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Referendum Petition Process

A referendum is the procedure by which the people approve or reject a law already passed by the legislature. The referendum petition must be filed within 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session at which the law was passed in order for it to appear on a ballot.

    Application Process:

    • Preparation of act to be referred by a referendum petition committee for the application.
    • The collection of signatures by the referendum petition committee of 100 qualified voters who agree to act as sponsors for petition circulation purposes.
    • The application is presented to the Lieutenant Governor for review with the assistance from the Department of Law and Division of Elections.
    • Notification to the referendum petition committee by the Lieutenant Governor certifying or denying the application. If certified, the Lieutenant Governor will provide to the referendum committee the ballot title and the true and impartial summary.

    Referendum Petition Booklet Process:


    • Upon notification that an application is certified, the Division of Elections prepares 500 referendum petition booklets for the referendum committee.
    • Upon notification to the referendum committee by the Division of Elections that the booklets are ready for distribution, the referendum committee has 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session at which the act was passed to collect signatures of qualified voters.
    • The referendum committee must gather signatures of qualified voters equal in number to 10 percent of those who voted in the preceding General Election and are residents of at least three-fourths of the house districts of the state and who, in each of the house districts, are equal in number to at least seven percent of those who voted in the preceding General Election in the house district.
    • The referendum committee files the referendum petition with the Division of Elections.

    Signature Review Process:


    • The Division of Elections reviews the signatures
    • Notification to the referendum committee from the Lieutenant Governor of whether the petition is sufficient (i.e., there were enough qualified signatures) to appear on the ballot.
    • Preparation of the ballot language, if successful.

Prohibited Subjects:

The referendum process cannot be applied to:

  • Dedicate revenues.
  • Make or repeal appropriations.
  • Enact local or special legislation.
  • Enact laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.

Legal References:

The referendum petition procedures appear in Article XI of Alaska Constitution, Alaska Election Law and the Alaska Administrative Code. Click the below links to view the Alaska Constitution, Alaska statutes and regulations:

You may view and/or print an outline that summarizes the statutes and regulations, as well as to view sample pages and view the number of signatures required. This information should not be considered a substitute for reading the statutes and regulations in their entirety.

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