Local Measures

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections
View a Printer Friendly Version of This Page

This page has general information about local measures. For election specific Ballot Measure Argument & Rebuttal information go to our Election Schedule page. The deadline for jurisdictions to place measures on the ballot is 88 calendar days before the date of the election.

City/Town Measures: You must contact the appropriate City/Town Clerk’s office. Arguments/rebuttals for City/Town measures must be filed only with the City/Town Clerk’s office, and may have different required deadlines and procedures.

Download a PDF version of the Ballot Measure Argument & Rebuttal Guidelines

Index

Guidelines for Arguments/Rebuttals

Guidelines for Ballot Measure Arguments and Rebuttals

County reference EC § 9160, et seq; Special District reference EC § 9501, et seq; Cities reference EC § 9281, et seq; Initiative Election reference EC § 9315, et seq; General reference EC § 9600, et seq.

  • General Rules for Primary Arguments

    • General Rules
      • Each primary argument must be filed with an Argument Submission Form, and an Argument Signature Form, included with this guide book.
      • No more than five signers for any argument.
      • If representing an organization, association, or governing body, filers and signers must have written authorization on letterhead signed by at least one of its principal officers or members and submitted with the argument.
      • Names and titles will appear in the Voter Information Pamphlet exactly as written on the Argument Signature Form.
      • Primary arguments are limited to 300 words.
      • Filers or signers are not required to sign the hard copy argument, but must sign the Argument Signature Form which meets the ‘accompanying’ requirement as stated in the Election Code.
    • Primary argument filers must be either
      • A governing body, authorized members of the governing body, or an authorized representative,
      • The individual voter, or bona fide association of citizens, or combination of both who are the bona fide proponents or sponsors of the measure,
      • Bona fide association of citizens,
      • Individual voters who are eligible to vote on the measure.
    • If one or no primary argument for or against

        If one or no primary argument for or against a measure is filed, there can be no rebuttal argument. A statement will be printed in the sample ballot that no argument(s) (for or against) the measure were filed.

    • If two or more primary arguments

        If two or more primary arguments for or against a measure are filed, the Registrar will choose one based on the order of precedence for choosing arguments per Election Codes 9166 or 9503. If all factors are equal the Registrar will choose the argument with the earliest ‘Received’ stamp date.

    • Copies of the opposing primary arguments

        Copies of the opposing primary arguments will be sent promptly by email to the opposing filer(s) after each deadline.



  • Where to Submit Arguments & Rebuttals

    • City Measures

        City/Town Measures: You must contact the appropriate City/Town Clerk’s office. Arguments/rebuttals for City/Town measures must be filed only with the City/Town Clerk’s office, and may have different required deadlines and procedures.

    • County, School & District Measures

        County, School & District Measures: File arguments and rebuttals with the Elections Department at the Marin Civic Center, Room 121, San Rafael, by the deadline dates.

      • Arguments/rebuttals must be filed with applicable forms included in this guide.
      • There is no timeframe outlined in the Elections Code as to the earliest date a primary argument can be submitted.
      • No more than five signers for any rebuttal argument. Names and titles will appear in the Voter Information Pamphlet exactly as written on the Argument Signature Form.
      • The argument filer (the author) is responsible for compiling and submitting all documents required by the Elections Office.
      • Anyone designated by the argument filer can deliver the argument to the Elections Office.

  • How to File Your Arguments & Rebuttals

    • How to File

        You may file your signed argument & rebuttal documents in person, by mail, fax or email. If by fax or email, original signatures must be submitted within 48 hours of receipt otherwise the arguments will not be accepted.


  • Public Examination of Any Measure Related Document

    • Public Examination

        Measure documents cannot be released to the public by this office prior to any filing deadline. A 10-day (calendar days) public review period of any measure-related document will begin on the day after a specific filing deadline. Any legal challenges must be filed within the 10-day public review period. Election Code §9190


  • Withdrawal of Arguments & Rebuttals

    • Withdrawing

        Proponents of arguments for or against a measure may in writing withdraw those arguments any time prior to and including the deadline date fixed for filing arguments. Election Code §9601


  • Definition of Terms:

    • Filer

        The FILER of any argument is the author, and is responsible for compiling and submitting all documents related to the argument. The FILER is not required to be the signer of an argument, and can allow others to sign in their place if authorization is in writing on entity letterhead. There may be more than one FILER, each completing the required forms. The FILER need not be a registered voter in the district if representing an organization, association, or governing body but must have written authorization on letterhead signed by at least one of its principal officers or members.

    • Signer(s)

        The SIGNER(S) may or may not be the author of the argument however their signature affirms their approval to the context of the argument. The SIGNER need not be a registered voter in the district if representing an organization, association, or governing body but must have written authorization on letterhead signed by at least one of its principal officers or members.

    • Bona Fide Association of Citizens

        A BONA FIDE ASSOCIATION OF CITIZENS is a recognized group of citizens bound together by a common interest or cause. The Elections Office generally considers several factors when determining the group’s qualifications, and may request certain types of documentation such as regular meeting minutes/agendas, bylaws, a current and active website, or other bona fide information.
        The names of the association’s authorizing principal officers and officials must be listed in the requested documentation.

How to Write Your Argument

How to Write Your Argument

  • Word Limits

      Primary arguments for and against measures are limited to 300 words – rebuttal arguments are limited to 250 words. See the How to Count Words section of this guide.

  • Form of arguments and rebuttals
    • Use Word format to create your argument and rebuttal
    • Use of bolding, CAPITALIZING, underlining italics and • bullets are permitted.
    • Arguments and rebuttals will be printed exactly as they are submitted. Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors cannot be corrected by the Elections Office.
    • Type title of argument or rebuttal in boldfaced CAPS on top of the page as applicable:
      • ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE _____, or
      • ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE _____, or
      • REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE _____, or
      • REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE _____.
    • Type the names of the authors and their titles at the bottom of the argument in the order that they should appear in the sample ballot.
    • Though not required, please email a Word version of your argument. It is still required to file a signed original with the Elections Office.

    • Complete and file the Argument Submission Form and the Argument Signature Form with your primary argument, and include the Rebuttal Argument Authorization Form (if applicable) with your rebuttal argument.

How to Count Words

How to Count Words

Ballot measure-related text are limited to a certain number of words.

The rules below explain how we count words. These rules are based on California law, and cannot be changed.

Before you file your material, count the words carefully. If you have too many words, we will ask you to revise your text.

Items counted as 1 word: Examples
Official jurisdiction names including State, City, County or District Brooklyn High School District, New Jersey, County of Marin, Palos Verdes
Symbols & # %
Proper nouns used to denote a specific person, place, or thing. Bay Area, Carnegie Hall, Sacramento River Delta, Levi Stadium, George Washington
Abbreviations & acronyms Dist., UCLA, U.S.M.C.
Measure designation Measure A
Any descriptive date July 21, 1989 or 7/21/89
Numbers written in numerals only, including telephone numbers 0, 12, 1,000,000, 415-473-6456
Numerals and letters or symbols that form a single word 100s $1000 10¢ 12th
Website & e-mail addresses www.marinvotes.org, elections@marincounty.org
Hyphenated words listed in a standard U.S. dictionary Attorney-at-law, ex-president
Items NOT counted as 1 word: Examples
Numbers that are spelled will be counted as a separate word one hundred = 2 words
Hyphenated words that are not listed in a standard U.S. dictionary published within the 10 years before the date of the election
Items NOT counted: Examples
Punctuation marks ? “ ” ! .
We do not count the words “Education and Qualifications” on a Candidate Statement.
We do not count the words that appear before “Education and Qualifications.”

Refer to Election Code §9 for word count regulations.

How Measures Get Their Letters

How Measures Get Their Letters

The Registrar of Voters assigns letters to local measures based on CA Elections Code Sections 13109 and 13116.

    • Timeline for Assigning Measure Letters

        All measures for elections are due to the Board of Supervisors with a copy to the Registrar of Voters by 88 days before an election. The Registrar of Voters assigns measure letters by the following Monday (E-85) and publishes a notice of the deadlines to submit arguments and rebuttals.

    • Order of Measures on the Ballot

        Section 13109 of the CA Elections Code sets forth the order of precedence of state propositions and local measures on the ballot as follows: State, Judicial, School, County, City, and District. The Code allows election officials to vary the order of county, school, city and special districts, but local measures must always follow state propositions, which are numbered.

    • Jurisdiction with Multiple Measures

        If a jurisdiction submits multiple measures, they are arranged in the order of their ordinance number. The Jurisdiction can also specify the order in which the measures should appear on the ballot.

    • Multiple Jurisdictions on Ballot

        When there are multiple jurisdictions on the ballot – for example, several cities, school districts or special districts, the jurisdictions are first arranged in alphabetical order within each type of jurisdiction before the letters are assigned.

    • Assignment of Letters

        When all measures have been arranged according to their jurisdictions and their order within the different types of jurisdictions, the letters are assigned beginning with the letter A and continuing until all of the measures have received a letter. If the number of measures in an election is more than 26 (the letter Z), the letters are doubled for subsequent measures, so that the next measure after Z would receive the letter AA, BB, CC and so on. For each election, the lettering starts over again with the letter A assigned to the first measure on the ballot in that election.

    • When a Jurisdiction Covers Two or More Counties

        When a jurisdiction covers two or more counties, the Election Official in each county can mutually agree to use the same letter for the measure.

    • If a Measure is Withdrawn

        The legislative body may amend or withdraw its measure by filing a resolution stating the specifics concerning the amendment or withdrawal not later than 83 days before an election. ( CA Elections Code Sec. 9604, 9605). An initiative or referendum measure may be withdrawn by filing a Notice of Withdrawal signed by all proponents. If a measure is withdrawn after the letters have been assigned, the letter which was assigned to that measure will not be used.