A petition gatherer at a Donahue Schriber shopping center in Del Mar. Photo by Chris Jennewein
A petition gatherer for the No on One Paseo drive in 2015. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Backers of an initiative that would permit electronic signature gathering for state and local initiative, referendum, and recall petitions have received authorization to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Wednesday.

The initiative would require the secretary of state to develop a system allowing voters to view petitions on secretary of state’s website and to sign them electronically directly on the website, or to download, print and sign printed petitions.

If the initiative were to become law, it would result in one-time state and local government costs in the millions of dollars or more to develop an online system for electronic petition signature gathering, according to an analysis made by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.

The analysis also found there would be potential net costs or savings due to changed state and local government processes for verifying petition signatures.

Valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by Oct. 3 to qualify the measure for the ballot, Padilla said.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.