5; 10 ILCS 5/16-6; 5 ILCS 20/2

Proponents, but certified by state board of elections and reviewed by attorney general.

Maine

21-A M.R.S.A. § 901, 906; 1 M.R.S.A. § 353

Secretary of state and attorney general

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. 54 § 42A, § 53; M.G.L.A. Const. Art. 48, Pt. 6, Gen. Prov., § 3

Secretary of state and attorney general jointly make a more descriptive ballot question summary to be sent to voters. Proponents write title.

Michigan

M.C.L.A. 168.474a; 168.486; 168.477; 168.3

Board of state canvassers

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-9

Attorney general

Missouri

V.A.M.S. 116.160; 116.180; 115.245; 116.210; 116.220

Secretary of state, approved by attorney general

Montana

MCA § 13-27-312

Proponent and approved by the attorney general, is the title for both the petition and ballot. If attorney general does not approve the statement, he or she prepares one.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1410

Attorney general

Nevada

N.R.S. 293.250

Secretary of state, in consultation with attorney general

North Dakota

 

 

Ohio

OH Const. Art. XVI, § 1; Art. II, § 1g; O.R.C. § 3519.21

Ohio ballot board; proponents may suggest title.

Oklahoma

34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8; § 9

Proponents submit descriptive ballot title reviewed by attorney general.

Oregon

O.R.S. § 250.065

Attorney general

South Dakota

SDCL § 12-13-25.1

Attorney general after receiving written comments from Legislative Research Council

Utah

U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-207; § 20A-7-209; § 20A-6-107

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel numbers propositions and proposes a descriptive title summarizing the contents of the measure. Evaluations done by lieutenant governor and Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.

Washington

RCWA 29A.72.050

Attorney general

Wyoming

W.S.1977 § 22-24-317

Secretary of the state and attorney general

The Election and Effect

The requirements for an election with statewide ballot measures vary greatly by state. States have statutes covering conflicting or competing measures, the percent of the vote needed to pass a measure, and repeal or change restrictions.

Conflicting or Competing Measures

Seventeen states have a statute in place noting that if two or more conflicting measures are on the same ballot, the measure receiving the most votes passes. Additional stipulations:

  • Arizona (A.R.S. § 19-126)
  • Arkansas (Arkansas Const. Art. 5  § 1; § 7-9-122)
  • California (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10)
  • Colorado (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-123)
  • Idaho (I.C. § 34-1811, § 34-1813)
  • Maine (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18)
  • Massachusetts (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4)
  • Michigan (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; Const. Art. 12, § 2)
  • Mississippi (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-29)
  • Missouri (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 51; V.A.M.S. 116.320)
  • Nebraska (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1416)
  • Nevada (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2)
  • North Dakota (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 8)
  • Ohio (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b)
  • Oklahoma (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 21)
  • Utah (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-211)
  • Washington (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1)

In Idaho and Nebraska, the law states that the entire measure might not be superseded and that only conflicting parts of the measure may supersede one another. 

In Maine, Oklahoma and Utah, the law includes additional requirements to those governing conflicting measures:

  • Maine: If neither receives a majority, the one receiving the most votes, if it receives more than one-third of the votes given for or against both, will appear at the next statewide election to be held not less than 60 days after the vote (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18).
  • Oklahoma: If neither receives a majority, the one receiving more votes will be resubmitted to the next general election by itself if it received at least one-third of the total votes cast for or against the two measures. If both are approved, the one receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes prevails (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 21).
  • Utah: The governor must decide that two measures are in conflict (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-211).

In Alaska, if the lieutenant governor and the attorney general determine an act of the legislature is the same as the proposed measure, then the citizen initiative is voided (AS § 15.45.210).

Six states do not have a law governing conflicting measures: Florida, Illinois, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Majority to Pass?

Fourteen states require a simple majority to pass statewide ballot measures: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.  

Special rules apply to 10 states:

Colorado and Nevada require a simple majority for statutory measures only.

Colorado and Florida require a supermajority to pass a constitutional amendment: 55 percent of voters in Colorado (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1), and 60 percent of voters in Florida (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 5).

In Nevada, a constitutional amendment needs only a majority but must be approved in two consecutive elections (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2).

Illinois requires either 60 percent of those voting on the amendment itself or a majority of those voting in the election as a whole (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3).

Oregon requires the election as a whole to have had at least 50 percent voter turnout, but only requires a majority to pass (OR Rev. Stat. § 250.036; OR CONST Art. XVII, § 1; Art. IV, § 1).

Two states require supermajorities for laws that seek to alter specific topics.

  • Utah requires 60 percent approval for laws that alter hunting and fishing (See Utah Const. Art. 6, Sec. 1, Part 2).
  • Washington requires 60 percent approval for laws authorizing gambling or lotteries (Washington Const. Art. 2, Sec. 24).

Three states require measures to pass with a majority of voters, but the measures must also have been voted upon by a certain percentage of the total number of voters who voted in that election. This ensures that measures will not be passed by a small minority of voters, either because of a low turnout or ballot-drop off (where voters only vote partway through a ballot).

  • Thirty percent in Massachusetts (Massachusetts Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 5)
  • Forty percent in Mississippi (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273 and Miss. Code § 23-17-37)
  • Thirty-five percent in Nebraska (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 4)

Repeal or Change Restrictions

States have rules in place to govern what legislatures or governors can do to citizen initiatives once they pass. In every state, a constitutional amendment requires a vote of approval. Therefore, rules restricting the ability to change or repeal measures apply to statutory measures, which are available in 21 states.

Ten states allow the legislature to alter or change measures without any time limits or supermajority requirements:

  • Colorado (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
  • Idaho (I.C. § 34-18)
  • Maine (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3)
  • Massachusetts (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48)
  • Missouri (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 52)
  • Montana (MT CONST Art. 4, § 8)
  • Ohio (OH Const. Art. II, § 1g)
  • Oklahoma (OK Const. Art. 5, § 7)
  • South Dakota (Const. Art. 3, § 1; Art. 13, § 1)
  • Utah (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-212)

Seven states have supermajority requirements for changing a measure (the other states require only a regular majority, although some enforce a time period).

State Citation Supermajority Requirement

Arizona

A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1, Part 6

May amend the initiative with three-fourths vote, but may only amend to “further the purpose” of the measure.

Arkansas

Arkansas Const. Art. 5 § 1

Two-thirds vote to amend or repeal.

Michigan

MI Const. Art. 2, § 9

May be amended or repealed only by three-fourths of each house or by a vote of the electors.

Nebraska

Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2

Two-thirds vote to amend or repeal.

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 8

Two-thirds vote (or majority after seven years).

Oregon

OR CONST Art.II, § 23; Art. IV, § 1

Supermajority vote only to change vote requirement.

Washington

RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1

Two-thirds vote (or majority after two years).

Five states have time limits on the repeal or alteration of measures.

State

Citation

Alteration time limit

Alaska

AK Const. Art. 11, § 6

Two years

Nevada

N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2

Three years

North Dakota

NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 8

Seven years (or two-thirds vote prior to seven years)

Washington

RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1

Two years (or two-thirds vote prior to two years)

Wyoming

Const. Art. 3, § 52

Two years

In California (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10), the legislature cannot change or alter measures on its own and must resubmit changes to the people unless the original measure passed by voters waived this requirement.

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State Status State flag

Select a topic from the column at left in the above graphic for more information. Select a state in the map above to see state-specific information.

ALASKA State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1959
    • Types allowed: Indirect initiative for statutes only and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (AS § 15.45.040)
    • Other subject restrictions: Cannot: dedicate revenue, repeal appropriations, create courts, define court rules or jurisdictions, or enact local or special legislation (AS § 15.45.010)
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Signatures of 100 qualified voters filed with lieutenant governor and deposit of $100 which is refunded when petition is properly filed (AS § 15.45.020; 15.45.030).
    • Where to file with: Lieutenant governor’s office (AS § 15.45.020)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Petition designates committee of three sponsors (AS § 15.45.030)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include, but not limited to, group name, reports, contributions, dollar amounts and deadlines (AS § 15.13.040; § 15.13.050; § 15.13.065; § 15.13.110)
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Lieutenant governor (AS § 15.45.090)
    • What is on each petition: Sequentially numbered, copy of the proposed bill, impartial summary, statement of costs, space for signatures, date, address, and other specifications prescribed by the lieutenant governor (AS § 15.45.090)
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Lieutenant governor (AS § 15.45.090)
    • Fiscal review: Lieutenant governor provides statement of costs (AS § 15.45.090)
    • General review of petition: Lieutenant governor reviews within 60 days of receiving (AS § 15.45.150)
    • Legislature or other government official review: No additional statute found other than the indirect initiative design, requiring initiative to be turned into the legislature before appearing on the ballot
    • Public review or notice: Thirty days or more before election, lieutenant governor holds public hearings with proponent and opponents (AS § 15.45.195). Election board reviews copies of proposed law and will display one copy in public place (AS § 15.45.200).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: U.S. citizen, age 18 or older and legal Alaskan resident (AS § 15.45.105)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes, before signature sheets are filed (AS § 15.45.130)
    • Paid per signature: Allowed, but not greater than $1 per signature (AS § 15.45.110)
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (AS § 15.45.110)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Ten % of total votes cast in previous general election with geographic requirement (AS § 15.45.140)
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified voters (AS § 15.45.140)
    • Geographic distribution: Yes, from three-fourths of house districts of the state with signatures from each district equaling at least 7 % of the total votes from preceding general election (AS § 15.45.140)
    • Collected in-person: Yes (AS § 15.45.110)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Written notice to lieutenant governor before petition is filed (AS § 15.45.120)
    • Verification: Lieutenant governor counts and checks for validity (15.45.150)
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Filed within one year of receiving notice that petitions are ready (AS § 15.45.140)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Same as above
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: The first statewide general, special, special runoff, or primary election after the petition has been filed, a legislative session has convened and adjourned, and a period of 120 days has expired since the adjournment of the legislative session (AS § 15.45.190)
    • Ballot title and summary: Lieutenant governor with assistance from attorney general (AS § 15.45.180)
    • Time-period restrictions before placed on the ballot: First election 120 days after adjournment of the legislative session (AS § 15.45.190)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Lieutenant governor and attorney general may determine that an act passed by the legislature is substantially the same as the proposed law by initiative, and was passed after the initiative was filed but before the election, the initiative is void and does not appear on the ballot (AS § 15.45.210).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (AS § 15.45.220)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Ninety days after certification (AS § 15.45.220)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Cannot within two years of effective date, not subject to veto, can be amended by majority vote (AK Const. Art. 11, § 6)

ARIZONA State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1912
    • Types allowed: Direct initiative for statutes and amendments and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Constitutional amendments only, not statutes (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1 and CV–16–0314-SA)
    • Other subject restrictions: If includes expenditures, must also include sufficient increased revenue sources that cannot come from general fund (A.R.S. Const. Art. 9 § 23)
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: File application with secretary of state, including organization name and officers and other information, summary and text of proposed law, and must also file a statement of its organization (A.R.S. § 19-111)
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state’s office (A.R.S. § 19-111)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Must follow financial guidelines, including non-candidate committee to act as sponsor, designating chair and treasurer, sworn statements, spending reports, bank account established, quarterly and pre-election reports (A.R.S. § 16-906; § 16-926; § 19-111; § 19-124)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to spending reports, establishing a bank account, and quarterly and pre-election campaign finance reports (A.R.S. § 16-906, § 16-926)
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Proponents, description to be 100 words (A.R.S. § 19-102; § 19-111)
    • What is on each petition: Must follow prescribed form and summary and that it was prepared by proponents, title, that circulator is paid or not, and warning about legality of signing unofficial sheet (A.R.S. § 19-102)
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state (A.R.S. § 19-102)
    • Fiscal review: Prepared by joint legislative budget committee staff (A.R.S. § 19-123)
    • General review of petition: Proponents may submit proposed bill to director of the legislative council for review (A.R.S. § 19-111)
    • Legislature or other government official review: After chance for comment by all legislators, the legislative council prepares an impartial analysis with description, background information and likely effects (A.R.S. § 19-124).
    • Public review or notice: A public pamphlet includes the analysis prepared by the legislative council, arguments for and against and the fiscal statement. Public meetings are also held and posting of amendments (A.R.S. § 19-123 and A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Non-Arizona residents and paid-resident circulators must register. No county recorder or justice of the peace may circulate, and no circulator banned pursuant to § 19-119.01 ((A.R.S. § 19-118; § 19-121).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes, and notarized (A.R.S. § 19-121)
    • Paid per signature: Allowed, but must register and state it on petition form. Cannot be paid on per-signature basis (A.R.S. § 19-102; § 19-118). 
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: May not use "any fraudulent means, method, trick, device or artifice to obtain signatures on a petition" (A.R.S. § 19-119).
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Ten % of votes cast for all candidates for governor in previous election for statutes. Fifteen % for amendments (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1).
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified electors (A.R.S. § 19-112)
    • Geographic distribution: None, but petition sheets are organized by county (A.R.S. § 19-112; § 19-121.01).
    • Collected in-person: Yes (A.R.S. § 19-121.01)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Written statement at secretary of state’s office, mail a notarized statement to the office, or strike name through on petition (A.R.S. § 19-113).
    • Verification: Counts total number and then takes 5 % random sample to verify signature accuracy (A.R.S. § 19-121.01; § 19-121.04).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Not more than 24 months (A.R.S. § 19-121)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Four months before election (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1), and by 5 p.m. on final day (A.R.S. § 19-121)
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Next general election after filing (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1 and A.R.S. § 19-121)
    • Ballot title and summary: Secretary of state, approved by attorney general (A.R.S. § 19-125)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: No statute
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The measure that receives the greatest number of affirmative votes (A.R.S. § 19-126)
    • Majority to pass: Yes (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Upon proclamation of the governor (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Cannot veto, and legislature may not repeal. Legislature may amend with three-fourths vote but only to “further the purpose” of the measure (A.R.S. Const. Art. 21 § 1).

ARKANSAS State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1909
    • Types allowed: Direct initiative for statutes and amendments and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: No statute
    • Other subject restrictions: No statutes
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: File an exact printed copy of petition as it will be used for signature gathering (A.C.A. § 7-9-104).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state’s office and attorney general (AR Const. Art. 5, § 1; A.C.A. § 7-9-104)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Must follow financial statutes and file with Ethics Commission (A.C.A. § 7-9-404; 406; 407; 408; 409). 
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to regular reports filed with Ethics Commission, deadlines for filing, dollar amounts to report, dollar limits on contribution amounts, and no donations from PACs or anonymous contributors (A.C.A. § 7-9-404; 405; 406; 407; 408; 409).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Proponent with attorney general approval (A.C.A. § 7-9-107)
    • What is on each petition: Must follow form guidelines and include signature of attorney general, affidavit of canvassers, instructions and signatures for only one county (A.C.A. § 7-9-108).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Proponents (A.C.A. § 7-9-104; § 7-9-108)
    • Fiscal review: No statute
    • General review of petition: Exact petition copy filed with secretary of state and approval of title by attorney general (A.C.A. § 7-9-104; § A.C.A. § 7-9-107)
    • Legislature or other government official review: No statute
    • Public review or notice: Notice to be posted in statewide newspaper five months before election at expense of petitioners (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must be age 18 or older, registered with secretary of state and signed affidavit (A.R.S. § 7-9-108).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Paid per signature: May be paid (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1). If paid, must provide required information to secretary of state prior to collecting signatures (A.C.A. § 7-9-601; A.C.A. § 7-9-103).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (A.C.A. § 7-9-103)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Eight % of the total number of legal voters for statutes. Ten % for amendments (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1). 
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered voters (A.C.A. § 7-9-103)
    • Geographic distribution: From 15 different counties, with each county’s petition having signatures of at least half of the designated %age of electors of the county (Ark. Const. Art. V, § 1)
    • Collected in-person: Yes (A.C.A. § 7-9-105)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: Secretary of state verifies with help of county clerks. If 20 % or more of signatures on any part are invalid, then the burden to prove the rest are valid falls on the sponsors (Ark. Const. Art. 5 ,§ 1; A.C.A. § 7-9-111).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Unlimited, but if number of filed signatures is deemed insufficient, sponsors have 30 days to collect more (A.C.A. § 7-9-111).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Filed four months before election, and have been published in newspaper at least 30 days prior (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Only regular state, congressional and municipal elections (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Ballot title and summary: Submitted to Board of Election Commissioners and then certified to the secretary of state (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1). Attorney general prepares abstract to be posted at polling places (A.C.A. § 7-9-114).
    • Time-period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Filed at least four months before election (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The measure receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes becomes law (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Thirty days after the election unless otherwise specified in the act (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No veto by governor, and two-thirds vote by legislature may amend or repeal (Ark. Const. Art. 5, § 1)

CALIFORNIA State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1911
    • Types allowed: Direct initiative for statutes and amendments and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8)
    • Other subject restrictions: Measure provisions cannot be dependent upon meeting certain vote %age. And no measure that names an individual to hold office or names private corporation to perform any function (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8, § 12).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Submit draft and affidavit to attorney general with fee of $2,000, refunded when measure qualifies for the ballot within two years. Public reviews for 30 days and provides comments to the proponent. Attorney general then submits petition to the secretary of state which begins the deadline clock (Cal.Elec.Code § 336, 9001, 9002, 9004).
    • Where to file: Attorney general, then petition goes to secretary of state (Cal.Elec.Code § 9001, 9004; Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Statement of organization and filing fee with secretary of state and local filing officer, arguments for measure (Cal.Gov.Code § 84101, 84101.5; Cal.Elec.Code § 9065, 9067)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to reporting for contributions over $1,000, restrictions on what organizations can support, disclosure statements, semi-annual and pre-election statements, quarterly ballot measure statements, expedited and triggered statements and more (Cal.Gov.Code § 82013, 84200, 84202.3, 85309, 84511, 84101, Cal.Elec.Code § 18680; Form 460).
    • Withdrawal of petition: Proponents may do so any time before measure qualifies for the ballot, 131 days before the general statewide election (Cal.Elec.Code § 9033, 9604).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Attorney general (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10; Cal.Elec.Code § 9004)
    • What is on each petition: Must contain attorney general’s unique numeric identifier, title, summary and the proposed measure’s full text, and follow the form found in the code (Cal.Elec.Code § 9008, 9009, 9012).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Proponents with advising by attorney general (Cal.Elec.Code § 9012)
    • Fiscal review: Prepared by attorney general, department of finance and the legislative analyst office (Cal.Elec.Code § 9005; Cal.Gov.Code § 12172)
    • General review of petition: Proponents may request review by secretary of state (Cal.Gov.Code § 12172).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Proponents may get help drafting from Office of Legislative Council. Legislature may hold public hearings and must hold a committee hearing once 25 % of signatures are collected (Cal.Gov.Code § 10243, 12172; Cal.Elec.Code § 9007, 9034).
    • Public review or notice: Public may comment on public and internet posting of measure by attorney general for 30 days and then proponents may amend the measure (Cal.Elec.Code § 9002).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Signed statement if paid and 18 years old (Cal.Elec.Code § 104, 9022, 9610; Code.Civ.Proc. § 2015.5)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (Cal.Elec.Code § 104, 9022, 9610)
    • Paid per signature: Yes, but signed oath if paid (Cal.Elec.Code § 101, 9610)
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (Cal.Elec.Code § 18603)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Five % of votes cast for governor in last election for stator. Eight % for amendments (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8).
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered qualified voters (Cal.Elec.Code § 105, 9020, 9021)
    • Geographic distribution: None, but may only sign petition circulated in the county of registration (Cal.Elec.Code § 9021)
    • Collected in-person: Yes (Cal.Elec.Code § 100)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Written request with county election official before petition is filed (Cal.Elec.Code § 103, 9602)
    • Verification: County officials conduct raw count, and then a random sample is taken of 500 signatures or 3 % of each county’s total for accuracy. Less than 95 % accurate fails the petition, greater than 110 % qualifies, and between requires a check of every signature (Cal.Elec.Code § 9030, 9031, 9033; Cal.Admin.Code § 20530, 20531, 20532, 2054).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Must be 180 days from official summary date by attorney general (Cal.Elec.Code § 9014).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: At least 131 days prior to the next general election the measure is to be voted on (Cal.Elec.Code § 9016; Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8)
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Next general election held at least 131 days after signatures are certified. Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8).
    • Ballot title and summary: Attorney general (Cal.Elec.Code § 9004)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: At least 131 days prior to next general election it is to be voted on (Cal.Elec.Code § 9016; Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 8)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Measure receiving more affirmative votes is enacted (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10)
    • Majority to pass: Yes (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Day after the election unless otherwise specified (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Amend or repeal must be approved by voters, unless the original measure permits amendment or repeal without voter approval (Cal.Const. Art. 2, § 10).

COLORADO State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1910
    • Types allowed: Direct citizen initiative for statutes and amendments and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Other subject restrictions: No other statutes
    • Repeat measures: No statutes
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Submit draft of proposed initiative to legislative council and office of legislative legal services for review and comment. Proponents may amend before submission to the secretary of state (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-105).
    • Where to file with: Legislative council and office of legislative legal services first, and then the secretary of state (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-105).
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Lists of circulators and notaries who notarized the petition sections must be filed with the secretary of state. Two official representatives of the proponents must attend all petition review meetings. License petition entity must register with secretary of state and obtain license (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-104, § 1-40-105, § 1-40-111, § 1-40-135).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to filing with the secretary of state, written disclaimers when publicizing, limits on contributions, detailed contribution reports, unexpended campaign contributions, and rules promulgated by secretary of state (C.R.S.A. § 1-45-103, § 1-45-108.3, § 1-45-111.5§ 1-45-117).
    • Withdrawal of petition: File a letter with secretary of state, signed by designated representatives, no later than 60 days prior to the election (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-134).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Title board, comprised of secretary of state, attorney general and director of the office of legislative legal services (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-106, § 1-40-124.5)
    • What is on each petition: The format follows statute guidelines, must be notarized, must have specific language including legal warning, ballot title and abstract from fiscal impact statement (CRS § 1-40-110, § 1-40-105.5).
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state approves the format and printer’s proof (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-113).
    • Fiscal review: Prepared by legislative council (CRS § 1-40-105.5).
    • General review of petition: Upon request, any agency in the executive department shall assist in reviewing and preparing comments on the petition (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-105).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Nonpartisan staff of general assembly prepare summary, analysis and fiscal review (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1).
    • Public review or notice: Able to attend meeting on petition application review, title board meetings, ballot information booklet prepared by legislative council (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1; C.R.S.A. §1-40-102, § 1-40-105, § 1-40-106).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must be 18 years old, complete training from secretary of state and present specific identification to notary (C.R.S. § 1-40-112).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes, and must be notarized (C.R.S. § 1-40-111)
    • Paid per signature: Allowed but must obtain license and training (CRS § 1-40-135)
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-130, § 1-40-111)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Five % of votes cast for secretary of state in last election (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered electors who will be eligible to vote on the measure (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-111)
    • Geographic distribution: Under court challenge. Currently, for constitutional amendments signatures must be gathered from at least 2 % of the total registered electors in each state senate district (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1).
    • Collected in-person: Yes (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-111)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Written request prior to submission of signed petitions (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-109)
    • Verification: Random sample of at least 5 % or at least 4,000 signatures. If less than 90 % are valid, the petition fails. If 110 % or more, the petition passes. Between 90 and 110 %, every signature is verified (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-116).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Six months to turn in signatures once petitions have been titled and certified for circulation (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-106 and 1-40-107).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: No later than three months and three weeks before the election and made by 3 p.m. on the day of filing (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-108).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Biennial regular general election (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Ballot title and summary: Title board (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-106)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Submission deadline three months and three weeks prior to election (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-108).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Measure that receives greater number of affirmative votes passes (C.R.S.A. § 1-40-123)
    • Majority to pass: Amendments require 55 % (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1)
    • Timeline for taking effect: When governor makes official declaration of vote but not later than 30 days after vote canvassing (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No veto and only a majority of voters to overturn amendments, not 55 % (C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 5, § 1).

FLORIDAState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1972
    • Types allowed: Initiative for constitutional amendments only
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 3)
    • Other subject restrictions: Amendments that propose a tax or fee not in place in November 1994 require a two-thirds vote to pass (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 3).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Must first register a political committee and submit form to Division of Elections along with text of proposed measure and form on which signatures will be affixed (F.S.A. § 100.371, § 106.03; Rule 1S-2.009).
    • Where to file with: Division of Elections (F.S.A. § 106.03)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Must file as political committee (F.S.A. § 106.03).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to contribution limits and reports (F.S.A. § 106.08, § 106.19).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Prepared by sponsor, approved by secretary of state. Attorney general writes title and summary if original is challenged in court (F.S.A. § 101.161).
    • What is on each petition: Serial number, name and address of paid circulator, and contents approved by secretary of state (F.S.A. § 106.19, § 100.371, § 120.54)
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Approved by secretary of state (F.S.A. § 100.371)
    • Fiscal review: Yes, by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference (F.S.A. § 100.371)
    • General review of petition: Attorney general can request advisory opinion on the constitutionality of a measure from the state supreme court (F.S.A. § 16.061).
    • Legislature or other government official review: The Financial Impact Estimating Conference members of one person from the governor’s office, the coordinator of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, one professional senate staffer and one professional house staffer (F.S.A. § 100.371).
    • Public review or notice: Fiscal statement summary available at polling places, secretary of state’s office, and Office of Demographic and Economic Research’s website. And published in newspaper (F.S.A. § 100.371, § 101.161; F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 5).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Name and address must be on petition if paid (F.S.A. § 106.19).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: No statute
    • Paid per signature: May be paid (F.S.A. § 106.19)
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: No prohibition found
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Eight pecent of total votes cast statewide in last presidential election (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 3)
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered voter in the county in which the petition circulates (F.S.A. § 100.371)
    • Geographic distribution: Signatures in each of one-half of the 27 congressional districts of the state (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 3)
    • Collected in-person: No direct statute (F.S.A. § 106.191)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: Each county’s supervisor of elections will take a sample or verify every signature. The supervisor is paid 10 cents by the sponsor for every signature checked if they paid circulators (F.S.A. § 99.097, § 106.191).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Signatures are valid for two years, but a petition can circulate indefinitely (F.S.A. § 100.371).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: At least 30 days before Feb. 1 of the year of the general election that the measure is to be voted upon (F.S.A. § 100.371).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: General election (F.S.A. § 100.371)
    • Ballot title and summary: Sponsor, approved by secretary of state, reviewed by attorney general (F.S.A. § 101.161)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Signatures must be verified no later than Feb. 1 of the year of the general election (F.S.A. § 100.371).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: No statute
    • Majority to pass: Sixty % majority required (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 5)
    • Timeline for taking effect: First Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election unless otherwise specified (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 5).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Normal amendment referendum required. To place amendment on ballot, legislature must pass resolution with three-fifths majority (F.S.A. Const. Art. 11 § 1 and 5).

IDAHOState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1912
    • Types allowed: Citizen initiative for statutes and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: None
    • Other subject restrictions: No restrictions (Const. Art. III, § 1)
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Proponents submit petition signed by 20 voters. Then within 15 days the attorney general provides certificate of review. Proponents then file the measure with the secretary of state (I.C. § 34-1804, § 34-1809).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (§ 34-1804)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Must obtain certificate of review from attorney general and file petition with secretary of state (I.C. § 34-1804, § 34-1809).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to being considered a political committee, appointing a treasurer, filing with the secretary of state, filing regular reports with specific donor information, and may receive unlimited funds (I.C. § 67-6602, § 67-6607). 
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Attorney general (I.C. § 34-1809)
    • What is on each petition: Form is approved by secretary of state and attorney general and following rules established by secretary of state. Only 20 signatures allowed per sheet and each sheet is from one county. Must include official language from attorney general, the measures full text, and the legislative district from which the signatures were collected (I.C. § 34-1801a, § 34-1804, § 34-1809).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Petitioners, approved by secretary of state and attorney general (I.C. § 34-1804)
    • Fiscal review: No statute
    • General review of petition: Within 20 days after initial petition filing, attorney general reviews and recommends revisions in an advisory capacity.
    • Legislature or other government official review: No additional review
    • Public review or notice: Any voter or group on or before July 20 may file an argument of 500 words or less. Secretary of state will choose one argument for and one against to print in the voter pamphlet, which is mailed to every household in the state (I.C. § 34-1812a, § 34-1812b, I.C. § 34-1812c). 
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must be age 18 or older and resident of Ohio (I.C. § 34-1807)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (I.C. § 34-1807)
    • Paid per signature: Ban overturned (Idaho Coalition United for Bears v. Cenarrusa, 2001)
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (I.C. § 34-1821)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Six % of the qualified electors at the time of the last general election (I.C. § 34-1805)
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified electors (I.C. § 34-1805)
    • Geographic distribution: Six % of the qualified electors at the time of the last general election in each of at least 18 legislative districts, out of 35 total districts (I.C. § 34-1805)
    • Collected in-person: Yes (I.C. § 34-1807, § 34-1705)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: May cross out signature on petition prior to submission to clerk or by written statement expressing wish for withdrawal after the petitions are turned in to the clerk (I.C. § 34-1803b).
    • Verification: The regular boards of judges, clerks and officers count all of them (I.C. § 34-1813).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Eighteen months or until April 30 of the year of the next general election, whichever is earlier (I.C. § 34-1802)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: May 1 in the year of the election that the initiative will appear on, or 18 months from the date the petitioner receives the official ballot title from the secretary of state, whichever is earlier. Must also file with the secretary of state not less than four months before the election at which they are to be voted on (I.C. § 34-1802).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: General election (I.C. § 34-1801a)
    • Ballot title and summary: Attorney general (I.C. § 34-1809)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Must file by the May before the election the measure is to be voted on (I.C. § 34-1802)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Measure with greatest number of affirmative votes is enacted, although the entire competing measure might not be superseded (>I.C. § 34-1811, § 34-1813).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (I.C. § 34-1803)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Within at least 30 days (I.C. § 34-1813)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No time limit or majority restrictions for legislature to overturn or alter

ILLINOISState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1970
    • Types allowed: Citizen initiative for constitutional amendments
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: No statute
    • Other subject restrictions: May only amend structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV” (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3 and see Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (1976)).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: No fee or application prior to circulating. Must register organization (5 ILCS 20, 10 ILCS 5/28-9).
    • Where to file with: None, but state board of elections certifies signatures (5 ILCS 20/2a)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Proponents and opponents register with board of elections (10 ILCS 5/28-9).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to quarterly reporting and following rules set by board of elections (10 ILCS 5/9-15).
    • Withdrawal of petition: Only before submissions (10 ILCS 5/28-3)
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Proponents, no statute (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3)
    • What is on each petition: Entire text of proposed measure, date of general election it is to be voted on and circulator’s statement (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3, 10 ILCS 5/28-2)
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Proponents, no statute (see 10 ILCS 5/16-6; 5 ILCS 20/2)
    • Fiscal review: No statute
    • General review of petition: For accuracy and fairness, the attorney general may rewrite arguments for or against prepared by legislature (5 ILCS 20/2).
    • Legislature or other government official review: General assembly members opposing the amendment may prepare or designate others to prepare a brief argument against such amendment, submitted to attorney general (5 ILCS 20/2).
    • Public review or notice: Secretary of state publicizes the measure in newspapers in every county and prepares a pamphlet that is mailed to every mailing address in the state (5 ILCS 20/2).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: U.S. citizen and age 18 or older (10 ILCS 5/28-3)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (10 ILCS 5/28-3)
    • Paid per signature: No statute
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: No statute
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Eight % of the votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3)
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered Illinois voters (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3 and 10 ILCS 5/28-9)
    • Geographic distribution: No statute
    • Collected in-person: Yes (10 ILCS 5/28-3)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: By written request before submission of the petition to state board of elections or an officer with whom filing of the petition is required (10 ILCS 5/28-3)
    • Verification: Sampling method that must include at least 10 % of signatures or more than 5,010 signatures, whichever is greater. Validity determined by the board of elections. Must be projected to be at least 95 % accurate (10 ILCS 5/28-11, 5/28-12, 5/28-13).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Eighten months. Cannot start collecting more than two years before the election (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Six months before the general election (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3)
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: General election (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3)
    • Ballot title and summary: Proponents but certified by state board of elections and reviewed by attorney general (see 10 ILCS 5/28-5; 10 ILCS 5/16-6; 5 ILCS 20/2)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Filed at least six months before the election with the secretary of state (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: No statute
    • Majority to pass: Three-fifths of those voting on the amendment itself or a majority of those voting in the election (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Within 20 days after the election (5 ILCS 20/7)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Must go through full constitutional amendment process (ILCS Const. Art. 14, § 3)

MAINEState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1908
    • Types allowed: Indirect citizen initiative for statutes and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: No statute
    • Other subject restrictions: If there are insufficient state funds and the measure does not provide a source, it is effective 45 days after next regular legislative session (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 19).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Written application including full text of proposed law and summary that explains its purpose, signed by five people and the applicant (21-A M.R.S.A. § 901)
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18 and 21-A M.R.S.A. § 901)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Any organization supervising or managing petition circulation must register with secretary of state (21-A M.R.S.A. § 903-C)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to considered same as political action committee, quarterly reports, deadlines for filing reports on specific dollar amounts of contributions, information on donors, full disclosure of campaign staffers, no limit on amount of money a contributor may give to political action committee (see 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1051, 1052, 1052-A, 1053-B, 1054, 1054-A, 1055, 1055-A, 1056, 1056-A, 1056-B, 1057, 1058, 1059, 1060, 1062-A, 1062-B and the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Secretary of state, revisor of statutes and attorney general (21-A M.R.S.A. § 901 and 1 M.R.S.A. § 353)
    • What is on each petition: Fiscal impact statement, summary by secretary of state, name of circulator and statement on right of signer to read summary and fiscal statement before signing, and instructions from secretary of state (21-A MRSA § 901, 903)
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state designs the petition and the division of elections issues the actual petition to proponents (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 20 and 21-A MRSA § 901).
    • Fiscal review: Office of Fiscal and Program Review prepares (1 M.R.S.A. § 353)
    • General review of petition: Secretary of state, along with revisor of statutes, may reject petition application if it does not conform to drafting conventions for statutes (21-A M.R.S.A. § 901 and 1 M.R.S.A. § 353, 354).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Attorney general aids summary (21-A M.R.S.A. § 901 and 1 M.R.S.A. § 353, 354).
    • Public review or notice: Thirty day comment period, with comments published along with explanatory statement and fiscal review, publicly accessible on internet and in a pamphlet. May also post in newspaper (21-A M.R.S.A. 905 and 1 M.R.S.A. § 354).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Maine resident who is a registered voter (21-A MRSA § 903-A)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 19)
    • Paid per signature: Previous ban overturned. Must register prior to signature collection and expenditures (On Our Terms '97 PAC v. Secretary of State of Maine (1999) and 21-A MRSA § 903-C).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited. (21-A M.R.S.A. § 904-B)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Ten % of the total votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18)
    • Who can sign the petition: Electors (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18)
    • Geographic distribution: No statute
    • Collected in-person: Yes (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 20)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: Certified by the registrar (21-A M.R.S.A. § 902)
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: One year (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Must address written petition to the legislature and signatures must be filed with the secretary of state by the 50th day of the first regular session or by the 25th day of the second regular session. Signatures must be submitted no later than 18 months after the petition form was furnished by the secretary of state, and each signature is only valid for one year. And, must also be submitted to the appropriate officials of cities, towns or plantations, or state election officials as authorized by law, 10 days before it's due with the secretary of state (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18, 20).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Next statewide or special election after the legislative session concludes sine die (21-A M.R.S.A. § 905-A and M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18)
    • Ballot title and summary: Secretary of state and attorney general (21-A M.R.S.A. § 901, 906; 1 M.R.S.A. § 353)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Signatures submitted to appropriate state officials at least 10 days before submitted to secretary of state, which is the 50th day of the first regular session or the 25th day of the second regular session (21-A M.R.S.A. § 905-A; M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18, 20).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Voters may choose one or reject both. If neither receives majority, the one receiving the most votes, if it receives more than one-third of the votes given for or against both, will appear at the next statewide election to be held not less than 60 days after the vote (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 18)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Thirty days after governor proclaims election results, which happens within 10 days after the vote has been canvassed and determined. But if insufficient funds for the measure, it is effective 45 days after the next convening regular legislative session. Governor may veto a measure initiative by the people and passed by the legislature, but then it is referred to the people as a popular referendum (M.R.S.A. Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, § 19).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No statute.

MASSACHUSETTSState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1918
    • Types allowed: Indirect citizen initiative for statutes and amendments and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: No statute. See other restrictions. 
    • Other subject restrictions: Must contain only subjects that are related or mutually dependent. Cannot relate to: religion, the judiciary, specific appropriations, local or special legislation, the 18th Amendment of the constitution, anything inconsistent with the Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 2; see also M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 74).
    • Repeat measures: Cannot be same as a measure at either of the two preceding biennial state elections (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3).
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Ten voters must sign and submit the petition to the attorney general by the first Wednesday of the August before the assembling of the general court into which it is to be introduced (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3).
    • Where to file with: Attorney general and secretary of the commonwealth once approved (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Names and residences of first 10 signers in application appear on the ballot with the summary (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but are not limited to being a ballot question committee is treated as a type of political committee, filing electronic campaign finance reports, where a committee can spend, and unlimited contributions to a ballot question committee (M.G.L.A. 55 § 1, § 6B, § 7A, § 18C, § 18).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Attorney general certifies submitted title and measure and summary by secretary of state, with attorney general oversight (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3; M.G.L.A. 54 § 53).
    • What is on each petition: Names of 10 original signers in the application and deadline for submission of signatures and follow guidelines of Administrative Rules 950 CMR 48.00 (M.G.L.A. 53 § 22A and M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3)
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state (M.G.L.A. 53 § 22A and M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3)
    • Fiscal review: A statement of 100 words or less by secretary of administration and finance regarding fiscal consequences of the measure (M.G.L.A. 54 § 53)
    • General review of petition: Proponents may alter the measure in small ways after legislature reviews it. Pamphlet contains one-sentence statements describing the effect of a "yes" or "no" vote prepared jointly by the attorney general and the state secretary (M.G.L.A. Const. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 2; M.G.L.A. 54 § 53).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Legislature reviews the measure as submitted to it by the proponents. The measure can be amended by a three-fourths vote in a joint session. An amendment requires at least one-fourth of members to support to get onto the ballot. The legislature may submit a competing measure to the ballot (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3; Const. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 2; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 3; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 4, Pt. 3, § 1; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 5).
    • Public review or notice: A pamphlet regarding the ballot questions is sent to voters' residential addresses and published in the Massachusetts register (M.G.L.A. 54 § 53).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: No statute
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: No statute
    • Paid per signature: No statute
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: No statute
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Three % of the votes cast for governor at the preceding biennial state election to submit to the legislature. If the legislature does not enact the statute, another round of signatures is required equaling 0.5 % of votes for governor (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 2; Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 1).
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified voters (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 2, § 3)
    • Geographic distribution: No more than one-quarter of signatures may come from a single county (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Gen. Prov., Pt. 2).
    • Collected in-person: No statute
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: Submitted to local registrars of each signer two weeks before submission to secretary of state, who establishes regulations to verify. Three or more registrars must certify the petitions and follow other rules as per administrative regulations 950 CMR 55 (M.G.L.A. 53 § 7).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline and deadlines for collecting signatures: First 10 signatures must be turned in by the “first Wednesday of the September before the assembling of the general court . . . and the remainder of the required signatures shall be filed not later than the first Wednesday of the following December.” After review by legislature, the second 0.5 % of signatures are to be collected between mid-May and July. Must be submitted to the local registrars two weeks before submission to secretary of state (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Pt. 2, Sec. 3; Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 1; M.G.L.A. 53 § 7).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Next state election (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 4, ; Const. Art. 48, Pt. 5, § 5)
    • Ballot title and summary: The secretary of state and the attorney general also jointly make a more descriptive ballot question summary to be sent to voters. Proponents write title (M.G.L.A. 54 § 42A, § 53; M.G.L.A. Const. Art. 48, Pt. 6, Gen. Prov., § 3).
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: See timeline and deadlines. Must be submitted by September, then December, and then possibly July (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Pt. 2, Sec. 3; Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 1; M.G.L.A. 53 § 7).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The measure receiving largest number of affirmative votes is enacted (M.G.L.A. Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4).
    • Majority to pass: Initiative amendments proposed by the people and their legislative substitutes must receive at least 30 % of the total number of ballots cast in the election and a majority of the voters voting on the measure (Massachusetts Constitution 48, Init., Pt. 4, § 5).
    • Timeline for taking effect: Thirty days after the election unless otherwise provided in the act. For constitutional amendments, generally take effect upon passage. For constitutional amendments, generally take effect upon passage (Opinion of the Justices (1972) 287 N.E.2d 910, 362 Mass. 907; Const. Amend. Art. 48, Init., Pt. 5, § 1).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: May repeal or alter a statute at any time. Normal constitutional amendment requirements are needed to overturn an amendment (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 48).

MICHIGAN State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1908
    • Types allowed: Indirect initiative for statutes, direct initiative for constitutional amendments and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: No statute
    • Other subject restrictions: The initiative power extends only to laws which the legislature may enact (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: No fees or application
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (M.C.L.A. 168.471 and M.C.L.A. 168.472)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: There may be a legally or generally recognized sponsor of the proposed amendment or question (M.C.L.A. 168.32).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to a ballot question committee filing campaign statements, filing the 16th day before the election to the 11th day before the election, a postelection campaign statement, fines if failure to file properly, advertising guidelines (M.C.L.A. 169.234; 169.247).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: None specified for title, and summary "prepared by the person authorized by law" (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 12, § 2). Form of petition specified (M.C.L.A. 168.482).
    • What is on each petition: Full text of proposed amendment for amendments, a prescribed warning, and follow other guidelines such as form (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 12, § 2; M.C.L.A. 168.482; 168.544c).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: No statute
    • Fiscal review: No statute
    • General review of petition: The director of elections, with the approval of the board of canvassers, prepares a statement of designation for the ballot (M.C.L.A. 168.32)
    • Legislature or other government official review: For indirect statute petitions, the legislature has 40 session days to pass or reject the unchanged or un-amended measure. They may also submit their own alternative ballot measure to the people if different but under the same subject area. If passed by legislature, it is subject to the referendum (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9).
    • Public review or notice: State board of canvassers holds a public meeting on the amendment or question, make an official announcement 60 days before the election, and publicly post the amendment, including in newspapers and websites (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 12, § 2; M.C.L.A. 168.22e; 168.476; 168.477; 168.480).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Can be out-of-state resident but must mark this on the affidavit. Must be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen (M.C.L.A. 168.482; 168.544c).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (M.C.L.A. 168.482; 168.544c)
    • Paid per signature: No statute
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: No statute
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For statute, 8 % of the total votes cast for governor in the last general election. For amendments, 10 % of the total votes cast for governor (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; Const. Art. 12, § 2).
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered electors of the state (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; Const. Art. 12, § 2)
    • Geographic distribution: No statute
    • Collected in-person: In the presence of the circulator (M.C.L.A. 168.544c)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: Board of state canvassers verifies the signatures using the qualified voter file and shall complete the process at least two months before the election (M.C.L.A. 168.476).
  8. ubmission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Have 180 days (M.C.L.A. 168.472a)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Have 120 days before election for amendments, and 160 days before election and not less than 10 days before legislative session for statutes (M.C.L.A. 168.471; 168.472). And no signature "collected prior to a November general election at which a governor is elected shall not be filed after the date of that November general election" (M.C.L.A. 168.473b).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: For statutes, if not passed by the legislature within 40 days, then it is placed on the next general election's ballot. Same if an alternate measure is proposed (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9). A statewide special election may be called for amendments (M.C.L.A. 168.487).
    • Ballot title and summary: The board of state canvassers (M.C.L.A. 168.474a; 168.486; 168.477; 168.32)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Have 120 days before election for amendments, and 160 days before an election and not less than 10 days before legislative session for statutes (M.C.L.A. 168.471; 168.472).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The measure with highest number of affirmative votes prevails (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; Const. Art. 12, § 2).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; Const. Art. 12, § 2)
    • Timeline for taking effect: For statutes, 10 days after the date of the official declaration of the vote, and for amendments, 45 days after election (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9; Const. Art. 12, § 2).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: For statutes, may be amended or repealed only by three-fourths of each house or by a vote of the electors. If statute petition is passed by the legislature, then it is subject to the referendum. No veto by governor for either measure passed by voters or legislature (M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 2, § 9).

MISSISSIPPI State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1992
    • Types allowed: Indirect initiative for constitutional amendments
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: No statute
    • Other subject restrictions: May not repeal/modify the state's Bill of Rights, amend/repeal provisions relating to the state's public employees' retirement system, amend/repeal right-to-work provision, or modify the initiative process, and special rules if includes expenditures (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273).
    • Repeat measures: Two years (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-43)
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: The proponent must file with the secretary of state a typewritten copy of the measure, accompanied by an affidavit that the sponsor is a qualified elector of this state as well as the fiscal requirements of the measure and the source of the revenue needed, and not less than 90 days before first day of legislature (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-1; § 23-17-3).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-1)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Statement of organization if operating financially (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-49)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to each political committee filing with the secretary of state a statement of organization no later than 10 days after receiving at least $200 in contributions or spending at least $200, and any political committee or individual spending at least $200 must file monthly financial reports with the secretary of state (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-47; § 23-17-49; § 23-17-51; § 23-17-53).
    • Withdrawal of petition: None
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Secretary of state provides serial number, and attorney general writes a title posed as a question and summary (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-7; § 23-17-9; § 23-17-15).
    • What is on each petition: Must contain the full, true copy of the proposed measure on it on the backside or attached to it, and follow prescribed form and language, including a warning (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-17; § 23-17-19).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice        
    • Who creates petitions: The proponents (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-17)
    • Fiscal review: The chief legislative budget officer prepares a fiscal analysis, the summary of which will appear on the ballot (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273).
    • General review of petition: Attorney general may confer with proponents and recommend revisions (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-5).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Since the process is an indirect initiative, the legislature has four months to adopt the unchanged constitutional initiative by a majority in each house before the secretary of state submits it to the people. Otherwise, they may submit an alternative measure. Either way, the measure is put before the people (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273).
    • Public review or notice: A pamphlet containing titles, summaries, arguments or explanations for and against each measure and alternative (sponsors may prepare their own arguments/explanations, otherwise the Secretary of State will). The secretary of state will also conduct at least one public hearing in each congressional district on each ballot measure (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-45).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Residency requirement struck down (Term Limits Leadership Council v. Clark [1997]; Miss. Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-17)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: None
    • Paid per signature: May be paid but not on number of petitions circulated or signatures obtained. Paying per signature was held unconstitutional (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-57; Term Limits Leadership Council v. Clark, 1997).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-57)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Twelve % of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial race for governor (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273)
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified electors (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273)
    • Geographic distribution: The maximum number of signatures counted from any individual congressional district is one-fifth of the total number required (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273).
    • Collected in-person: None
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Any person who alleges they signed as a result of fraud, coercion, or being intentional misleading as to the substance or effect of the petition, may withdraw their signature by filing an affidavit with the secretary of state any time before the secretary of state has accepted and filed the petition (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-60).
    • Verification: The circuit clerk of each county in which the petition was circulated will verify the name of every qualified voter who signed the petition (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-21).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Petitions are valid for one year (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Ninety days before the first day of the legislative session (Miss. Code § 23-17-3)
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Statewide general election (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273)
    • Ballot title and summary: Attorney general (Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-9)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Ninety days before the first day of the legislative session and the first five measures make it on the ballot (Miss. Code § 23-17-3; MS Const. Art. 15, § 273)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Measure with highest number of affirmative votes prevails (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273; Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-29)
    • Majority to pass: A majority of votes cast on the measure and not less than 40 % of total votes cast at the election. However, voters submit two preferences: (1) to approve or reject both measures and (2) deciding between the measures. If a majority of electors vote to reject both, they both fail, though the preference vote between them is still voted and made public (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273 and Miss. Code § 23-17-37).
    • Timeline for taking effect: Thirty days after the official declaration of the vote unless provided otherwise in the measure (Mississippi Const. Art. 15, Sec. 273; Miss. Code Ann. § 23-17-41)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Legislature may propose alternative measure or initiate the standard process for amending the constitution (MS Const. Art. 15, § 273).

MISSOURIState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1908
    • Types allowed: Direct initiative for statutes and constitutional amendments and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50)
    • Other subject restrictions: No appropriations or other new revenues not provided for in the measure (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50, 51)
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Must file petition form draft that must contain an enacting clause and the full text of the measure no later than six months before election (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50; V.A.M.S. 116.332).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (V.A.M.S. 116.332)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: One designee will serve for official notices and statement of organization (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50; V.A.M.S. 116.332).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to no anonymous contribution in excess of $25, disclosure of contributors, corporations and labor organizations are allowed to make contributions and expenditures, following timelines and deadlines apply for filing reports (V.A.M.S. 130.110; 130.120; 130.029; 130.046; 130.041).
    • Withdrawal of petition: The sponsor may file a written notice to withdraw the initiative with the secretary of state (V.A.M.S. 116.115).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Secretary of state and approved by attorney general (V.A.M.S. 116.180; V.A.M.S. 116.334)
    • What is on each petition: Full text of the measure, all language that the measure removes and all new language, warning, county, affidavit, notary public seal, all in form prescribed (V.A.M.S. 116.050; 116.050)
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state creates a sample petition and then the petition is reviewed by the attorney general (V.A.M.S. 116.334).
    • Fiscal review: State auditor prepares, and proponents may submit proposed review (V.A.M.S. 116.17).
    • General review of petition: The secretary of state will furnish ballot statements explaining the effects of a no or yes vote for the measure, which will include whether it will increase, decrease or maintain taxes (V.A.M.S. 116.025).
    • Legislature or other government official review: After certification for the ballot, the joint committee on legislative research holds a public hearing in Jefferson City to take public comments regarding the measure (V.A.M.S. 116.153).
    • Public review or notice: Public may comment for 15 days on petition once it is approved for circulation, and may attend hearing held by joint committee on legislative research, with comments from that meeting made public, and newspaper publication (V.A.M.S. 116.334; 116.260).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must be 18 or older, registered with the secretary of state, and cannot have been convicted or pled guilty to forgery crimes (V.A.M.S. § 116.080).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (V.A.M.S. § 116.080)
    • Paid per signature: No ban, but must mark this and identify their employer on the affidavit (V.A.M.S. 116.030).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (V.A.M.S. 116.090)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For statutory, 5 % of total vote for governor in the last election in each of two-thirds of the state's congressional districts. For constitutional amendments, 8 % of total vote for governor in the last election in each of two-thirds of the state's congressional districts (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50 and V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 53).
    • Who can sign the petition: Legal, registered voters (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50 and V.A.M.S. 116.060)
    • Geographic distribution: In each of two-thirds of the congressional districts, and each petition page must only contain signatures from a singular county (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50; V.A.M.S. 116.060).
    • Collected in-person: In the circulator's presence (V.A.M.S. 116.030)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: The person must file a sworn statement with the secretary of state any time before the petition is filed (V.A.M.S. § 116.110).
    • Verification: Random sampling of at least 5 % of signatures implemented by secretary of state. If a congressional district has 90 % of the needed valid signatures, the petition fails in that district. If a congressional district has 110 % of the needed valid signatures, the petition qualifies in that district. If a congressional district has 90 to 110 % of the needed valid signatures, every single signature will be verified to discern if it qualifies (V.A.M.S. § 116.120).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Eighteen months (V.A.M.S. § 116.334)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Sponsors must submit signatures no later than six months before the election and can only start collecting the day after the previous general election (V.A.M.S. § 116.334).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: At general elections, except when a special election is ordered by the legislature (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 52)
    • Ballot title and summary: Secretary of state, approved by attorney general (V.A.M.S. 116.160; 116.180; 115.245; 116.210; 116.220)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Must be filed at least six months before the election it is to be voted on (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 50).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Measure receiving most affirmative votes prevails, even if it did not receive the greatest majority of affirmative votes (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 51; V.A.M.S. 116.320).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 51)
    • Timeline for taking effect: When approved by a majority of votes (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 51)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No veto from governor, and legislature may pass statutes normally (V.A.M.S. Const. Art. 3, § 52).

MONTANAState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1906
    • Types Allowed: Direct initiative for statutes and constitutional amendments, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (MT CONST Art. 5, § 11; Art. 5, § 11; MACo v. The State of Montana, MT 267, 2017)
    • Other subject restrictions: No amendment may change more than one section, no appropriations, and no local or special laws (MT CONST Art. 3, § 4; Art. 5, § 11; Art. 14, § 11).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Proponents prepare ballot statements and file them (MCA 13-27-202; 13-27-312).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (MCA 13-27-202)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: The sponsor of the bill who files with the secretary of state must appoint a three-member committee advocating approval of the ballot issue. This committee is responsible for preparing the arguments for the measure and any rebuttal arguments in the information pamphlet (MCS 13-27-402).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to filing about the use of paid circulators and filing reports (MCA 13-27-112; 13-27-113).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: The statement of purpose and implication, which is prepared by the proponent and approved by the attorney general, is the title for both the petition and ballot. If the attorney general does not approve of the statement, they prepare one themselves (MCA 13-27-312).
    • What is on each petition: Must follow form per statute, include full text of the measure, follow paper requirements, and printing instructions and internet posting requirements (MCA 13-27-201; 13-27-202; 13-27-204; 13-27-207).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state (MCA 13-27-202)
    • Fiscal review: If the measure will have an effect on revenue, expenditures or the fiscal liability of the state, the attorney general orders the budget director to prepare one (MCA § 13-27-312).
    • General review of petition: Reviews done by attorney general and legislative services division (MCA 13-27-202).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Reviews done by attorney general and legislative services division. There must also be a five-person committee of those who favor rejection, comprised of individuals appointed by the governor, attorney general, president of the senate and speaker of the house each—the fifth member is appointed by the four previous members. And attorney general reviews legality (MCA 13-27-202; 13-27-312; 13-27-402).
    • Public review or notice: The secretary of state also furnishes an information pamphlet with the title, fiscal statement if applicable, its complete text, the form in which it'll appear on the ballot, arguments for and against it, and rebuttal arguments, and will publish notices in newspaper (MCA 13-27-401; 13-27-402; 13-27-410; 13-27-311).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must be Montana resident (MCA 13-27-102; 1-1-215)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (MCA § 13-27-302)
    • Paid per signature: Cannot be paid based on the number of signatures collected but can be paid in general (MCA 13-27-102; 13-27-112)
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: No statute
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For statutes, 5 % of the total qualified electors of the state, determined by the number of votes cast for governor in the preceding general election. For amendments, 10 % of the total qualified electors of the state (MT CONST Art. 3, § 4; Art. 14, § 9; Art. 14, § 10).
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified electors of the state of Montana (MCA 13-27-102)
    • Geographic distribution: County distribution ruled unconstitutional (Montana Public Interest Research Group v. Johnson, 361 F.Supp.2d 1222 [D. Mont. 2005]; MT CONST Art. 3, § 4)
    • Collected in-person: Implied (MCA 13-27-102)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Any time prior to official filing (MCA 13-27-301)
    • Verification: County officials check that each signatory is a registered elector of the county. They also randomly select signatures on each page and compare them to the electors' signatures in the registration records. If any pair do not match, the rest of the signatures on that page must be verified via this comparison (MCA 13-27-303; 13-27-304).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: One year, but proponents must submit to the county officials no sooner than nine months and no later than four weeks prior to the final deadline (MCA 13-27-301; 13-27-202).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: For statute initiatives, no later than three months prior to the election the measure is to be voted upon, and must submit to the county officials no sooner than nine months and no later than four weeks prior to the final deadline (MT CONST Art. 3, § 4; MCA 13-27-301; 13-27-202).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: General election unless the legislature orders a special election (MT CONST Art. 3, § 6)
    • Ballot title and summary: Proponent and approved by the attorney general, is the title for both the petition and ballot. If the attorney general does not approve of the statement, he or she prepares one themselves (MCA § 13-27-312).
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: No additional other than deadlines
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: No statute
    • Majority to pass: Yes (MT CONST Art. 3, § 4; Art. 14, § 9; MCA 13-27-503; 13-27-504)
    • Timeline for taking effect: For statutes, unless specified otherwise, Oct. 1 following approval. For amendments, unless specified otherwise, July 1 following approval (MCA 13-27-105; MT CONST Art. 14, § 9).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Governor may not veto (MT CONST Art. 6, § 10).

NEBRASKAState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1912
    • Types allowed: Direct initiative for statute and constitutional amendment, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2)
    • Other subject restrictions: Limited to matters that can be enacted by legislation, and no measures that interfere with the legislature’s ability to direct taxation of necessary revenues (Nebraska Const. Art. 3, Sec. 2; Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1408).
    • Repeat measures: May only be attempted once every three years (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2).
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Proponents must submit a statement of the object of the measure and its full text to the secretary of state, along with a sworn list of their addresses and names (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Primary sponsors file names with secretary of state, and a principal circulator is listed (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405; § 32-1406).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to the provisions of the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act. Records must be kept of contributions and expenditures. And if raising more than $5,000 in a year, the entity must register as a ballot question committee and then must file Campaign Statements and other forms with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, all on a set timeline (Neb.Rev.St. § 49-1401).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Proponents (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405)
    • What is on each petition: Must follow prescribed form and include the full text of the measure, a legal warning, an affidavit, the maximum number of signatures, paper and font, spacing, and if the circulator is paid (Neb.Rev.St. § 32-1401; § 32-1405; § 32-628; § 32-1403).
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state (Neb.Rev.St. § 32-1405)
    • Fiscal review: No statute
    • General review of petition: The revisor of statutes reviews and recommends revisions with respect to form and draftsmanship. These may be accepted or rejected (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Secretary of state writes arguments for and against the measure with information provided by proponents and opponents (Neb.Rev.St. § 32-1405.01).
    • Public review or notice: Secretary of state creates pamphlet with information and arguments and publishes the measures in newspapers leading up to the election. Public hearings are held in each congressional district (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1405.01; § 32-1405.02; § 32-1413).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Age 18 (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-628)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-628; § 32-1546)
    • Paid per signature: No ban, but must state whether the circulator is paid or volunteering on the petition (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-628)
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (Neb.Rev.St. § 32-630; § 32-1546)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For statutory initiatives, 7 % of votes cast for governor in last election. For constitutional amendments, 10 % of votes cast for governor in last election (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2; § 4)
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered voters (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2)
    • Geographic distribution: A requirement for 5 % of the registered voters in two-fifths of the counties each was held unconstitutional, but that case was vacated because of an issue of standing (Neb. Const. Art. III, § 2; Bernbeck v. Gale, 59 F.Supp.3d 949 [2014]; 829 F.3d 643, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit).
    • Collected in-person: Yes (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-630;  § 32-628)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: The election commissioner or county clerk compares each signer's information to that of voter registration records to verify that they were registered voters when they signed and verify all other information (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1409).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Two years (Neb.Rev.St. § 32-1407)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Four months prior to the general election (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1407)
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Next general election at least four months after filing the signatures (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1407; § 32-401)
    • Ballot title and summary: Attorney general (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1410)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Four months prior to the general election (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1407)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The amendment which receives the greatest number of affirmative votes shall be paramount in all particulars as to which there is conflict even though such amendment may not have received the greater majority of affirmative votes (Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1416).
    • Majority to pass: Majority and at least 35 % of the total votes cast in the entire election (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 4)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Ten days (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 4; Neb. Rev. St. § 32-1414)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Two-thirds vote required to amend or repeal, and governor may not veto (Ne.Rev.St. CONST. Art. III, § 2; Art. III, § 4).

NEVADAState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1912
    • Types allowed: Indirect initiative for statutes, direct initiative for constitutional amendments, and popular referendum.
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (N.R.S. 295.009)
    • Other subject restrictions: Cannot require an expenditure of money unless a sufficient tax is provided (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3; Art. 16, § 6; N.R.S. 295.009).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: For statutory indirect initiatives, proponents must file a copy of the text with the secretary of state no earlier than Jan. 1 of the year preceding the year in which a regular session of the legislature is held. For constitutional amendment direct initiatives, the date is Sept. 1 of the year preceding the election year (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 1)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Must file any PACs formed to advance the measure and authorize no more than three people to withdraw or amend the petition (N.R.S. 295.009)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to filing any PACs formed to advance the measure, limitations on total contributions, and reporting contributions received above $1,000 at various times (N.R.S. Const. Art. 2, § 10; N.R.S. 295.009; 294A.150; 294A.220).
    • Withdrawal of petition: One of three authorized people must submit a notice of withdrawal with the secretary of state (N.R.S. AB 45; 30).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: The filer submits a description pursuant to N.R.S. 295.009 with the secretary of state, and it may be amended pursuant to that statute (N.R.S. 295.015).
    • What is on each petition: The full text of the measure, the affidavit of the circulator, the name of each petition district of the registered voters signing those pages, and each petition must have a 200-word or less description on each signature page of the petition (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3; N.R.S. 295.055; 295.009).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state (N.R.S. 295.015)
    • Fiscal review: The fiscal notes for constitutional amendments and statewide measures proposed by initiative or referendum must be prepared by the secretary of state, upon consultation with the Fiscal Analysis Division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau (N.R.S. 295.015; 293.250).
    • General review of petition: The secretary of state will appoint two, three-person committees, one for and one against the measure. The committees select a chair and may prepare arguments and rebuttals, which will be reviewed by the secretary of state for the ballot (N.R.S. 293.252).
    • Legislature or other government official review: The secretary of state consults with the legislative counsel for any technical suggestions, which will be posted to the secretary's website (N.R.S. 295.015).
    • For indirect, statutory initiatives only: The legislature has 40 days to pass the unchanged initiative. If the legislature rejects the measure, the legislature may propose an alternative measure (with the approval of the governor), and it will appear on the ballot along with the original initiative. A legislature committee also reviews the measure by a deadline (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; N.R.S. 218D.810; 293.267).
    • Public review or notice: The secretary of state and county clerks post items to the secretary of state’s website and newspapers. The Legislative Counsel Bureau distributes items to legislators, public libraries, newspapers and broadcasters (N.R.S. 295.015).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must just be at least 18 years old (N.R.S. 295.0575)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3; N.R.S. 295.0575)
    • Paid per signature: No ban found
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (N.R.S. 295.300)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Ten % of the votes cast in last general election (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2)
    • Who can sign the petition: Registered voters (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3)
    • Geographic distribution: Original geographical requirement found unconstitutional. Revised statutes now require that signatures be equally collected among all the petition districts (congressional districts), and this was held to be constitutional (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada v. Loma [2006]; N.R.S. 295.012; 293.069; 304.060; 304.120; Angle v. Miller, 2010, 722 F.Supp.2d 1206).
    • Collected in-person: Yes (N.R.S. 295.0575)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Can file a request with the county clerk any time before the petition is filed (N.R.S. 295.055).
    • Verification: The legislature may authorize generally accepted statistical procedures. First, the county clerks do a simple tally and the secretary of state totals these. Then the clerks verify the signatures; with a random sample of at least 500 or 5 % of the petition district's signatures. If the total signatures meet 90 to 100 % of the requirement, the clerk checks all of the signatures until 100 % is reached. It fails if under 90 % and qualifies if at least 100 % (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 3; N.R.S. 293.1276 to 293.1279).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: For direct constitutional amendments, nine months and three weeks. For indirect statutory initiatives, roughly 11 months and two weeks (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; N.R.S. 295.056)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: For direct constitutional amendments, a timeline beginning on Sept. 1 before the general election it is to be voted upon and ends on the third Tuesday of June of an even-numbered year. For indirect statutory initiatives, the timeline begins on Jan. 1 of the year preceding year in which a regular session of the legislature is held and then filed by the second Tuesday of November in an even-numbered year, or the next day (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; N.R.S. 295.056).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: General election (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2)
    • Ballot title and summary: Secretary of state, in consultation with the attorney general (N.R.S. 293.250)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Petitions cannot be filed more than 65 days before the deadline. For amendments, must be submitted for verification by the third Tuesday in June of the general election year. For statutory initiatives, must be submitted to be verified before appearing before the legislature on the second Tuesday in November in even-numbered years, or the next day (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2; Art. 19, § 3; N.R.S. 295.056).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The measure receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes prevails (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2).
    • Majority to pass: For statutory initiatives, a majority at a single general election. For constitutional amendments, a majority of voters at two consecutive elections (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2).
    • Timeline for taking effect: Once canvassing of votes is complete (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No amendment or repeal by the legislature within three years of enactment (N.R.S. Const. Art. 19, § 2)

NORTH DAKOTA State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1914
    • Types allowed: Direct initiative for statutes and constitutional amendments, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: None
    • Other subject restrictions: Cannot stop emergency laws passed by the legislature or appropriations to support state departments or institutions (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 5).
    • Repeat measures: More than two elections on the “same general matter” cannot be held within 12 months (NDCC, 16.1-01-11).
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Requires 25 or more must signatures as a sponsoring committee and present the complete measure to the secretary of state for approval, one of whom which must be designated as chairman of the sponsoring committee. Must have full text of the measure and names and addresses of the sponsors (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 2).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 2)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: No additional
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to reporting requirements, special provisions for out-of-state contributors, a statement regarding intent to pay circulators, and political committees must register (NDCC, 16.1-08.1-02.4; 16.1-08.1-03.1; 16.1-08.1-03.2).
    • Withdrawal of petition: None, other than the limit of circulation is one year after the petition is approved by the secretary of state (NDCC, 16.1-01-09).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Secretary of state and approved by attorney general (NDCC, 16.1-01-07)
    • What is on each petition: Must follow prescribed form and include the provisions for identification of the measure, space for the printed name, space for the signature, address of the committee member, notarization of the signature and affidavit (NDCC, 16.1-01-07; 16.1-01-09).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: The secretary of state prepares a "signature form (that) includes provisions for identification of the measure; the printed name, signature, and address of the committee member; and notarization of the signature" (NDCC, 16.1-01-07).
    • Fiscal review: The legislative council determines the estimated fiscal impact at least 90 days before the measure is to be voted on. And within 30 days of the close of the first complete fiscal year after the effective date of an initiated measure approved by the voters, the agencies, institutions, or departments that provided the estimates of the fiscal impact of the measure to the legislative management under this section shall submit a report to the legislative council on the actual fiscal impact (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 2; NDCC, 16.1-01-17).
    • General review of petition: The secretary of state reviews and if the office deems it insufficient, the committee of petitioners has 20 days to correct it (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 6).
    • Legislature or other government official review: The legislature may determine method of determining fiscal impact (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 2).
    • Public review or notice: In consultation with the attorney general, the secretary state writes an analysis of the effect of the measures, which will be published in the columns for two weeks prior to the election (NDCC, § 16.1-01-07).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must be an elector and must be 18 or older (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 3; NDCC, 16.1-01-09).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 3; NDCC, 16.1-01-09)
    • Paid per signature: Cannot be paid based on the number of signatures collected, but can be paid in general as long as disclosing with the secretary of state prior to collecting signatures (NDCC, 16.1-01-12; Initiative and Referendum Institute v. Jaeger, 2001).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (NDCC, 16.1-01-12)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For statutory initiatives, 2 % of the residential population according the last federal decennial census. For constitutional amendment initiatives, 4 % of the resident population (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 4; Art. 3, § 9; 2011 N.D. Op.Atty.Gen. No. L-04, 2011 WL 1130010, July 5, 2011).
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified electors (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 3; NDCC, 16.1-01-09)
    • Geographic distribution: No statute
    • Collected in-person: Yes (NDCC, 16.1-01-09)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Must do before submitted to secretary of state (NDCC, 16.1-01-09).
    • Verification: The secretary of state has 35 days to verify. The secretary of state employs a representative random sampling using questionnaires, postcards, telephone calls, personal interviews, etc, or any combinations thereof, to determine the validity of the signatures (NDCC, 16.1-01-10).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: One year after the petition is approved by the secretary of state (NDCC, 16.1-01-09)
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Must be 120 days before the election it is to be voted upon (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 5).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: A referred measure may be voted upon at a statewide election or at a special election called by the governor (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 5).
    • Ballot title and summary: Secretary of state in consultation with the attorney general, but the full text of the measure is included if it is not too long (NDCC, 16.1-06-09).
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: No statute
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The measure with the most affirmative votes becomes law (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 8).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 8)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Thirty days after the election (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 8)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: A measure approved by the electors may not be repealed or amended by the legislative assembly for seven years from its effective date, except by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house (NDCC Const. Art. 3, § 8).

OHIO State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1912
    • Types allowed: Indirect initiative for statutes, direct initiative for constitutional amendments, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (O.R.C. § 3519.01)
    • Other subject restrictions: Cannot "pass a law authorizing any classification of property for the purpose of levying different rates of taxation thereon or of authorizing the levy of any single tax on land or land values or land sites at a higher rate or by a different rule than is or may be applied to improvements thereon or to personal property" (OH Const. Art. II, § 1e).
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Submit filing fee and a petition signed by 1,000 voters to the attorney general, with a summary and complete copy of the measure. They must also designate a committee of five to represent the proponents (O.R.C. § 3519.01; 3519.02; 3513.10).
    • Where to file with: Attorney general (O.R.C. § 3519.01)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: The sponsors must delegate a committee of three to five people to represent them, and must file if any signature gatherers will be paid (O.R.C. § 3519.02; 3501.381).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to regulations on contributions, deadlines for filing reports, airing electioneering advertisements, statements, political communications, solicitation from certain groups and expenditures (O.R.C. § 3517.01, .08, .10, .11, 12, .13, .20, .092, .093, .102, .105; O.H.R. § 3599.03).
    • Withdrawal of petition: Anytime more than 70 days before the election, a majority of the committee members may withdraw the petition by writing to the secretary of state (O.R.C. § 3519.08).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Secretary of state, official committee that filed and approved by attorney general (O.R.C. § 3519.21; 3519.01; 3519.03)
    • What is on each petition: Full copy of the title and text of the law, room for signatures and information of signers, a signed circulator statement, circulator’s name and address, name of employer of circulator, summary, attorney general’s certification, a notice, and names of at least three of the committee members sponsoring the initiative (OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; O.R.C. § 3501.38; 3519.05)
  5. Petition Review, Creation, and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Petition filed by proponents is certified by attorney general, ballot board, and secretary of state (O.R.C. § 3519.01).
    • Fiscal review: Prepared by the office of budget and management and the tax commissioner if involves taxes or expenditures (O.R.C. § 3519.04).
    • General review of petition: Reviewed by attorney general and Ohio ballot board, which also writes pro or con statements if not supplied (OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; O.R.C. § 3519.03; 3519.01; 3519.062).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Legislature reviews the indirect statutory initiatives. The legislature has four months to pass the bill in amended or unchanged form. If amended, expires or is rejected, it goes onto the ballot. Additional signatures are needed then. If legislature amends, it does not go into effect until the original is rejected by the voters (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b).
    • Public review or notice: Pro and con statements and explanations are made public prior to the election in newspapers, in public offices and on the secretary of state’s website (OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; Art. XVI, § 1; O.R.C. § 3519.07).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Must be 18 years old and an Ohio resident (O.R.C. § 3503.06).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (O.R.C. § 3501.38)
    • Paid per signature: No ban, but must state employer if paid (O.R.C. § 3519.05; 3501.38).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (O.R.C. § 3599.14)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For constitutional amendments, 10 % of the votes cast for governor in the last election. For indirect statutory initiatives, 3 % of the votes cast for governor in the last election to submit to the legislator. Another 3 % is required to qualify for the ballot if not enacted by the legislature after four months (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b and 1g; O.R.C. § 3519.22).
    • Who can sign the petition: Electors of the state (OH Const. Art. II, § 1a; 1b; 1g; O.R.C. § 3501.38)
    • Geographic distribution: For indirect statutory initiatives, signatures must be collected from at least 44 of 88 counties, equaling 1.5 % of the votes cast for governor in each county in previous election. For constitutional amendments, from 44 of 88 counties, signatures from 5 % of the votes cast for governor in each county in previous election (OH Const. Art. II, § 1).
    • Collected in-person: Yes (O.R.C. § 3519.05; 3501.38; OH Const. Art. II, § 1g)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Signer or attorney of the signer may remove a signature before official filing (O.R.C. § 3501.38).
    • Verification: Must be verified at least 100 days before the election. Each county board certifies the signatures for their county, and the secretary of state verifies the second round of petition signatures for indirect statutory initiatives (OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; O.R.C. § 3519.15; 3519.16).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: None except when collecting the second 3 % of signatures of votes in last election for governor, the deadline is 90 days (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Generally 110 days before the election. For indirect statutory initiatives, after turning in original 3 % of signatures, proponents must return next batch of signatures (another 3 %) within 90 days of the legislature not enacting or amending a measure. If the petition is insufficient, the sponsors have 10 extra days to collect more signatures (OH Const. Art. II, § 1g; Art. II, § 1b; O.R.C. § 3519.16).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: The next regular or general election occurring subsequent to the 125 days after filing signatures (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b).
    • Ballot title and summary: Ohio ballot board. Proponents may suggest title (OH Const. Art. XVI, § 1; Art. II, § 1g; O.R.C. § 3519.21).
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: To be voted on at the next regular or general election subsequent to 125 days after the supplementary petition is filed (OH Const. Art. II, § 1a; 1b).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: Measure with the most affirmative votes prevails (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b; Art. XVI, § 1)
    • Timeline for taking effect: Thirty days after the election (Ohio Const. Art. 2, Sec. 1b)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No veto by the governor (OH Const. Art. II, § 1b)

OKLAHOMAState flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1907
    • Types allowed: Direct statutory and constitutional amendment initiatives, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (OK Const. Art. 5, § 57; Art. 24, § 1)
    • Other subject restrictions: None
    • Repeat measures: For three years, measures can only be proposed again by signatures totaling 25 % of total votes cast for governor last election, and special rule for competing measures (OK Const. Art. 5, § 6; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 21).
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Must file an exact copy as found in 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 2 with the secretary of state (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (OK Const. Art. 5, § 3; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: When first filing the petition, no more than three primary proponents must be designated (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 2).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to organizations supporting or opposing ballot measures considered political action committees and can be considered an unlimited committee, unlimited contributions to unlimited committees, and filing statements of organization and when contributions are made of greater than $1,000 (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 2; 21 Okl.St.Ann. § 187; Okl.St.Ann. Rule 2.36; Okl.St.Ann. Rule 2.79; Oklahoma Ethics Commission's Guide for Political Action Committees).
    • Withdrawal of petition: Any time before the final submission of signatures, the delegated proponents may write to the secretary of state to withdraw (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: No separate title, and a simple "statement of the gist" of the measure is included on the petition (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 3; § 8).
    • What is on each petition: Full text of the measure, follow prescribed form, signatures, warning and “a simple statement of the gist of the proposition” (OK Const. Art. 5, § 2; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 2).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: None defined, although the secretary of state reviews and processes the petition, along with the attorney general and the Supreme Court (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
    • Fiscal review: No statute
    • General review of petition: Secretary of state reviews and processes the petition, along with the attorney general and the Supreme Court (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Attorney general and Supreme Court are part of the signature verification process and the ability of the public to protest as to the constitutionality of the measure. The attorney general reviews the ballot title after signed petitions are turned in (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
    • Public review or notice: Newspaper publication, and the public has 10 days to file a protest as to the constitutionality of the measure (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8; § 17).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: At least 18 years old and a qualified elector (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 6; Oklahomans for Modern Alcoholic Beverage Controls, Inc. v. Shelton, Okla., 501 P.2d 1089, 1972).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 6)
    • Paid per signature: No ban found
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Likely prohibition on the use of public funds (26 Okl.St.Ann. § 16-119; None other found in 26 Okl.St.Ann)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For statutory initiatives, 8 % of legal voters that cast ballots for governor in the last election. For constitutional amendments, 15 % of legal voters (OK Const. Art. V, § 2).
    • Who can sign the petition: Legal voters of the state of Oklahoma (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 6)
    • Geographic distribution: No statute
    • Collected in-person: Yes (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 6)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: Each signature is physically counted. Must also be verified on the back of signature sheets by the person who circulated those sheets by an affidavit along with the signature and title of the officer before whom the oath was made (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 6; § 6.1).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Ninety days from the date marking the beginning circulation, as set by the secretary of state after public posting and chance for protest (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Ninety days from the official set date from the secretary of state (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: The next statewide election unless the legislature or governor convenes a special election for it or the governor designates a vote at the primary election (OK Const. Art. V, § 3; 34 Okl.St.Ann. § 12; § 25).
    • Ballot title and summary: Proponents submit descriptive ballot title that is reviewed by attorney general (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 8; § 9).
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: No statute
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: If neither receives a majority, the one receiving more votes will be resubmitted to the next general election by itself if it received at least one-third of the total votes cast for or against the two measures. If both are approved, the one receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes prevails (34 Okl.St.Ann. § 21).
    • Majority to pass: Yes (OK Const. Art. 5, § 3)
    • Timeline for taking effect: When approved by a majority of votes (OK Const. Art. 5, § 3)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Majority of legislature may repeal or alter any statute measure (OK Const. Art. 5, § 7).

OREGON State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1902
    • Types allowed: Indirect initiative for statutes, direct initiative for constitutional amendments, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1)
    • Other subject restrictions: None
    • Repeat measures: None
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: The sponsor must file a copy of the measure signed by 1,000 electors (and not more than 2,000) with the secretary of state, along with the text of the measure, whether they plan to use paid circulators, and designating three chief petitioners (O.R.S. § 250.045; 250.052).
    • Where to file: Secretary of state (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: At most, three people are designated as the chief petitioners and state whether circulators will be paid or not (O.R.S. § 250.045).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to groups supporting or opposing ballot measures are treated as political committees, no statute found limiting contributions to ballot measure political committees, designation of a treasurer, filing statements of organization, and follow account and reporting requirements (O.R.S. § 250.045; § 260.035; § 260.054).
    • Withdrawal of petition: The chief petitioners may withdraw at any time before submitting the total number of signatures for verification. All chief petitioners must sign the form to withdraw (O.R.S. § 250.029).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Attorney general drafts ballot titles and certifies  statements (O.R.S. § 250.045; § 250.067; § 250.035; § 250.036; § 250.075).
    • What is on each petition: The full text of the measure, match secretary of state’s template, be the correct color and state if the circulator is paid (O.R.S. § 250.015; § 250.052; § 250.045).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state creates templates, including cover and signature sheets (O.R.S. § 250.015; § 250.052).
    • Fiscal review: The financial estimate committee will estimate costs and consult with the legislative revenue officer (O.R.S. § 250.125).
    • General review of petition: The Citizens' Initiative Review Commission reviews measures and may create a citizen panel to review specific ones (O.R.S. § 250.137; § 250.139).
    • Legislature or other government official review: The chief petitioner may amend the initiative without having to re-submit if the attorney general reviews the changes and certifies that it does not change it substantially (O.R.S. § 250.045).
    • Public review or notice: The attorney general submits a draft ballot title and the public may submit written comments regarding it, which the attorney general may use to revise the title. Fiscal statement is included in voter pamphlet as is other information. And secretary of state will hold public hearings at least 95 days before the election (O.R.S. § 250.125; § 250.067; § 250.127).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: To register as a paid circulator, in the past five years one cannot have been convicted of a crime involving fraud, forgery, or identification theft or have been subject to a civil penalty due to an election offense. A criminal records check is completed. If paid, must also register with the secretary of state and take training program (O.R.S. § 250.048).
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: No, but they certify that each signature was in their presence and that they believe each individual is an elector (O.R.S. § 250.045).
    • Paid per signature: Circulators may be paid but not by the signature. The chief petitioners must notify the secretary of state that at least one person will be paid, and it will say this on the petitions. The circulator must also register with the secretary of state and complete a training program specified by the secretary (OR Rev. Stat. § 250.045; § 250.048).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (O.R.S. § 250.048; OR CONST Art. IV, § 1b)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For statutory initiatives, 6 % of the total votes cast for all candidates for governor in last general election. For constitutional amendments, 8 % of the total votes cast for all candidates for governor in the last general election (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1).
    • Who can sign the petition: Electors (O.R.S. § 250.025)
    • Geographic distribution: None
    • Collected in-person: Yes (O.R.S. § 250.045)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: May not remove after official submission of petitions (O.R.S. § 250.025).
    • Verification: The secretary of state establishes the statistical sampling method. A petition may only be rejected if two different sampling processes determine it does not have sufficient signatures. The second sampling must use a greater number of signatures than the first. The two samples must total at least 5 % of the signatures submitted. To account for double-signing, the secretary will apply at least an 8 % duplication rate to the first sampling. If a second sampling is needed, an estimated duplication rate will be calculated. Proponents must turn in sheets each month (O.R.S. § 250.105).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: If the petitions were filed at least 165 days before the election and the signatures are deemed insufficient, they may collect more (O.R.S. § 250.105).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Four months prior to the general election (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Regular election unless otherwise ordered by Legislative Assembly (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1)
    • Ballot title and summary: Attorney general (O.R.S. § 250.065)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Four months prior to the general election (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1)
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: No statute found other than if the attorney general determines that their subject/purpose/effect are similar, they will give them identical ballot titles (OR Rev. Stat. § 250.062).
    • Majority to pass: Majority only, but the election must have at least 50 % voter turnout (OR CONST Art. XVII, § 1; Art. IV, § 1; O.R.S. § 250.036).
    • Timeline for taking effect: Thirty days after it is enacted or approved by a majority of the votes cast (OR CONST Art. IV, § 1).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Only laws that change vote requirements require a supermajority (OR CONST Art.II, § 23; Art. IV, § 1).

SOUTH DAKOTA

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1898
    • Types allowed: Indirect initiative for statute, direct initiative for constitutional amendment, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: None
    • Other subject restrictions: No private or special laws (Const. Art. 3, § 23)
    • Repeat measures: None found
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Must file complete measure with the Legislative Research Council. Must also provide a notarized list of names of proponents and a statement of organization. These are all then submitted to the secretary of state (SDCL § 12-13-25.1; 12-13-26).
    • Where to file with: Legislative Research Council, attorney general and secretary of state (SDCL § 12-13-25.1; 12-13-26)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Must also file statement of organization (SDCL § 12-27-6).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to statewide ballot question committee must file pre-primary, pre-general, year-end and, if applicable, supplemental report and amendments (SDCL § 12-27-22; SDCL § 12-27-3)
    • Withdrawal of petition: May remove no later than 120 days prior to the next general election (SDCL § 2-1-2.3).
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Attorney general, after receiving written comments from the Legislative Research Council (SDCL § 12-13-25.1)
    • What is on each petition: Secretary of state reviews the petitions and each shall contain the full text of the initiative, the date of the general election it is to be voted on, the title and explanation prepared by the attorney general, accompanied by a notarized affidavit signed by each person who is a sponsor, and accompanied by statement of organization. The petition and affidavit are prescribed by the state board of elections and follow administrative rules (SDCL § 2-1-1.1; § 2-1-1.2; South Dakota Administrative Rules 5:02:08:07)
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Secretary of state reviews the petitions (SDCL § 2-1-1.1; SDCL § 2-1-1.2).
    • Fiscal review: Director of the Legislative Research Council prepares a fiscal note as requested (SDLC § 2-9-30; § 2-9-31; § 2-9-34).
    • General review of petition: None other found
    • Legislature or other government official review: The Legislative Research Council also provides written comments to the attorney general (SDCL § 12-13-25; § 12-13-25.1).
    • Public review or notice: Secretary of state shall print pamphlet of statements in support and against the measures along with the attorney general's title, explanation, and clear statement of a yes or no vote, and if possible, a fiscal statement (SDCL § 12-13-23).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Resident of South Dakota who is at least 18 years old (SDCL § 12-1-3)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Official sponsors must sign at least two-thirds of the petitions (DCL § 2-1-1.2). Administrative rules 5:02:08:09 and 5:02:08:07.02 require that circulators sign affidavit as well.
    • Paid per signature: Cannot pay based on signature total collected. But you explicitly may pay based on hourly wage or salary, express or implied minimum signature requirements for the circulator to meet, terminate someone's employment if they do not meet "certain productivity requirements," and pay “discretionary bonuses based on reliability, longevity, and productivity” (SDCL § 12-13-28).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: No statute
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Not more than 5 % of the qualified electors, based on the total number of votes cast for governor at the last preceding gubernatorial elections (Const. Art. 3, § 1 and SDCL § 2-1-5).
    • Who can sign the petition: Qualified electors and every person who is a qualified voter (Const. Art. 3, § 1; SDCL § 2-1-6).
    • Geographic distribution: None found
    • Collected in-person: Yes (SDCL § 2-1-70)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: No statute
    • Verification: Secretary of state verifies via a random sampling (SDCL § 2-1-11; § 2-1-15; § 2-1-16; SDCL § 2-1-17).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Twelve months. No signatures may be obtained prior to 24 months before the general elections that it is to be voted upon, and signatures must be filed one year prior to the election (SDCL § 2-1-1.2).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: Signatures must be filed one year prior to the election (SDCL § 2-1-1.2).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: General election (SDCL § 2-1-17)
    • Ballot title and summary: Attorney general after receiving written comments from the Legislative Research Council (SDCL § 12-13-25.1).
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Signatures must be filed one year prior to the election (SDCL § 2-1-1.2).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: No Statute
    • Majority to pass: Yes (SDCL § 2-1-12)
    • Timeline for taking effect: The first day of July after the completion of the official canvass (SDCL § 2-1-12)
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No veto by governor. Legislature may repeal statute with majority vote (Const. Art. 3, § 1 and Const. Art. 13, § 1).

UTAH State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1900
    • Types allowed: Direct and indirect initiatives for statutes, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202; U.C.A. 1953, Const. Art. 6, § 22)
    • Other Subject restrictions: No restrictions (See U.C.A. 1953, Const. Art. 6, § 1)
    • Repeat measures: Two years (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202)
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: At least five sponsors must apply, each of whom is a resident and has voted in the past three years. Must submit full text and title, and statement as to the use or not of paid circulators (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202).
    • Where to file with: Lieutenant governor (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: At least five sponsors must apply (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202)
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to that proponent or opponent groups for a ballot proposition are considered political issue committees unless they meet certain criteria such as not expending more than $5,000, and political issue committees register and report financially (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-11-101; § 20A-11-801; § 20A-11-802; § 20A-11-803).
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Proponents (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202)
    • What is on each petition: Petitions substantially follow the form found in U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-203 and include notice to signers, date, room for signatures, title of the initiative, the fiscal impact statement, a warning, language about a tax increase if applicable, and signed verification by the circulator (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-203).
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Lieutenant governor (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-204)
    • Fiscal review: Governor's Office of Management and Budget conducts an estimate (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202.5).
    • General review of petition: After the hearings the proponents and Governor's Office of Management and Budget may revise (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-204.1).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel prepares an impartial analysis of the measure, to be included in voter pamphlet. For indirect initiatives, the legislature may make technical changes only, and prepare a legislative review note and a legislative fiscal note on the law proposed by the initiative petition. Then the legislature rejects or accepts the proposition unchanged (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-208; § 20A-7-702).
    • Public review or notice: At least seven public hearings are held on the propositions before circulation in designated regions. No earlier than 75 days, and no later than 15 days, voter information pamphlet and newspaper publication (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-702; § 20A-7-204.1; § 20A-7-701-706).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Resident and 18 years old (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-203; § 20A-1-307)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Yes (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-203)
    • Paid per signature: No ban, but must provide a statement whether signature collectors may be paid (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-202; § 20A-7-205.5).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-213)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: For indirect initiatives submitted to the legislature, 5 % of all votes cast for all candidates for U.S. president at the last general election. For direct initiatives, 10 % of the cumulative total of all votes cast for U.S. president. If the legislature does not enact the proposition, then proponents may collect the additional 5 % of signatures required to get the measure onto the ballot (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-201; § 20A-7-208). 
    • Who can sign the petition: Legal voters, 18 years old, resident (U.C.A. 1953, Const. Art. 6, § 1; U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-205; § 20A-2-105)
    • Geographic distribution: Yes. From each of at least 26 Utah State Senate districts, legal signatures equal to 5 % for indirect or 10 % for direct initiatives of the total of all votes cast in that district for all candidates for U.S. president at the last general election (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-201).
    • Collected in-person: Yes (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-205)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Yes, before May 15, signer submits request to county clerk (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-205).
    • Verification: Direct initiatives are turned into the county clerk of the county in which the initiative packet was circulate. Clerks check the names, verify they are 18 or older, and determine if they are a registered voter. Then they deliver the verified packets to the lieutenant governor. Clerks follow specific guidelines as to verification decisions in code. Once the lieutenant governor receives the verified packets from the clerks, they count the number of names and declare the proposition sufficient or not (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-206; § 20A-7-206.3; § 20A-7-207).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: Within 316 days after the day on which the application is filed or the April 15 immediately before the next regular general election immediately after the application is filed (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-206).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: For direct initiatives, April 15 immediately before the next general election (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-206).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: General election, but governor and legislature may call special elections (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-1-201; § 20A-1-203; § 20A-7-206).
    • Ballot title and summary: The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel numbers the propositions and proposes a descriptive title summarizing the contents of the measure. Evaluations done by lieutenant governor and Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-207; § 20A-7-209; § 20A-6-107).
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: Certified ballot title is due at least 65 days before the election. For direct initiatives, signatures must be submitted by April 15 immediately before the next general election (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-6-106; § 20A-7-206).
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: If the governor believes that two approved laws, or parts laws, are entirely in conflict, they proclaim the measure to be law that has received the greatest number of affirmative votes (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-211).
    • Majority to pass: Yes, except two-thirds majority is need in the case of laws changing rules regarding the taking of (U.C.A. 1953, Const. Art. 6, § 1).
    • Timeline for taking effect: For indirect initiatives, 60 days after the adjournment of the legislative session that passed it. For a direct initiative, unless otherwise specified, they do not take effect until five days after the date of the official proclamation by the governor (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-212).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: Governor may not veto. For statutes, the legislature may amend at any legislative session (U.C.A. 1953 § 20A-7-212).

WASHINGTON State flag

  1. Types and Year Established
    • Year established: 1912
    • Types allowed: Direction and indirect initiatives for statutes, and popular referendum
  2. Allowable Subject Matter
    • Single subject rule: Yes (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 19; Amalgamated Transit Union Local 597 v. State of Washington, 11 P.3d 762, 2000)
    • Other subject restrictions: None (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 24)
    • Repeat measures: No statute
  3. Petition Application Process
    • Application process information: Must file a copy of the measure with the secretary of state and the sponsor; as an individual or acting on behalf of an organization, must file an affidavit. May include a fee (RCWA 29A.72.010; 43.07.120; 29A.72.020; 29A.72.040).
    • Where to file with: Secretary of state (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1)
    • Proponent organization and requirements: Must sign affidavit and must refile after recommendations (RCWA 29A.72.010; 43.07.120; 29A.72.020; 29A.72.040).
    • Proponent financial disclosure requirements: Include but may not be limited to being covered by the state’s campaign finance laws, must follow reporting rules, and file statement of organization (RCWA 42.17A.005; 42.17A; 42.17A.205).  
    • Withdrawal of petition: No statute
  4. Petition Content
    • Petition title and summary creation: Attorney general (RCWA 29A.72.060)
    • What is on each petition: Ballot title, summary, warning and full text of the measure (RCWA 29A.72.120; 29A.72.110)
  5. Petition Review, Creation and Public Notice
    • Who creates petitions: Proponents can produce them but must follow form (RCWA 29A.72.100).
    • Fiscal review: Prepared by the office of financial management, in consultation with the secretary of state, the attorney general, and any other appropriate state or local agency (RCWA 29A.72.025).
    • General review of petition: Code reviser or assistant code reviser reviews the proposal of the initial petition and recommends revisions or alterations in an advisory capacity only. Code reviser issues certificate of review (RCWA 29A.72.020).
    • Legislature or other government official review: Attorney general prepares explanatory statements. And arguments for and against are prepared by committees with members appointed first by the secretary of state, the senate's presiding office and the house's presiding officer (RCWA 29A.32.040; 29A.32.060).
    • Public review or notice: Secretary of state prepares and distributes voter pamphlets to each household in the state and other locations (RCWA 29A.32.010; 29A.32.031; 29A.32.040; 29A.32.070; 29A.32.080).
  6. Circulators
    • Circulator requirements: Legal voter (RCWA 29A.72.120)
    • Circulator oaths or affidavits: Sponsor signs affidavit, and circulators sign oath (RCWA 29A.72.010; 29A.72.120).
    • Paid per signature: No ban found. Ban struck down by courts (RCWA 29A.84.280; LIMIT v. Maleng, 1994).
    • Allowed to pay another for their signature: Prohibited (RCWA 29A.72.110; 29A.72.120; 29A.72.130; RCWA 29A.84.250)
  7. Signatures
    • Number of signatures required: Eight % of the votes cast for the office of governor at the last regular gubernatorial election prior to the submission of the signatures for verification (RCWA 29A.72.150)
    • Who can sign the petition: Legal voters (RCWA 29A.72.120)
    • Geographic distribution: No statute
    • Collected in-person: Yes (RCWA 29A.72.120)
    • Withdrawal process of individual signature: Only accepted before signatures are filed (People v. Hinkle [1924] 130 Wash. 419, 227 P. 861)
    • Verification: The secretary of state may use any statistical sampling techniques for this verification and canvass which have been adopted by rule as provided by chapter 34.05 RCW (RCWA 29A.72.230).
  8. Submission Timelines and Deadlines
    • Timeline for collecting signatures: For direct initiatives, six months to collect (submit proposed measure within 10 months with deadline to submit four months out from the general election). For indirect initiatives, about nine months (proposed measure submitted within 10 months of the session it is to be submitted at with a deadline of 10 days before the session) (RCWA 29A.72.030).
    • Submission deadline of signatures: For indirect measures, at least 10 days before the regular session that is the session that was 10 months out when the proposed measure was submitted. For direct measures, four months from the election (RCWA 29A.72.030).
  9. Ballot Access and Preparation
    • Which election is a measure on: Next general election or a special election if ordered by the legislature (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1)
    • Ballot title and summary: Attorney general (RCWA 29A.72.050)
    • Time period restrictions before placed on the ballot: No additional statute
  10. The Election and Effect
    • Conflicting measures: The measure receiving a majority of the votes passes (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1).
    • Majority to pass: Yes, except in the case of authorizing gambling or lottery, which requires 60 % to pass (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 24).
    • Timeline for taking effect: On and after the 30th day after it the initiative was approved by voters unless otherwise specified (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1).
    • Repeal or change restrictions: No veto by governor. Legislature may amend initiative after two years. The legislature may amend before two years with a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers, and no amendatory law adopted in accordance with this provision shall be subject to referendum (RCWA Const. Art. 2, § 1).

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