Well, that didn't take long. Remember, the Chargers submitted their Intent to Circulate on March 30th, and they had to wait 3 weeks before they could start gathering signatures.
Thus, that's 110,786 signatures collected since about April 20th, less than 2 months. And while this signature-gathering drive has the full financial backing of the Spanos family (a resource many others don't have), it's an impressive accomplishment nonetheless.
Here's a link to the Chargers' Press Release. Chargers' Chairman Dean Spanos had this to say:
"On behalf of the entire San Diego Chargers organization, we want to thank every registered San Diego City voter who signed the petition. We also want to thank representatives of organized labor - and particularly the unions of the Building Trades Council - for their significant help and support during this process. And we are grateful for the volunteer signature gathering work coordinated by the fan groups, including Save Our Bolts and the San Diego Stadium Coalition. The fan groups did a great job, as did the hundreds of other people who contacted us and volunteered to gather signatures."
"Most signature gathering efforts of this kind take six full months. We had just six weeks to complete our work. The fact that we were able to collect more than 110,000 signatures in that short period of time demonstrates tremendous support in our community for a new, combined stadium-convention center expansion downtown."
Here's a video from Chargers.com featuring Spanos discussing the submittal of signatures. Interestingly, he alluded to an appeal before the State Supreme Court which will determine what the approval threshold will be for this project (66.7% or 50% +1), and said he expected a decision within the next 4 to 6 weeks.
The next steps for this process are as follows:
- The San Diego City Clerk's office forwards the signatures to the County Registrar of Voters, who will then go through the process of verifying the signatures. They are verifying the signatures are those of registered voters in the City of San Diego, and eliminating duplicates; this process must be completed within 30 days.
- Once the Initiative is certified, the City Council must take action on it within 10 business days - either to adopt it outright (which won't happen) or reject it (or not take action). Then after another 10 days, the Council must send the Initiative to the voters, unless:
- In order to guarantee the Initiative reaches the ballot, the Chargers must have the signatures of at least 10% of all registered voters in the City of San Diego. That works out to between 66,000 and 67,000 valid signatures. If that threshold is not reached, the City Council can kill the Initiative on their own without a public vote.
- There are severe penalties in San Diego for duplicate signatures. Each duplicate signature found carries a penalty of 1,000 signatures for every duplicate found. This means (assuming all signatures are from qualified persons) there cannot be more than 43 duplicates.
Assuming there are enough valid signatures, the Chargers' downtown stadium plan will get on the ballot for this November. Opposition groups are getting started, with some familiar names doing the opposing.
Let the fun begin.