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California Prop. 71 — Changing the start date for ballot initiatives


The California Constitution currently says that any ballot measure passed by voters will go into effect the day after election day, unless the proposition states otherwise.

Proposition 71 supporters say that’s not enough time.

For one thing, mail ballots can arrive up to three days after the election and still get counted.

So, if passed, Proposition 71 would impose a five-day waiting period after all votes have been fully and completely counted and the Secretary of State has certified the election.


This proposal was brought to the attention of the state legislature by an emeritus professor of history at California Polytechnic State University Pomona named Ralph Shaffer.

Shaffer was frustrated by the aftermath of the 2016 election, when a proposal to ban plastic bags went into effect the day after the election, even though thousands of mail-in ballots hadn’t been counted.

The plastic bag measure did get enough votes to pass in the end, but the concern was enough to get him talking to political leaders.

Both chambers of the California State Legislature now support the five day waiting period.

The Sacramento Bee even went ahead and said that of all the initiatives, this is the most needed.

MONEY: There’s no anticipated fiscal impact if this measure passes.


The only person who wrote an opposition to the measure is Gary B. Wesley. He’s an attorney who declared forty years ago that he would make it his mission to go against any unchallenged constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by the Legislature.


A yes vote for Prop 71 will change the effective start day for ballot measures. Vote no if you want the effective start date to stay the same.