Initiative and Referendum Procedures
Initiative provides Reading voters with the ability to draft and propose ordinances to the body of Council. If Council fails to adopt the ordinance, the voters will have the opportunity to approve or reject the ordinance the next election.
Referendum provides Reading voters with the ability to seek the reconsideration of an ordinance adopted by City Council. If Council fails to repeal the ordinance, voters will have the ability to either approve or reject the ordinance at the next election.
Requirements for Initiative and Referendum:
• You must be a qualified voter and a legal resident of the City of Reading.
• You must obtain a Petitioner’s Committee Affidavit and Petition Form from the City Clerk’s Office or the City’s web site.
• The Petitioner’s Committee Affidavit shall state the names and addresses of 5 qualified voters who will constitute the Petitioner’s Committee and be responsible for:
* Circulating the petition.
* Filing the petition in proper form, following the regulations set out by the Charter and the Initiative and Referendum Ordinance.
* Specifying the address to which all notices to the committee are to be sent
* Setting out in full the proposed initiative ordinance or the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.
• In case of Referendum, the Petitioner’s Committee Affidavit must be filed in 10 days of the adoption of the ordinance.
• Within 5 days after the Petitioner’s Committee Affidavit is filed and validated by the City Clerk, the City Clerk shall issue the appropriate petition blanks to the petitioners (for both Initiative and Referendum).
Forms and Content:
• Each petition shall be in uniform size and style on 8 ½ x 11 paper, marked in sequence and/or contains a serial number.
• Each petition pack shall contain one petition, an Affidavit of Circulator, as defined in Section 1-1105 and the complete text of the Initiative ordinance being considered or the ordinance to be considered for repeal by Referendum, as stated in Section 1-1106.
• The petition shall contain no more then 20 signature lines for the name, address, ward, precinct, signature of each person signing the petition, and the date signed.
• The petition must contain a warning statement advising that it is unlawful for anyone to sign any Initiative or Referendum petition with any name other then his/her own, or to sign the petition when he/she is not a legal voter.
• No corrections, additions or alterations shall be made to the form of all petitions issued by the City Clerk to the Petitioner’s Committee.
Signatures and Circulation of Petitions:
• Initiative and Referendum petitions must be signed in ink or permanent pencil by 2,000 qualified voters of the City of Reading.
• Each signature must be witnessed by the circulator.
• The circulator must complete the Affidavit of Circulator before a Notary Public after all signatures on the sheet have been collected.
* Any person violating the circulator regulations stated in §1-1109, shall be charged in accordance with the applicable offense sections of the Election Code 25 P.S. § 2601 et seq.
Time line for circulating Initiative and Referendum petitions:
• Referendum petitions must be circulated and filed within 35 days after the filing of the Petitioner’s Committee Affidavit with the City Clerk’s office.
• Initiative petitions must be circulated and filed within 65 days after the filing of the Petitioner’s Committee Affidavit with the City Clerk’s office.
For further details on Initiative and Referendum Petitions please see the Initiative and Referendum Ordinance on the City’s web site and/or contact the City Clerk’s Office.