Chapter 1. General Provisions of California Elections Code >> Division 0.5. >> Chapter 1.
This act shall be known as the Elections Code.
The provisions of this code, insofar as they are substantially
the same as existing statutory provisions relating to the same
subject matter, shall be construed as restatements and continuations,
and not as new enactments.
If any provision of this code or the application thereof to any
person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the code and
the application of that provision to other persons or circumstances
shall not be affected thereby.
Unless the provision or the context otherwise requires, these
general provisions, rules of construction, and definitions shall
govern the construction of this code.
Division, part, chapter, article, and section headings do not in
any manner affect the scope, meaning, or intent of this code.
Whenever a power is granted to, or a duty is imposed upon, a
public officer, the power may be exercised or the duty may be
performed by a deputy of the officer or by a person authorized,
pursuant to law, by the officer, unless this code expressly provides
Writing includes any form of recorded message capable of
comprehension by ordinary visual means. Whenever any notice, report,
statement or record is required or authorized by this code, it shall
be made in writing in the English language unless it is expressly
As used in this code, the present tense includes the past and
future tenses, and the future the present; the masculine gender
includes the feminine; and the singular includes the plural, and the
plural, the singular.
(a) Counting of words, for purposes of this code, shall be as
(1) Punctuation is not counted.
(2) Each word shall be counted as one word except as specified in
(3) All proper nouns, including geographical names, shall be
considered as one word; for example, "City and County of San
Francisco" shall be counted as one word.
(4) Each abbreviation for a word, phrase, or expression shall be
counted as one word.
(5) Hyphenated words that appear in any generally available
standard reference dictionary, published in the United States at any
time within the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the election
for which the words are counted, shall be considered as one word.
Each part of all other hyphenated words shall be counted as a
(6) Dates shall be counted as one word.
(7) Any number consisting of a digit or digits shall be considered
as one word. Any number which is spelled, such as "one," shall be
considered as a separate word or words. "One" shall be counted as one
word whereas "one hundred" shall be counted as two words. "100"
shall be counted as one word.
(8) Telephone numbers shall be counted as one word.
(9) Internet Web site addresses shall be counted as one word.
(b) This section shall not apply to counting words for ballot
designations under Section 13107.
The Secretary of State is the chief elections officer of the
state, and has the powers and duties specified in Section 12172.5 of
the Government Code.
On written call of the Secretary of State, the county elections
officials, city elections officials, and registrars of voters of
this state may meet with the approval of their legislative bodies, at
the time and place within this state designated in the call, to
discuss matters affecting the administration of the election laws and
to promote uniformity of procedure in those matters. Meetings shall
not exceed three in any calendar year. Any deputy of a county
elections official, city elections official, or registrar of voters,
designated for the purpose by his or her principal, may attend these
meetings, alone or with his or her principal. The actual and
necessary expenses of the county elections official, city elections
official, or registrar of voters, and of a deputy, incurred in
traveling to and from meetings and in attending the same, for each
officer for any one meeting, shall be a charge of the county or city
of the elections official or registrar, and payable as other county
or city charges.
Whenever any candidate files a declaration of candidacy,
nomination paper, or any other paper evidencing an intention to be a
candidate for any public office at any election in this state with
either the Secretary of State or a county elections official, the
candidate shall by the filing irrevocably appoint the Secretary of
State or the county elections official with whom the filing is made,
and their successors in office, the candidate's attorneys upon whom
all process in any action or proceeding against him or her concerning
his or her candidacy or the election laws may be served with the
same effect as if the candidate had been lawfully served with
process. The appointment shall continue until the day of the
If in any action or proceeding arising out of or in connection
with any matters concerning his or her candidacy or the election laws
it is shown by affidavit to the satisfaction of a court or judge
that personal service of process against the candidate cannot be made
with the exercise of due diligence, the court or judge may make an
order that the service be made upon the candidate by delivering by
hand to the Secretary of State or the county elections official
appointed as the candidate's attorney for service of process, or to
any person employed in his or her office in the capacity of assistant
or deputy, one copy of the process for the defendant to be served,
together with a copy of the order authorizing the service. Service in
this manner constitutes personal service upon the candidate. The
Secretary of State and the county elections officials of all counties
shall keep a record of all process served upon them under this
section, and shall record therein the time of service and their
action with reference thereto.
Upon the receipt of service of process the Secretary of State or
the county elections official shall immediately give notice of the
service of the process to the candidate by forwarding the copy of the
process to the candidate at the address shown on his or her
declaration, nomination paper, affidavit, or other evidence of
intention to be a candidate filed with that officer, by special
delivery registered mail with request for return receipt.
(a) A person shall not be considered a legally qualified
candidate for an office, for party nomination for a partisan office,
or for nomination to participate in the general election for a
voter-nominated office, under the laws of this state unless that
person has filed a declaration of candidacy or statement of write-in
candidacy with the proper official for the particular election or
primary, or is entitled to have his or her name placed on a general
election ballot by reason of having been nominated at a primary
election, or having been selected to fill a vacancy on the general
election ballot as provided in Section 8807, or having been selected
as an independent candidate pursuant to Section 8304.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing or
prohibiting any qualified voter of this state from casting a ballot
for a person by writing the name of that person on the ballot, or
from having that ballot counted or tabulated, nor shall this section
be construed as preventing or prohibiting a person from standing or
campaigning for an elective office by means of a "write-in" campaign.
However, nothing in this section shall be construed as an exception
to the requirements of Section 15341 or to permit a person to be a
write-in candidate contrary to Sections 8600 and 8606.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this section,
to enable the Federal Communications Commission to determine who is
a "legally qualified candidate" in this state for the purposes of
administering Section 315 of Title 47 of the United States Code.
(a) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 13, no
person shall be considered a legally qualified candidate for any of
the offices set forth in subdivision (b) unless that person has filed
a declaration of candidacy, nomination papers, or statement of
write-in candidacy, accompanied by documentation, including, but not
necessarily limited to, certificates, declarations under penalty of
perjury, diplomas, or official correspondence, sufficient to
establish, in the determination of the official with whom the
declaration or statement is filed, that the person meets each
qualification established for service in that office by the provision
referenced in subdivision (b).
(2) The provision of "documentation," for purposes of compliance
with the requirements of paragraph (1), may include the submission of
either an original, as defined in Section 255 of the Evidence Code,
or a duplicate, as defined in Section 260 of the Evidence Code.
(b) This section shall be applicable to the following offices and
(1) For the office of county auditor, the qualifications set forth
in Sections 26945 and 26946 of the Government Code.
(2) For the office of county district attorney, the qualifications
set forth in Sections 24001 and 24002 of the Government Code.
(3) For the office of county sheriff, the qualifications set forth
in Section 24004.3 of the Government Code.
(4) For the office of county superintendent of schools, the
qualifications set forth in Sections 1205 to 1208, inclusive, of the
(5) For the office of judge of the superior court, the
qualifications set forth in Section 15 of Article VI of the
(6) For the office of county treasurer, county tax collector, or
county treasurer-tax collector, the qualifications set forth in
Section 27000.7 of the Government Code, provided that the board of
supervisors has adopted the provisions of that section pursuant to
Section 27000.6 of the Government Code.
In case of a disaster in which a portion or all of the voting
records of any county are destroyed, the Governor may appoint an
election commission to outline and recommend procedures to be
followed in the conduct of regular or special elections. The
commission shall consist of the Governor, the Secretary of State, the
Attorney General, and the county elections official of each county
in which destruction occurs.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the last day for
the performance of any act provided for or required by this code
shall be a holiday, as defined in Chapter 7 (commencing with Section
6700) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code, the act may be
performed upon the next business day with the same effect as if it
had been performed upon the day appointed.
For purposes of this section, the Friday in November immediately
after Thanksgiving Day shall be considered a holiday.
A copy of Section 84305 of the Government Code shall be
provided by the elections official to each candidate or his or her
agent at the time of filing the declaration of candidacy and to the
proponents of a local initiative or referendum at the time of filing
The Secretary of State shall establish and maintain
administrative complaint procedures, pursuant to the requirements of
the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 21112), in order to
remedy grievances in the administration of elections. The Secretary
of State shall not require that the administrative remedies provided
in the complaint procedures established pursuant to this section be
exhausted in order to pursue any other remedies provided by state or
(a) A person shall not be considered a candidate for, and is
not eligible to be elected to, any state or local elective office if
the person has been convicted of a felony involving accepting or
giving, or offering to give, any bribe, the embezzlement of public
money, extortion or theft of public money, perjury, or conspiracy to
commit any of those crimes.
(b) For purposes of this section, "conviction of a felony"
includes a conviction of a felony in this state and a conviction
under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any foreign
government or country of a crime that, if committed in this state,
would be a felony, and for which the person has not received a pardon
from the Governor of this state, the governor or other officer
authorized to grant pardons in another state, the President of the
United States, or the officer of the foreign government or country
authorized to grant pardons in that foreign jurisdiction.