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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.

Recall Elections – Elections Code 11000 – 11386

Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials, CA Secretary of State



Timelines for recalls, initiatives, and referendums are established by law and depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to the type of petition, petition approval process, number of registered voters, time to gather signatures, time to check signatures and administrative work. The ROV Office cannot predict dates of future elections or when the recall/initiative/referendum would be on the ballot. These timelines are provided as estimates only, and should not be considered legally binding. The deadlines referenced in the charts below are based upon completion of the previous step listed, unless otherwise noted. It is suggested that you review the relevant California Elections Code sections to determine specific code deadlines and how they apply to your situation.

State Recalls

Please refer to the Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials

Local (County, Municipal [City], and District) Recalls