Robert Raymond, a Petitioner Who Wants to Circulate in California but Who Doesn't Live in California, Sues Nineteen California Counties

Robert R. Raymond is an individual who wishes to circulate petitions in California, even though he is domiciled in Wisconsin. He has been a professional petition circulator for twenty years. During the last week of August, he sued nineteen California counties, after ascertaining that these particular nineteen counties would not permit him to work in their counties. The cases pending in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District have been combined, as have the cases pending in the Eastern District (in California, the northern district is centered in San Francisco, and the eastern district is centered in Sacramento, although those districts have other courthouse locations).

The counties that are being sued are: Alpine, Amador, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Placer, Plumas, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Stanislaus, Tehama, and Yolo.

California legislators has been deaf to requests that they introduce bills to repeal residency requirements for circulators. It has been over four years since the 9th circuit struck down restrictions on out-of-state circulators, in Nader v Brewer, an Arizona case. California and Arizona are both in the 9th circuit. Since then, the Arizona legislature has repealed residency requirements for circulators of all types of petition. The top-two open primary initiative in Arizona this year, Prop. 121, probably would not have got on the Arizona ballot if the proponents had not been able to hire professional circulators who don’t live in Arizona.

A status conference on the cases in the Eastern District will be held on December 10, 2012, before U.S. District Court Judge Garland Burrell. The case in each county has its own case number, but one of the cases is Raymond v Howard, 2:12-cv-2215. That happens to be the case against Alpine County.

6 comments

  1. This is somewhat odd, because I’ve never heard of California enforcing a ban on out-of-state petition circulators.

  2. Richard Winger · · Reply

    All the petition forms require the circulator to sign under penalty of perjury that the circulator is a resident of California.

  3. Each State happens to be a sovereign independent NATION-STATE regarding its own election system.

    1776 DOI, last para.
    1777 Art. Confed.
    1783 U.S.A.- Brit Peace Treaty
    1787 Const Art. VII

    Citizen-Electors.

    ALL other folks are political aliens from another universe.

    Much too difficult for the MORON courts to understand.

  4. “Richard Winger Says:
    September 26th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    All the petition forms require the circulator to sign under penalty of perjury that the circulator is a resident of California.”

    I’ve done lots of petitioning in California, and I’ve never heard of an out-of-state petition circulator being denied the right to work on petitions or being forced to work with a witness in that state. They’ve always just signed off their declarations at whatever address at which they are staying, including a motel.

    There was at one time a prohibition in certain cities in California that prohibited non-city residents from circulating city petition unless they had a witness who was a city resident, however, this was overturned in a court case a few years ago. This happened in San Clemente.

    If this unconstitutional “law” in California is still on the books (that is, a ban on out-of-state petitioners), it would be nice to get it off the books, but I’ve never heard of it being a problem, although I suppose somebody could make it into a problem, so by all means, get it off the books.

  5. Andy,

    Some counties have even threatened to refer petitioners to the District Attorney and “recommend prosecution” for anyone circulating petitions in their county. Additionally, they would consider the listing of a motel to be “fraud” and “perjury” as several states, including Ohio and Virginia did in the 2004 cycle. Basically, the law remains on the books, the AG refuses to deny it, the Secretary of State advises counties to follow it, and the counties threaten to refer people for criminal prosecution if they find out about it. Hopefully, these cases will end that risk.

  6. As I said above, I’ve petitioned in California numerous times and I’ve never heard of this being a problem, and I know many people who would have been considered out-of-state petition circulators in California who had no problem being able to work there, and nobody ever objected to them putting down a motel address in the declaration. I’ve also never heard of any of their signatures ever having been thrown out.

    Also, there is no law against living in a motel. Some people live in motels all year, or most of a year.

    It is possible that there could be some District Attorneys that are trying to make an issue of it in order to make it harder for petitions to qualify for the ballot, so by all means, go ahead with the lawsuit and get this ugly “law” off the books. I’m just pointing out that I’ve never heard of it being a problem in California in the 12 years that I’ve been involved with this stuff.

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