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City Council Committee Approves Making Deadline For Ballot Submissions Sooner

The San Diego City Council meets, Dec. 5, 2016.
Susan Murphy
The San Diego City Council meets, Dec. 5, 2016.

San Diegans who want to submit prospective ballot measures directly to the city council for consideration for a spot in next year's election cycle are being encouraged by city officials to get them in as soon as possible.

Wednesday, the city council's Rules Committee unanimously endorsed an amendment to council policy that would move up the timeline for receiving ballot submission from the public. The change, which needs to go before the full city council for approval, would not affect citizens initiatives or referendums that go through the signature collection process.

City Clerk Elizabeth Maland told committee members that the amendment will provide "a little more clarity to the public about the process."


The City Clerk's Office is constrained by county Registrar of Voters deadlines. City officials need to deliver ballot measures to the county elections office in March for the June primary, and by August for the November general election.

That means the Rules Committee will need to hear the public proposals by this upcoming December or January for the primary election, and no later than June for the general election.

Sharon Spivak, an elections specialist with the City Attorney's Office, told the committee members she'd like to receive ballots as soon as possible.

"In a perfect world, it would be lovely to receive them this fall," Spivak said.

She said receiving the measures early would give city officials time to provide legal review and analysis of the measures along with help in drafting language.


The policy change would also affect submissions from city officials and departments or other public agencies.

More than two dozen ballot measures were proposed by the city council, staff and the public for placement on a ballot last year.

The policy amendments would require proposed measures to be heard twice at committee before advancing to the full city council. According to a staff report, city officials believe that provision would help ensure policy direction is provided by the council members to staff in regards to a measure.

The additional work at committee would also provide more transparency to the public, the report said.