A plethora of initiatives is making its way through the process that will land a still unknown number of measures on the statewide ballot later this year.
Whether the proposal calls for legalizing recreational marijuana, banning single-use plastic bags, or dozens of other actions, voters may find themselves challenged by the number of measures and topics' complexity when they read their ballots.
Thus far, three initiatives have been certified for the November ballot; an additional four have qualified, but have yet to be certified.
Additionally, 70-plus proposals are circulating and collecting signatures, having been given a title and number by the state attorney general's office. More may be placed in the pipeline before the deadline. An initiative's signatures must be gathered and qualified by the secretary of state by June 30.
Scott Lay, a political analyst based in Sacramento, said the number of submitted measures is about triple the normal count.
"I’ve been in this area of politics for 20 years and we’ve never seen anything like this," he said.
There are two main reasons for the increase, according to Lay. For one, the price to file an initiative went up as of Jan. 1 — from $200 to $2,000. That deadline created a race to get initiatives started in the process before the rate hike.
Secondly, the historically low voter turnout numbers during the last gubernatorial race are used as the measure for how many signatures are needed to qualify. That means right now initiatives can qualify with far fewer names than usual.
Still, voters should not expect mounds of propositions. The vast majority will fail to qualify and, Lay said, voters will likely see around a dozen propositions come November.