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LEGISLATION PASSED IN 2013

AS TAKEN FROM

THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES

Arizona


Bill Number Session Status Session Law

HB 2305 Regular Session Passed 2013 Ariz. Sess. Laws, Chap. 209
  Subcategories: | Application for Petition | Petition Circulators | Verification of Signatures |
  Description: 19-103. Legislative findings and intent; strict compliance
The Legislature finds and determines that strict compliance with the application and enforcement of the constitutional and statutory requirements for both the initiative and the referendum process provide the surest method for safeguarding the integrity and accuracy of the initiative and referendum process. Therefore, the Legislature declares that the constitutional and statutory requirements for the initiative and referendum be strictly construed and that persons using either the initiative or referendum process strictly comply with those constitutional and statutory requirements.

Stipulates that the secretary of state's time-and-date-marked copy of the measure with its proposed text set out in full with the original and the amended text constitutes the full and correct copy and is the only valid copy of the title and text of the measure for circulation for signatures. Signatures that are collected with any copy of the measure that is not a facsimile of the time-and-date-marked copy with title and text that is identical to the time-and-date-marked copy are invalid.

Stipulates that when an initiative application is received by the secretary of state and marked with an official time and date of receipt, the time-and-date-marked text that accompanied the application constitutes the official copy of the text of the measure and shall be used in all instances as the text of the measure. For any subsequent change in the text of the measure, the applicant shall file a new application and text, shall be assigned a new official serial number, and shall use as the text of the measure or constitutional amendment the time-and-date-marked text that accompanied the new application.

Requires the political committee filing petitions to organize the signature sheets and group them by the county of residence of the majority of the persons signing that sheet, by circulator on that sheet, and by the notary public who notarized the circulator's signature. Permits the secretary of state to return as unfiled any signature sheets that are not so organized and grouped.

Permits any political committee to submit at the time of filing its petition a list of all petition circulators who circulated that petition and a copy of a background check performed on each circulator. If the background check was performed and provided by a person or entity who was engaged in an arm's length transaction with the the committee, including any of its employees, vendors, contractors, or subcontractors, any challenge to those petition circulators must demonstrate to the court by clear and convincing evidence that the circulator was not eligible to register to vote in Arizona.

 


Arkansas


Bill Number Session Status Session Law

SB 1118 Regular Session Passed 2013 Ark. Acts, Act 1432
  Subcategories: | Petition Circulators | Signing Petitions | Violations |
  Description: Creates in Title 5, Criminal Offenses, Chapter 55, Fraud Against the Government, a new section:

5-55-601. Petition fraud.
(a) As used in this section, "petition" means a petition under § 3-8- 201 et seq., § 3-8-701 et seq., or § 7-9-101 et seq.
(b) A person commits the offense of petition fraud:
    (1) If the person knowingly:
        (A) Signs a name other than his or her name to a petition;
        (B) Signs his or her name more than one (1) time to a petition; or
        (C) Signs a petition when he or she is not legally entitled to sign the petition;
    (2) If the person acting as a canvasser, notary, sponsor as defined under § 7-9-101, or agent of a sponsor:
        (A) Signs a name other than his or her own to a petition;
        (B) Prints a name, address, or birth date other than his or her own to a petition unless the signor requires assistance due to disability and the person complies with § 7-9-103;
        (C) Solicits or obtains a signature to a petition knowing that the person signing is not qualified to sign the petition;
        (D) Knowingly pays a person any form of compensation in exchange for signing a petition as a petitioner;
        (E) Accepts or pays money or anything of value for obtaining signatures on a petition when the person acting as a canvasser, sponsor, or agent of a sponsor knows that the person acting as a canvasser's name or address is not included on the sponsor's list filed with the Secretary of State under § 7-9-601; or
        (F) Knowingly misrepresents the purpose and effect of the petition or the measure affected for the purpose of causing a person to sign a petition;
    (3) If the person acting as a canvasser, knowingly makes a false statement on a petition verification form;
    (4) If the person acting as a notary, knowingly fails to witness a canvasser's affidavit by witnessing the signing of the instrument in person and either personally knowing the signor or by being presented with proof of the identity of the signer; or
    (5) If the person acting as a sponsor, files a petition or a part of a petition with the official charged with verifying the signatures knowing that the petition or part of the petition contains one (1) or more false or fraudulent signatures unless each false or fraudulent signature is clearly stricken by the sponsor before filing.
(c) Petition fraud is a Class A misdemeanor .

 

SB 821 Regular Session Passed 2013 Ark. Acts, Act 1413
  Subcategories: | Ballot Title | Judicial Review | Legislative Referendum | Payment for Signatures | Petition Circulators | Petition Format | Violations |
  Description: Legislative findings.

(a) The General Assembly finds that:

(1) Through Amendment 7 to the Arkansas Constitution, the people of Arkansas have reserved to themselves the power to propose legislative measures, laws, and amendments to the Arkansas Constitution and to enact or reject the proposed measures, laws, and amendments at the polls independently of the General Assembly;

(2) The citizens of this state have an expectation that their right of initiative and referendum will be respected and that the process of gathering signatures of registered voters will be free of fraud, forgery, and other illegal conduct by sponsors, canvassers, notaries, and petitioners;

(3) Sponsors and paid canvassers may have an incentive to knowingly submit forged or otherwise invalid signatures in order to obtain additional time to gather signatures and submit supplemental petitions;

(4) In 2012, sponsors of four (4) separate initiative petitions submitted petitions to the Secretary of State containing over two hundred ninety-eight thousand (298,000) purported signatures of registered voters;

(5) Of the four petitions submitted, none had an initial validity rate in excess of fifty-six percent (56%), and three (3) of the petitions had an initial validity rate below thirty-one percent (31%); and

(6) Of the three petitions with the lowest initial validity rate, there were widespread instances of apparent fraud, forgery, and false statements in the signature-gathering process.

(b) It is further found and determined by the General Assembly that if an effort is not made to address these issues:

(1) Untrained paid canvassers will continue to obtain and submit forged and otherwise facially invalid signatures; and

(2) Unscrupulous sponsors and canvassers will continue to have an incentive to submit forged and otherwise facially invalid signatures and make false statements to the Secretary of State.

© It is further found and determined by the General Assembly that if this act becomes law:

(1) Sponsors and canvassers of proposed initiative measures will be held more accountable for their actions in gathering signatures from registered voters; and

(2) The earlier determination of the insufficiency of petitions rife with false statements, forged signatures, and otherwise facially invalid signatures will result in less confusion and frustration with the initiative process.

(d) For the reasons stated in this section, the General Assembly finds that passage of this act will make sponsors and canvassers more accountable to the people of this state, facilitate the initiative process, conserve state resources, and help to restore the confidence and trust of the people in the initiative process.

Provisions of the Bill

- Requires that canvassers be at least 18 years of age, and that they register with the secretary of state prior to circulating a petition.

- Makes each of the following a Class A Misdemeanor:
(1) Signing a name other than one's own to a petition;
(2) Printing a name, address, or birth date other than one's own to a petition unless the signer requires assistance due to disability and the person complies with § 7-9-103;
(3) Soliciting or obtaining a signature to a petition knowing that the person signing is not qualified to sign the petition;
(4) Knowingly paying a person any form of compensation in exchange for signing a petition as a petitioner;
(5) Accepting or paying money or anything of value for obtaining signatures on a petition when the person acting as a canvasser, sponsor, or agent of a sponsor knows that the person acting as a canvasser is not registered with the Secretary of State or that his or her registration has been terminated or revoked.
(6) As a sponsor, filing a petition part with the official charged with verifying the signatures knowing that the petition part contains one or more false or fraudulent signatures unless each false or fraudulent signature is clearly stricken by the sponsor before filing.

- When the official charged with verifying the signatures has reasonable grounds to believe that one or more signatures on a petition is forged, excluding signatures apparently signed by one spouse for another, the official shall report the suspected forgery and basis for suspecting forgery to the Department of Arkansas State Police, in the case of a statewide petition; or the prosecuting attorney of the county, in the case of a local petition.

- Requires that petitions be circulated in a format determined by the secretary of state, and that they indicate whether a canvasser is paid or a volunteer.

- Changes procedures for counting signatures. Upon the initial filing of an initiative or referendum petition, the official charged with verifying the signatures is required to:
(1) Perform an initial count of the signatures; and
(2) Determine whether the petition contains, on its face and before verification of the signatures of registered voters, the designated number of signatures required by the Arkansas Constitution and statutory law in order to certify the measure for the election ballot.
(b) A petition part and all signatures appearing on the petition part shall not be counted for any purpose by the official charged with verifying the signatures, including the initial count of signatures, if one or more of the following is true:
(1) The petition is not an original petition, including without limitation a petition that is photocopied or is a facsimile transmission;
(2) The petition lacks the signature, printed name, and residence address of the canvasser or is signed by more than one canvasser;
(3) The canvasser is a paid canvasser who was not registered or whose registration was terminated or revoked when a petitioner signed the petition;
(4) The canvasser verification is not notarized, is notarized by more than one notary, or lacks a notary signature or a notary seal;
(5) The canvasser verification is dated earlier than the date on which a petitioner signed the petition;
(6) The petition fails to comply with § 7-9-104 or § 7-9-105, including the lack of the exact popular name or ballot title approved by the Attorney General for a statewide initiative, a discrepancy in the text of the initiated or referred measure, or the lack of an enacting clause in a statewide petition for an initiated act;
(7) The petition part of a statewide petition clearly and unmistakably contains signatures of petitioners from more than one county unless each signature of a petitioner from another county is clearly stricken before the filing of the petition with the Secretary of State; or
(8) The petition part has a material defect that, on its face, renders the petition part invalid.
© The following signatures shall not be counted for any purpose by the official charged with verifying the signatures, including the initial count of signatures:
(1) A signature that is not an original signature;
(2) A signature that is obviously not that of the purported petitioner;
(3) A signature that is illegible and is accompanied by no personally identifying information;
(4) A signature for which the corresponding printed name, address, or birth date is written by someone other than the signer except under circumstances of disability of the signer; and
(5) A signature that has any other material defect that, on its face, renders the signature invalid.
(d) If the initial count of signatures under this section is less than the designated number of signatures required by the Arkansas Constitution and statutory law in order to certify the measure for the ballot and the deadline for filing petitions has passed, the official charged with verifying the signatures shall declare the petition insufficient and shall not accept and file any additional signatures to cure the insufficiency of the petition on its face.

- Permits the General Assembly to designate in the joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution the popular name and ballot title of the amendment for the election ballot.

- Repeals a provision that allows the secretary of state to declare an initiative legally insufficient.

- Creates 7-9-601, which specifies process for hiring, training and registration of paid canvassers.

- Contains an emergency clause.

 

SJR 16 Regular Session Passed  
  Subcategories: | Signature Requirements | Verification of Signatures |
  Description: [NOTE: This amendment must be approved by voters in the November 2014 election before taking effect.]
Permits amendment of an insufficient petition only if the petition contains valid signatures of legal voters equal to at least 75% of the number of statewide signatures of legal voters required at least 75% of the required number of signatures of legal voters from each of at least 15 counties of the state.

 


Idaho


Bill Number Session Status Session Law

SB 1108 Regular Session Passed 2013 Idaho Sess. Laws, Chap. 214
  Subcategories: | Signature Requirements-Geographic Distribution |
  Description: Amends existing law relating to initiative and referendum elections to revise signature requirements. Adds geographic distribution as follows: 6% of the qualified electors at the time of the last general election in each of at least 18 legislative districts; provided however, the total number of signatures shall be equal to or greater than 6% of the qualified electors in the state at the time of the last general election. Revises provisions relating to the form of petitions to include legislative district on the signature sheet.

 

SB 1191 Regular Session Passed 2013 Idaho Sess. Laws, Chap. 336
  Subcategories: | Petition Circulators | Petition Format |
  Description: 1. Amends petition format requirements: designation of legislative district must be marked "for official use only."
2. Removes requirement that each petition sheet contain only signatures from one legislative district; retains requirement that they contain signatures from only one county.
3. Removes from circulator oath language pertaining to the legislative district of signers; adds certification that circulator believes each signer noted his/her address correctly

 


Missouri


Bill Number Session Status Session Law

HB 117 Regular Session Passed Not yet available.
  Subcategories: | Circulation Period | Court Challenges | Petition Circulators | Public Hearings | Withdrawl of Initiative |
  Description: Requires petition circulators to swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that all statements made by him/her are true and that s/he has never been convicted of, found guilty of, or pled guilty to any offense involving forgery; requires circulators to swear that they are at least 18 years of age and to reveal in the oath whether or not they are paid to circulate the petition, and if paid, to list the payer. (Effective Nov. 4, 2014)

Deems a circulator to be registered at the time such circulator delivers a signed circulator's affidavit pursuant to section 116.030, with respect to a referendum petition, or section 116.040, with respect to an initiative petition, to the office of the secretary of state. (Effective Nov. 4, 2014)

Stipulates that no person shall qualify as a petition circulator who has been convicted of, found guilty of, or pled guilty to an offense involving forgery under the laws of this state or an offense under the laws of any other jurisdiction if that offense would be considered forgery under the laws of this state. (Effective Nov. 4, 2014)

Makes the following acts signature fraud:
(1) Intentionally submitting petition signature sheets with the knowledge that the person whose name appears on the signature sheet did not actually sign the petition; or
(2) Causing a voter to sign a petition other than the one the voter intended to sign; or
(3) Forging or falsifying signatures; or
(4) Knowingly accepting or offering money or anything of value to another person in exchange for a signature on a petition.

Any person who knowingly causes a petition circulator's signatures to be submitted for counting, and who either knows that such circulator has violated subsection of this section or, after receiving notice of facts indicating that such person may have violated subsection 1 of this section, causes the signatures to be submitted with reckless indifference as to whether such circulator has complied with subsection 1 of this section, shall also be deemed to have committed the crime of petition signature fraud. Any person employed by or serving as an election authority, that has reasonable cause to suspect a person has committed petition signature fraud, shall immediately report or cause a report to be made to the appropriate prosecuting authorities. Failure to so report or cause a report to be made shall be a class A misdemeanor.

Any person who submits a sample sheet to or files an initiative petition with the secretary of state may withdraw the petition upon written notice to the secretary of state. If such notice is submitted to the secretary of state, the proposed petition shall no longer be circulated by any person, committee, or other entity. The secretary of state shall vacate the certification of the official ballot title within three days of receiving notice of the withdrawal.

Within thirty days of issuing certification that the petition contains a sufficient number of valid signatures pursuant to section 116.150, the joint committee on legislative research shall hold a public hearing in Jefferson City to take public comments concerning the proposed measure. Such hearing shall be a public meeting under chapter 610. Within five business days after the end of the public hearing, the joint committee on legislative research shall provide a summary of the hearing to the secretary of state or his or her designee and the secretary of state shall post a copy of the summary on the website of the office of the secretary of state.

Any action brought to challenge a ballot title or fiscal note that is not fully and finally adjudicated within one hundred eighty days of filing, including all appeals, shall be extinguished, unless a court extends such period upon a finding of good cause for such extension. Such good cause shall consist only of court-related scheduling issues and shall not include requests for continuance by the parties.(Effective Nov. 4, 2014)

If a committee or person, except the individual submitting the sample sheet, is funding any portion of the drafting or submitting of the sample petition sheet, the person submitting the sample sheet shall submit a copy of the filed statement of committee organization required under subsection 5 of section 130.021 showing the date the statement was filed. Within two business days of receipt of a petition sample sheet, the office of the secretary of state shall conspicuously post on its website the text of the proposed measure, a disclaimer stating that such text may not constitute the full and correct text as required under section 116.050, and the name of the person or organization submitting the sample sheet. The secretary of state's failure to comply with such posting shall be considered a violation of chapter 610 and subject to the penalties provided under subsection 3 of section 610.027. The posting shall be removed within three days of either the withdrawal of the petition under section 116.115 or the rejection for any reason of the petition. Changes from 30 to 15 days the date by which the secretary must notify sponsors of the approval or rejection of the sample petition. (Effective Nov. 4, 2014)

Requires secretary to make a copy of the sample petition available on the secretary of state's website. For a period of fifteen days after the petition is approved as to form, the secretary of state shall accept public comments regarding the proposed measure and provide copies of such comments upon request. Changes from 10 to 23 days after approval of the sample petition the date by which the secretary must prepare and transmit to the attorney general a summary statement of the proposal.(Effective Nov. 4, 2014)

Signatures for statutory initiative petitions shall be filed not later than six months prior to the general election during which the petition's ballot measure is submitted for a vote, and shall also be collected not earlier than the day after the day upon which the previous general election was held. (Effective Nov. 4, 2014)

 


North Dakota


Bill Number Session Status Session Law

HB 1372 Regular Session Passed 2013 N.D. Sess. Laws, Chap. 165
  Subcategories: | Miscellaneous |
  Description: Provides that upon submission of the petitions to the secretary of state, the petitions are considered filed and may not be returned to the sponsoring committee for the purpose of continuing the circulation process or resubmitting the petitions at a later time.

 

HB 1402 Regular Session Passed 2013 N.D. Sess. Laws, Chap. 164
  Subcategories: | Signing Petitions |
  Description: Requires that a signer's name be legibly printed on a petition, and includes zip code in the required information.

 

HB 1451 Regular Session Passed 2013 N.D. Sess. Laws, Chap. 174
  Subcategories: | Ballot Measure Committees | Campaign Finance Provisions | Petition Circulators |
  Description: Requires the sponsoring committee or the individual responsible for submission of the petition to, within one hundred eighty days after the approval of a petition to initiate or refer a measure or to recall an official or after the submission of a petition to convene a grand jury as provided under section 29-10.1-02, to file a statement with the secretary of state which discloses whether petition circulators have been or will be paid for the circulation of petitions and which lists the total amount of money paid or which is expected to be paid to circulators.

 

HCR 3034 Regular Session Passed  
  Subcategories: | Circulation Period | Deadline for Filing Petition | Judicial Review |
  Description: Amends the constitution to change the submission deadline for initiative petitions from 90 to 120 days before the election.

Requires that any proceedings brought against any petition upon any ground must be filed with the supreme court no later than seventy-five days before the date of the statewide election at which the measure is to be voted upon.
If approved by the electors, this measure becomes effective on January 1, 2015.

 


Ohio


Bill Number Session Status Session Law

SB 47 Regular Session Passed  
  Subcategories: | Court Challenges | Deadline for Filing Petition | Petition Circulators | Petition Format | Signing Petitions | Verification of Signatures |
  Description: Clarifies that no petition presented to or filed with the secretary of state, a board of elections, or any other public office for the purpose of the holding of an election on any question or issue may be resubmitted after it is rejected as containing insufficient signatures.

Requires that petition circulators be at least 18 in addition to being residents of the state, and stipulates that no person shall be entitled to sign any petition, unless the person is registered as an elector and resides in a precinct in which the candidacy or issue that is the subject of the petition will appear on the ballot (removes 30-day residency requirement).

Requires the secretary of state to prescribe a form for part petitions to be submitted during the ten-day period beginning on the first day following the date that the secretary of state notifies the chairperson of the committee interested in the petition that the petition has an insufficient number of valid signatures. The secretary of state shall provide to each particular committee a different form that contains a unique identifier and that is separate from the forms prescribed in divisions (A), (B), and (C) of this section. The secretary of state shall make the form available to the committee only as described in division (F) of section 3519.16 of the Revised Code. The form shall not be considered a public record until after the secretary of state makes it available to the committee under that division. The form shall comply with the requirements of Section 1g of Article II, Ohio Constitution and, except as otherwise provided in this division, with the requirements of divisions (A), (B), and (C) of this section. Requires that part-petitions be numbered sequentially and sorted by the committee according to county. When filing part-petitions, requires that the following also be filed:
(1) An electronic copy of the petition along with a verification that the electronic copy is a true representation of the original filed paper petition;
(2) A summary of the number of part-petitions filed per county, and the number of signatures on each part-petition;
(3) An index of the electronic copy of the petition.

Clarifies that from the time the petition is initially filed with the secretary of state and until the part-petitions are returned to the secretary of state by the boards of elections after a determination of sufficiency under section 3519.15 of the Revised Code, any request for the inspection or copying of the original petition filed with the secretary of state under Chapter 149. of the Revised Code is fulfilled if the secretary of state permits the inspection of or provides copies of the electronic copy of the petition filed by the circulator.

Changes from 60 to 110 days before the election the date by which part-petitions must be returned to the secretary of state. Requires secretary to determine sufficiency by 105th day before the election. Requires petitions submitted to cure a deficiency be verified by 65th day before election.

No additional signatures shall be collected or submitted to the secretary of state by the committee interested in the petition, or by any person acting on behalf of the committee, during the period beginning on the date that the petition is initially submitted to the secretary of state and ending on the date that the secretary of state notifies the chairperson of the committee that the petition has an insufficient number of valid signatures. If the committee, or any person acting on behalf of the committee, submits additional signatures, the signatures must be on the form provided by the secretary of state under this division and only signatures that were signed and collected during the ten-day period to collect and submit additional signatures may be submitted.

Discrepancies between the electronic copy of a petition filed under division (B)(1) of this section and the original paper petition filed with the secretary of state shall not render the petition invalid. Such discrepancies, if the product of fraud, shall be subject to criminal penalties under section 3599.36 of the Revised Code.

Clarifies in law that, pursuant to Section 1g of Article II, Ohio Constitution, the supreme court of Ohio shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all challenges to initiative and referendum petitions.

 


Oregon


Bill Number Session Status Session Law

SB 148 Regular Session Passed 2013 Or. Laws, Chap. 519
  Subcategories: | Petition Circulators |
  Description: Requires chief petitioners to perform criminal records checks on paid petition circulators; allows an agent on behalf of a chief petitioner to submit signatures on initiative petition; limits keeping of accounts to statewide initiative or referendum petitions; allows a district attorney or city attorney to correct clerical errors in a ballot title for county or city measures; defines a clerical error; creates whistleblower protections for persons paid to obtain signatures on petitions.

 

SB 154 Regular Session Passed 2013 Or. Laws, Chap. 759
  Subcategories: | Petition Circulators |
  Description: Requires organization or entity that pays persons to obtain signatures on specified election petitions to register with Secretary of State; requires one or more individuals who represent organization or entity to complete training prescribed by Secretary and affirm that organization or entity operates in compliance with State election law; requires the Secretary to adopt rules necessary for the registration of such organizations or entities.

 

 

...ordinary men and women may often feel unmotivated to exert their citizenship, either because they cannot tell the difference between the different alternatives, or because they have lost faith in the political classes, or because they feel that the really important issues are not in their power to decide.
-- Patricio Aylwin Azócar


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
-- Margaret Mead


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