Don’t Let the Virus Eat Our Constitution

Call for Immediate Action to Save Californians’ Constitutional Right to Initiative and Referendum elections.

‘Save Our Point Molate’ calls on Governor and Secretary of State to change rules in face of Coronavirus Emergency.  

On March 19, ‘Save Our Point Molate’ sent a letter to Governor Newsom and California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, who under the California Election Code have the power to: “Establish the procedures and guidelines for voting in the event of a natural disaster or other state of emergency.” 

This is necessary in order to preserve Californians’ constitutional rights.

Save Our Point Molate call on the Governor and Secretary to:

  • Address how the current COVID-19 state of emergency has interfered with the circulation of initiatives and referendum petitions.
  • Modify signature gathering deadlines and election dates.
  • Consider modifying signature requirements for qualification as necessary
  • Allow for electronic methods for signature gathering.

For more than 100 years California has been a national model for citizen voter initiatives that empower its people to make choices on issues that impact their lives.  The State Constitution gives the people of the State the right to make laws through the initiative process. That right is now in peril not simply because we have a Shelter in Place Order that keeps people away from public venues where signature gatherers can ask them to sign an initiative petition but, more importantly, because the coronavirus is so transmittable that any signature gathering poses an unacceptable public health risk.

Last weekend ‘Save Our Point Molate’ a coalition of residents and community organizations in the city of Richmond California had 40 signature collectors ready to begin signing up 10,000 city voters to put an initiative on their November ballot.  The proposed ballot measure would establish most of the city owned public land and water on the 422-acre Point Molate headlands as a public park.  Presently the city plans to sell it to a southern California developer for an exclusive housing tract.  The deadline for turning in signatures was to be April 28.

For more go to:

As with many other municipal and state initiatives across California the coronavirus emergency measures, including shelter in place orders in the nine Bay Area counties, make it impossible for in-person signature gathering that is the only method allowed at this time.  Without a quick resolution from the Governor and Secretary not only will Richmond residents be denied the right to vote but so will millions of other Californians across the state.

David Helvarg, Point Molate Alliance, 510-778-8470

Pam Stello, Point Molate Alliance

Norman La Force, Sierra Club & SPRAWLDEF

Robert Cheasty, Citizens for East Shore Parks

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