Chapter 4. Sample Ballots And Voter Pamphlets of California Elections Code >> Division 13. >> Chapter 4.
(a) By at least 29 days before the partisan primary, each
county elections official shall prepare a separate sample ballot for
each political party and a separate sample nonpartisan ballot. The
county elections official shall place on each ballot, as applicable,
in the order provided in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100),
and under the appropriate title of each office, the names of all
candidates for whom nomination papers have been duly filed with him
or her, or have been certified to him or her by the Secretary of
State, to be voted for in his or her county at the partisan primary
(b) The sample ballots shall be identical to the official ballots,
except as otherwise provided by law. The sample ballots shall be
printed on paper of a different texture from the paper to be used for
the official ballot.
(c) One sample ballot of the party for which the voter has
disclosed a preference, as evidenced by his or her registration,
shall be mailed not more than 40 nor fewer than 10 days before the
election to each voter entitled to vote at the primary who registered
at least 29 days prior to the election. A nonpartisan sample ballot
shall be so mailed to each voter who is not registered as preferring
any of the parties participating in the primary election, provided
that on election day the voter may, upon request, vote the ballot of
a political party if authorized by the party's rules, duly noticed to
the Secretary of State.
In order to facilitate the timely production and
distribution of sample ballots, the county elections official may
prepare a combined sample ballot.
Notwithstanding any other law, county and city elections
officials may establish procedures designed to permit a voter to opt
out of receiving his or her sample ballot, voter pamphlet, notice of
polling place, and associated materials by mail, and instead obtain
them electronically via email or by accessing them on the county's or
city's Internet Web site, provided that all of the following
conditions are met:
(a) The procedures establish a method of providing notice of and
an opportunity by which a voter can notify elections officials of his
or her desire to obtain ballot materials electronically in lieu of
receiving them by mail.
(b) The voter email address or any other information provided by
the voter under this section remains confidential pursuant to Section
6254.4 of the Government Code and Section 2194 of this code.
(c) The procedures provide notice and opportunity for a voter who
has opted out of receiving a sample ballot and other materials by
mail to opt back into receiving them by mail.
(d) The procedures establish a process by which a voter can apply
electronically to become a vote by mail voter.
(e) A voter may only opt out of, or opt back into, receiving his
or her sample ballot and other ballot materials by mail if the
elections official receives the request and can process it prior to
the statutory deadline for the mailing of those materials for the
next election, pursuant to Section 13303. If a voter misses this
deadline, the request shall take effect the following election.
(f) The procedures shall include a verification process to confirm
the voter's identity, either in writing with a signature card that
can be matched to the one on file with the elections official, or if
the request is submitted electronically, it shall contain the voter's
California driver's license number, California identification
number, or a partial social security number.
(g) Information made available over the Internet pursuant to this
section shall meet or exceed the most current, ratified standards
under Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29
U.S.C. Sec. 794d), as amended, and the Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines 2.0 adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium for
accessibility. Election officials may also implement recommendations
of the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee made pursuant to
paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 2053, and of any local
Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee created pursuant to the
guidelines promulgated by the Secretary of State related to the
accessibility of polling places by the physically handicapped.
(a) The county elections official shall forthwith submit the
sample ballot of each political party to the chairperson of the
county central committee of that party, and shall mail a copy to each
candidate for whom nomination papers have been filed in his or her
office or whose name has been certified to him or her by the
Secretary of State, to the post office address given in the
nomination paper or certification. The county elections official
shall post a copy of each sample ballot in a conspicuous place in his
or her office.
(b) In connection with an election at which a candidate for a
voter-nominated office will appear on the ballot, a qualified
political party may submit to the county elections official a list of
all candidates for voter-nominated office who will appear on a
ballot in the county in question, and who have been endorsed by the
party by whatever lawful mechanism the party adopts for endorsing
candidates for voter-nominated office. If a political party timely
submits a list to the county elections official pursuant to this
subdivision, the county elections official shall print the names of
the candidates for voter-nominated office who were endorsed by that
political party in the voter information portion of the sample
ballot. The party chairperson shall provide a written copy of the
list of candidates endorsed by the party not later than 83 days prior
to the election at which the candidate for a voter-nominated office
will appear on the ballot.
(a) For each election, each appropriate elections official
shall cause to be printed, on plain white paper or tinted paper,
without watermark, at least as many copies of the form of ballot
provided for use in each voting precinct as there are voters in the
precinct. These copies shall be designated "sample ballot" upon their
face and shall be identical to the official ballots used in the
election, except as otherwise provided by law. A sample ballot shall
be mailed, postage prepaid, not more than 40 nor less than 21 days
before the election to each voter who is registered at least 29 days
prior to the election.
(b) The elections official shall send notice of the polling place
to each voter with the sample ballot. Only official matter shall be
sent out with the sample ballot as provided by law.
(c) The elections official shall send notice of the polling place
to each voter who registered after the 29th day prior to the election
and is eligible to participate in the election. The notice shall
also include information as to where the voter can obtain a sample
ballot and a ballot pamphlet prior to the election, a statement
indicating that those documents will be available at the polling
place at the time of the election, and the address of the Secretary
of State's website and, if applicable, of the county website where a
sample ballot may be viewed.
The notice of the polling place which is sent to each voter
as provided in Section 13303 may, at the option of the local
elections official, inform the voter as to whether the polling place
is accessible to the physically handicapped. In addition, this notice
may inform the voter of his or her rights under Section 14282, if
(a) Notwithstanding Sections 13300 and 13303, a county
elections official may elect not to mail a sample ballot to a voter
if all of the following are satisfied:
(1) The voter is one of the following:
(A) A permanent vote by mail voter pursuant to Chapter 3
(commencing with Section 3200) of Division 3.
(B) A voter in a mail ballot election conducted pursuant to
Division 4 (commencing with Section 4000).
(C) A voter in a precinct in which an election is conducted
pursuant to Section 3005.
(2) The county elections official prepares and mails to each voter
a voter information guide. The voter information guide shall include
all of the information required to be included in, and shall be
accompanied by all the election materials required to accompany, the
sample ballot, except for both of the following:
(A) An application for a vote by mail ballot.
(B) A notice that a vote by mail ballot application is enclosed.
(3) The voter is furnished with an official ballot pursuant to
Section 3005 or 3010.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 13303, for each
voter to whom the elections official elects not to mail a sample
ballot pursuant to subdivision (a), the elections official may cause
to be printed one less copy of the sample ballot.
(c) If a county elections official elects not to mail a sample
ballot to a voter pursuant to this section, the elections official
shall use any savings achieved to offset the costs associated with
establishing a free access system for vote by mail ballots pursuant
to Section 3019.5 before the savings may be used for any other
Notwithstanding Sections 13300, 13303, and 13307, sample
ballots and candidates' statements need not be mailed to voters who
registered after the 54th day before an election, but all of these
voters shall receive polling place notices and state ballot
pamphlets. A state ballot pamphlet is not required to be mailed to a
voter who registered after the 29th day prior to an election. Each of
these voters shall receive a notice in bold print that states:
"Because you are a late registrant, you are not receiving a sample
ballot or candidates' statements."
(a) (1) Each candidate for nonpartisan elective office in
any local agency, including any city, county, city and county, or
district, may prepare a candidate's statement on an appropriate form
provided by the elections official. The statement may include the
name, age, and occupation of the candidate and a brief description,
of no more than 200 words, of the candidate's education and
qualifications expressed by the candidate himself or herself.
However, the governing body of the local agency may authorize an
increase in the limitations on words for the statement from 200 to
400 words. The statement shall not include the party affiliation of
the candidate, nor membership or activity in partisan political
(2) The statement authorized by this subdivision shall be filed in
the office of the elections official when the candidate's nomination
papers are returned for filing, if it is for a primary election, or
for an election for offices for which there is no primary. The
statement shall be filed in the office of the elections official no
later than the 88th day before the election, if it is for an election
for which nomination papers are not required to be filed. If a
runoff election or general election occurs within 88 days of the
primary or first election, the statement shall be filed with the
elections official by the third day following the governing body's
declaration of the results from the primary or first election.
(3) Except as provided in Section 13309, the statement may be
withdrawn, but not changed, during the period for filing nomination
papers and until 5 p.m. of the next working day after the close of
the nomination period.
(b) (1) The elections official shall send to each voter, together
with the sample ballot, a voter's pamphlet which contains the written
statements of each candidate that is prepared pursuant to this
section. The statement of each candidate shall be printed in type of
uniform size and darkness, and with uniform spacing.
(2) The elections official shall provide a Spanish translation to
those candidates who wish to have one, and shall select a person to
provide that translation who is one of the following:
(A) A certified and registered interpreter on the Judicial Council
(B) An interpreter categorized as "certified" or "professionally
qualified" by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
(C) From an institution accredited by a regional or national
accrediting agency recognized by the United States Secretary of
(D) A current voting member in good standing of the American
(E) A current member in good standing of the American Association
of Language Specialists.
(c) The local agency may estimate the total cost of printing,
handling, translating, and mailing the candidate's statements filed
pursuant to this section, including costs incurred as a result of
complying with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended. The
local agency may require each candidate filing a statement to pay in
advance to the local agency his or her estimated pro rata share as a
condition of having his or her statement included in the voter's
pamphlet. In the event the estimated payment is required, the receipt
for the payment shall include a written notice that the estimate is
just an approximation of the actual cost that varies from one
election to another election and may be significantly more or less
than the estimate, depending on the actual number of candidates
filing statements. Accordingly, the local agency is not bound by the
estimate and may, on a pro rata basis, bill the candidate for
additional actual expense or refund any excess paid depending on the
final actual cost. In the event of underpayment, the local agency may
require the candidate to pay the balance of the cost incurred. In
the event of overpayment, the local agency which, or the elections
official who, collected the estimated cost shall prorate the excess
amount among the candidates and refund the excess amount paid within
30 days of the election.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to make any statement,
or the authors thereof, free or exempt from any civil or criminal
action or penalty because of any false, slanderous, or libelous
statements offered for printing or contained in the voter's pamphlet.
(e) Before the nominating period opens, the local agency for that
election shall determine whether a charge shall be levied against
that candidate for the candidate's statement sent to each voter. This
decision shall not be revoked or modified after the seventh day
prior to the opening of the nominating period. A written statement of
the regulations with respect to charges for handling, packaging, and
mailing shall be provided to each candidate or his or her
representative at the time he or she picks up the nomination papers.
(f) For purposes of this section and Section 13310, the board of
supervisors shall be deemed the governing body of judicial elections.
A candidate for United States Representative may purchase
the space to place a statement in the voter information portion of
the sample ballot that does not exceed 250 words. The statement may
not make reference to any opponent of the candidate. The statement
shall be submitted in accordance with the timeframes and procedures
set forth in this code for the preparation of the voter information
portion of the sample ballot.
In addition to the restrictions set forth in Section 13307,
any candidate's statement submitted pursuant to Section 13307 shall
be limited to a recitation of the candidate's own personal background
and qualifications, and shall not in any way make reference to other
candidates for that office or to another candidate's qualifications,
character, or activities. The elections official shall not cause to
be printed or circulated any statement that the elections official
determines is not so limited or that includes any reference
prohibited by this section.
(a) Notwithstanding Section 13307, if a candidate alleges to
be indigent and unable to pay in advance the requisite fee for
submitting a candidate statement, the candidate shall submit to the
local agency a statement of financial worth to be used in determining
whether or not he or she is eligible to submit a candidate statement
without payment of the fee in advance.
(b) The statement of financial worth required by this section
shall be submitted by the candidate together with his or her
candidate statement in accordance with the deadline specified in
Section 13307. The statement of financial worth form shall be
furnished by the local agency, and may include questions relating to
the candidate's employer, income, real estate holdings, tangible
personal property, and financial obligations. The candidate shall
certify the content of the statement as to its truth and correctness
under penalty of perjury. The candidate shall also sign a release
form of the candidate's most recent federal income tax report.
(c) Upon receipt of a statement of financial worth, a
determination shall be made by the local agency of whether or not the
candidate is indigent. The local agency shall notify the candidate
of its findings.
(d) If it is determined that the candidate is not indigent, the
candidate shall, within three days of the notification, excluding
Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays, withdraw the statement or pay
the requisite fee. If the candidate fails to respond within the time
prescribed, the local agency shall not be obligated to print and
mail the statement.
(e) If the local agency determines that the candidate is indigent,
the local agency shall print and mail the statement.
(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the local agency from
billing the candidate his or her actual pro rata share of the cost
after the election.
Prior to the nomination period for an election, the
governing body of the local agency conducting the election may
determine that Section 13307 is inapplicable to that election. This
section shall become operative only if the United States Supreme
Court or the California Supreme Court rules that candidates (other
than indigent candidates) may not be required to pay for candidates'
statements authorized pursuant to Section 13307.
Notwithstanding the California Public Records Act (Chapter
3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the
Government Code), the statements filed pursuant to Section 13307
shall remain confidential until the expiration of the filing
Each voter's pamphlet prepared pursuant to Section 13307
shall contain a statement in the heading of the first page in
heavy-faced gothic type, not smaller than 10-point, that: (a), the
pamphlet does not contain a complete list of candidates and that a
complete list of candidates appears on the sample ballot (if any
candidate is not listed in the pamphlet), and that (b), each
candidate's statement in the pamphlet is volunteered by the
candidate, and (if printed at the candidate's expense) is printed at
his or her expense.
(a) The elections official shall make a copy of the material
referred to in Section 13307 available for public examination in the
elections official's office for a period of 10 calendar days
immediately following the filing deadline for submission of those
documents. Any person may obtain a copy of the candidate's statements
from the elections official for use outside of the elections
official's office. The elections official may charge a fee to any
person obtaining a copy of the material, and the fee may not exceed
the actual cost incurred by the elections official in providing the
(b) (1) During the 10-calendar-day public examination period
provided by this section, any voter of the jurisdiction in which the
election is being held, or the elections official, himself or
herself, may seek a writ of mandate or an injunction requiring any or
all of the material in the candidates statements to be amended or
deleted. The writ of mandate or injunction request shall be filed no
later than the end of the 10-calendar-day public examination period.
(2) A peremptory writ of mandate or an injunction shall issue only
upon clear and convincing proof that the material in question is
false, misleading, or inconsistent with the requirements of this
chapter, and that issuance of the writ or injunction will not
substantially interfere with the printing or distribution of official
election materials as provided by law.
(3) The elections official shall be named as respondent and the
candidate who authored the material in question shall be named as the
real party in interest. In the case of the elections official
bringing the mandamus or injunctive action pursuant to this
subdivision, the board of supervisors of the county shall be named as
the respondent and the candidate who authored the material in
question shall be named as the real party in interest.
(a) (1) An elector may seek a writ of mandate alleging that
an error or omission has occurred, or is about to occur, in the
placing of a name on, or in the printing of, a ballot, sample ballot,
voter pamphlet, or other official matter, or that any neglect of
duty has occurred, or is about to occur.
(2) A peremptory writ of mandate shall issue only upon proof of
both of the following:
(A) That the error, omission, or neglect is in violation of this
code or the Constitution.
(B) That issuance of the writ will not substantially interfere
with the conduct of the election.
(3) The action or appeal shall have priority over all other civil
(4) The Secretary of State shall be named as a respondent or a
real party in interest in any proceeding under this section
concerning a measure or a candidate described in Section 15375,
except for a candidate for judge of the superior court.
(b) Venue for a proceeding under this section shall be exclusively
in Sacramento County in any of the following cases:
(1) The Secretary of State is named as a real party in interest or
as a respondent.
(2) A candidate for statewide elective office is named as a party.
(3) A statewide measure that is to be placed on the ballot is the
subject of the proceeding.
The officer charged with the duty of providing sample
ballots for any election at which vote by mail voter ballots may be
cast shall cause to be printed on the envelope containing the sample
ballot in heavy-faced gothic type, not smaller than 12-point, the
Notice: Vote By Mail Ballot Application Enclosed.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,
a county, city, city and county, or district using voting machines
may use reasonable facsimiles of the sample ballots sent to the
voters of the local jurisdiction as vote by mail ballots.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary,
a county, city, city and county, or district using vote tabulating
devices may use reasonable facsimiles of the sample ballots sent to
the voters of the local jurisdiction as vote by mail ballots.