Instructions for Filing Arguments For or Against Local Ballot Measures
Primary arguments for or against local ballot measures may be submitted in writing for printing and distribution to the voters, pursuant to provisions of the California Elections Code. Rebuttals by authors of said arguments may be filed in like manner. The Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet will contain, if submitted, the following for each measure: argument in favor; argument against; rebuttal to argument in favor; and rebuttal to argument against.
Who Can File Arguments
Primary Argument: The governing body of the local jurisdiction or any member or members of that governing body, or any individual voter who is eligible to vote on the measure, or bona fide association of citizens, or any combination of these voters and associations may file a written argument for or against any measure.
Rebuttal Arguments: When an argument in favor and an argument against a measure have been selected, the Election Official will notify the authors of those arguments in order for them to prepare and submit rebuttal arguments. The authors of the primary arguments may also choose to authorize in writing any other person or persons to prepare, submit or sign the rebuttal argument.
How to Title an Argument
Printed arguments submitted to voters shall be titled either “Argument in Favor of Measure ___” or “Argument Against Measure ___”, and “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure ____” or “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure ___” respectively.
No primary argument shall exceed 300 words and no rebuttal argument shall exceed 250 words in length. Pursuant to the interpretation of Section 9 of the Elections Code by the Registration & Elections Division, the policy regarding word counting can be found here.
Ballot Argument Submission Form
This form is to be used to submit arguments for County measures, School District measures and Special District Measures and filed with the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division.
If you are submitting an argument for a municipal measure, contact your City/Town Clerk for the municipal ballot argument form and applicable procedures.
Signers to Appear on the Ballot Submission Form *NEW*
This form is to be used to file a list of individuals, associations, nonprofit organizations, or businesses to appear on the ballot that support or oppose the measure. It is filed at the same time as the primary arguments and is meant to keep voters informed on the identities of the individuals or associations/nonprofit organizations/businesses that support or oppose a measure. Supporters/opponents listed must either be signers of the primary argument or appear in the text of the argument.
Rebuttal Argument Submission Form
Only those people who submitted an accepted primary argument may file a rebuttal argument. A separate form is used to submit rebuttal arguments for County measures, School District measures and Special District Measures. It is filed with the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division. If you have questions, please contact the Elections Division at 650.312.5222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are submitting a rebuttal argument for a municipal measure, contact your City/Town Clerk for the municipal ballot rebuttal argument form and applicable procedures.
Checklist for Accepting Ballot Arguments
This form is completed by the Candidate Filing Officer to ensure submitted arguments conform to the requirements of the Elections Code. You do not need to complete this checklist – the candidate filing officer will do so when you submit your argument. This is included for your reference only.
Where to File Arguments
Primary and rebuttal arguments both in favor of and against a County ballot measure (a measure placed on the ballot by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors), a School District measure or a Special District (i.e. Water, Sanitary, Health Care) measure shall be submitted in writing to the following address:
San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer
San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division
40 Tower Road
San Mateo, CA 94402
Primary and rebuttal arguments both in favor of and against a municipal ballot measure shall be submitted in writing to the City/Town Clerk of that city or town.