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Recalls, Initiatives and Referendums
This page provides general guidance on recalls, initiatives and referendums.
The staff of the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters (ROV) Office are forbidden by California legal codes from practicing law or providing legal advice. This prohibition includes giving advice or direction about recall/initiative wording or legal sufficiency. Due to public interest, ROV is providing the information below about recalls, initiatives, and referendums. Members of the public are responsible for determining the legal requirements relating to these procedures. All parties involved in a recall, initiative, or referendum petition are advised to seek legal counsel. It is incumbent upon proponents to follow the processes required by California law, including but not limited to the California Elections Code.
ROV is the elections official for counties and special/school districts. Each city/town clerk is the elections official for their respective cities and should be contacted regarding city/town recalls, initiatives, and referendums.
Recall is the power of the voters to remove elected officials before their terms expire. It has been a fundamental part of our governmental system since 1911 and has been used by voters to express their dissatisfaction with their elected representatives.
An initiative is the power of the electors to propose a new ordinance by which they will be governed.
Other Relevant Statutes
A referendum is the power of the electors to repeal an ordinance recently passed by a governing body.