Initiative/Charter Amendment Information

The following information is provided to all Santa Monica residents by the City Clerk’s Office of the City of Santa Monica with the intent of clarifying the initiative and charter amendment process and to answer the most frequently asked questions. Please note that any person soliciting signatures for an initiative must make this form available to any member of the public.

  • What is a City Measure?

    A "measure" is any charter amendment or other proposition or initiative (ordinance) submitted to a popular vote at any election.

  • How does a Measure get on the ballot? Why are the proponents asking me to sign the petition?

    In order to qualify for placement on the ballot of a regular or special future municipal election, proponents of a measure must follow the process outlined in the State Elections Code. Section 9200 provides for the initiative process and Section 9255 provides for the charter amendment process. In addition, Chapter 11 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code provides clarification and local requirements for proposed measures. You may obtain a copy of the full text of these laws from the Santa Monica City Clerk’s Office.

    In order to qualify a measure for placement on the ballot, proponents must obtain either 10% or 15% of the signatures of the registered voters in the City for an initiative, and 15% for a charter amendment. As of December 31, 2013 there are 65,253 registered voters in the City.

  • What if I don’t understand what the petition means or what will happen if it passes?

    Proponents of a measure are required to print the full text of the measure, as well as the City Attorney’s impartial ballot title and summary, on the petition above the signature lines. You have the right, and are encouraged, to read it completely and to ask questions before you decide whether or not to sign the petition. It is a misdemeanor to misrepresent or refuse to allow a potential signer to read a petition or proposed measure.

    In addition, you have the right to ask the signature gatherer any of the following questions:

    • are you a volunteer or a paid signature-gatherer?
    • are you being paid per signature or hourly rate, and if so, how much?
    • if compensation is non-monetary, what kind of compensation are you receiving?
  • What if I sign the petition, but change my mind later and want to rescind my signature?

    Any voter who has signed any petition, and who subsequently wishes his or her name withdrawn, may do so by filing a written request for the withdrawal of the signature with the City Clerk’s Office. This request must be filed prior to the date the petition is filed with the City Clerk.

  • What other information can I obtain regarding a proposed measure?

    If you would like a copy of the full text of the measure, or if you have any other questions related to measures or elections, please call the City Clerk’s Office at (310) 458-8211.