Capitol Alert

California ballot measure signature bonanza continues

New caption: A Rocklin voter signs a petition in 2007 to help qualify a local referendum. Various campaigns are hurrying to gather signatures to qualify November 2016 ballot measures.
New caption: A Rocklin voter signs a petition in 2007 to help qualify a local referendum. Various campaigns are hurrying to gather signatures to qualify November 2016 ballot measures. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

With a suggested filing deadline later this month, proponents of would-be November ballot measures continue to shell out big bucks to try to collect hundreds of thousands of voter signatures.

As of late last week, signature-gatherers were paying $5.50 a signature for an initiative that would require that legislation be in print for three days before lawmakers vote. A criminal justice measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown was paying $5 a signature. Signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure were netting $2.

Besides paid gatherers, some measures’ supporters are putting in weekend volunteer hours at farmers markets, fun runs or anywhere else voter signatures might be had.

What the campaigns have been paying to circulate petitions won’t be known until next month. Daily contribution filings, though, show that ballot measure campaigns have received major donations in recent weeks, some of it likely in preparation for a fall campaign.

The campaign to qualify a measure that would extend income tax increases on wealthy filers, for example, has reported raising $9 million since March 1. The legislative days-in-print effort has raised $4.6 million, all of it from Republican benefactor Charles Munger, Jr.

Measures changing state law need almost 365,880 valid voter signatures while constitutional amendments need 585,407.

The Secretary of State’s Office has a “suggested” deadline of April 26 for campaigns to file signatures with county election offices. The only hard deadline is June 30, when state law requires officials to determine which measures will go before voters in November.

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