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.
Recall Elections – Elections Code 11000 – 11386
Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials, CA Secretary of State
An initiative is the power of the electors to propose a new ordinance by which they will be governed.
County Initiatives – Election Codes 9100 – 9126
Municipal (City) Initiatives – Elections Code 9200 – 9226
District Initiatives – Elections Code 9300 – 9323
Other Relevant Statutes
California Constitution, Article 13C, Section 3 – Proposition 218, Right to Vote on Taxes Act
A referendum is the power of the electors to repeal an ordinance recently passed by a governing body.
County Referendums – Election Codes 9140 – 9147
Municipal (City) Referendums – Elections Code 9235 - 9247
State RecallsPlease refer to the Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials
Local (County, Municipal [City], and District) RecallsShow Information »
Please refer to the Statewide Initiative Guide on the California Secretary of State’s website