UPDATE: July 30, 5:20 PM: The California Freedom Coalition has contacted the campaign. They have rejected our help and demanded that we prevent you from downloading the petition form we created that meets legal standards. So a week into the signature collection process, you’ll still be unable to download a valid petition form anywhere.
As you may have heard, a group has filed an initiative that they believe will put California on the path to independence from the United States. The Yes California Independence Campaign has withheld its endorsement of this initiative because it takes the question of independence out of the hands of the voters of California and puts it into the hands of the Donald Trump administration. We outright reject this strategy in favor of an independence referendum.
That being said, we believe if other groups out there want to float independence-related ballot measures and collect signatures for them, then it would be best if the petitions they circulate are at least formatted according to the rules outlined in state law, especially if they want to attach the #Calexit brand to it. Therefore, we are strongly advising all petition circulators to circulate this downloadable petition form, as the petition form offered from the initiative sponsors’ website that is currently being circulated will be rejected by the state before the signatures are even counted.
There are at least two flaws in the formatting of the petition. First, font size. California Elections Code 9008 and 9012 set out petition form font size regulations.
First, we draw attention to the font size problem. Elections Code 9008 requires that the circulating title and summary be printed in 12-point or larger roman boldface type. The sponsors have done this on the first page of the petition but page two the font size is 7.02 point.
Second, we draw attention to California Elections Code 9008, section (a). The initiative sponsors’ petition has three pages but page three does not contain the Attorney General’s unique identifier nor the circulating title and summary. Perhaps this problem can be fixed by printing page two and three on one sheet of paper, front and back, but the sponsors are not instructing people to do so.
Third, we draw attention to Elections Code 9012, which not only reiterates the fact that each section shall contain the circulating title and summary but that the full text of the initiative be printed in type not smaller than 8-point font.
Again, the initiative sponsors used a 7.02-point font size – apparently and understandably to condense the text of the relatively lengthy initiative in order to limit the amount of printing. This makes sense for environmental and economic reasons but the petition forms with 7.02-point font do not meet state regulations for petition forms and will be rejected. Indeed, a 7.02-point font is difficult to read and the state has an interest in ensuring that voters can read petitions before they sign them.
Again, we are not the authors of this initiative and we don’t endorse it so therefore we haven’t gone through this petition with a fine comb. These are some glaring issues that render the petition form legally unacceptable. There may be other flaws in the petition formatting. Therefore, for the sake of our supporters across California who do want to sign this petition and have their signature count, Yes California has taken it upon ourselves to reformat this petition form. You can download this form here and we welcome and urge the petition sponsors to adopt this new petition form in place of the current one.