Elk Grove City Clerk Offers Clarification on Some Points of Recent Petition Submission

November 23, 2016 |

In the aftermath of the recent whirlwind of activity in Elk Grove over the petition drive, the Elk Grove City Clerk's office has provided clarification on some aspects regarding the process.

That petition, which was submitted on Monday, November 21 seek to reverse an October 12 vote by the Elk Grove City Council releasing the Howard Hughes Company from a development agreement on their unfinished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove shopping center. By rescinding the development agreement, the property title becomes free of restrictions and allows HHC to sell about 36-acres of the development to the Wilton Rancheria.

As a recognized tribe by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Wilton Rancheria has proposed a $400-million casino resort for the parcel they hope to acquire from HHC. To be placed into Federal trust by the BIA and to be considered for use as a gaming site, rules require there be no encumbrances on the title.  

The petition seeking a voter referendum is the first in Elk Grove's 16-year history as a city. 

The following is a summary of a conversation with Elk Grove City Clerk Jason Lindgren on the processing of the petition.

How many signatures are required for the petition to be considered and how is that number determined?

There needs to be at least 8,900 signatures gathered. This number is based on a requirement of at least 10-percent of registered voters in Elk Grove for the most recent election. There were about 89,000 registered voters in Elk Grove. The organizers gathered about 14,900 signatures.

How many days does the City Clerk's office have to determine if the petition is qualified?

By statute, we have 30 business days to complete the process. Given the Holiday schedule, this will extend the schedule. (Based on EGN's count given the City has five scheduled holidays, the target date will be January 9, 2017)

How will the process proceed?

It will be a two thong approach working with Sacramento County. State code does allow for a random sampling so the County will do a random sampling to verify our findings. The City Clerk's office will do a work flow analysis and verify signatures against the voters list from the County.  

If the signatures are found to be in compliance, and verified by the City Clerk's office, who determines the election date?

For clarification, this petition is not an initiative, rather it is an referendum which is quite different. Referendums have only 30 days to get the signatures. There are fewer requirements. A referendum says we do not approve of a local action and it seeks to change that action. At this point, we are not quite sure what the parameters are for scheduling the special election.

If placed on a ballot, voters then will be asked to either uphold the original City Council vote or to rescind. The City will have Sacramento County conduct the election and we will coordinate with them on a date.

If there is a special election, who will determine how many polling places will be open?

The County will conduct the election, so they will have the same polling places as during a regular election.

If a special election is scheduled, can other items be added to the ballot such as the forthcoming District 4 City Council vacancy?

Yes, the City pays the full cost of the election regardless of how many items are added to the ballot. Obviously if the ballot were to exceed one page there would be additional cost. The City Council could place the District 4 vacancy on the ballot if they so choose.   

There are some items like certain types of sales taxes that cannot be added. Much of that depends on the type of  tax increase and whether or not an office is also placed on the ballot. 

Could the petition sponsors reimburse the City for the cost of the special election?

We think there is nothing in the statute that would prevent someone from giving the City money to hold a special election, but we have not heard it ever being done.

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