California Elections Code
The voters of a city may present a petition to the Governor for the appointment of three commissioners of election pursuant to this chapter if:
(a) The city has failed to elect officers in accordance with its charter, and there are no officers to carry on the city government, or the city has failed to call an election of officers.
(b) The city has attempted to adopt a freeholders charter under the State Constitution, and has failed to legally elect officers, and the freeholders charter is held to be invalid.
The petition to the Governor shall set forth: (a) The name of the city, with the date and manner of organization.
(b) The date of the last election for officers; whether they are performing their duties, and if not, how long since they have ceased to do so.
(c) The provision of the charter relating to the qualifications of voters.
(d) That each person signing the petition possesses the qualifications provided for voters by the charter.
(e) That each of the signers of the petition is a householder and freeholder in the city.
The petition shall be signed by not less than 75 persons in the city, each of whom possesses all the qualifications mentioned in the body of the petition. The petition shall be verified by at least two of the signers, that, of their own knowledge, the petition is true, and that all the signers are qualified.
Upon the presentation of the petition to the Governor, he or she shall either act upon it or require additional evidence of the matters set forth in the petition. Upon being satisfied of the truth of the matters set forth in the petition, the Governor shall appoint three persons as commissioners of election for that city. The commission shall be known as the board of election commissioners for (here give name of the city).
The Governor shall issue a commission to the commissioners, and the issuance of the commission shall be conclusive evidence of the regularity of all the proceedings to and including the appointment of the commissioners. Within 10 days after their appointment, the commissioners shall take the constitutional oath of office before some officer authorized to administer oaths. The oath shall be indorsed upon the commission, and a copy filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The commission shall organize by the election of a president and secretary from their own members. The commission shall keep minutes of all its proceedings, which minutes shall be signed at the close of each meeting by the president and secretary.
The commissioners may, by an order entered in their minutes, call an election for the officers required by the charter of the city, to be elected only by the voters in the city. The order shall specify the names of the offices to be filled and the date of the election. When any office is to be filled by an election in any ward or subdivision of the city, the order shall so state.
Prior to the election, the commission shall appoint precinct boards and fix the places of holding the election, as required in the city charter. The commission shall cause notice of the election to be published in one or more newspapers published in the city, or if none is published therein, then by posting notices for at least 20 days before election. The election shall be conducted as required by the city charter for the election of officers, except that it shall not be necessary to use printed registers. If a voter is challenged on the ground that his or her name does not appear on the register of the county, it shall be sufficient for him or her to state, under oath, that he or she believes his or her name is upon the register, and if no other evidence is offered, the precinct board shall accept that statement as true.
Except that the returns shall be returned and delivered to the commission, the precinct boards shall make return of the election as required in the charter of all officers voted for at the election, without reference to whether they were voted for in the whole or only a ward or subdivision of the city. A member of a precinct board shall not issue a certificate of election.
Within five days after the election, the commissioners shall canvass the returns and declare which persons were elected. The commission shall issue certificates of election to the persons so declared to be elected. The certificates shall be signed by all the commissioners, and shall be conclusive evidence of the regularity of all the proceedings taken in the election and by the commission, except as against any suit or proceeding to oust from office any person holding a certificate.
Within 10 days after issuance of the certificates of election, the officers shall qualify and enter upon the discharge of their duties, in accordance with the charter. If any person chosen at the election fails to take the oath of office and enter upon the discharge of his or her duties within the time above specified, the office to which he or she shall have been elected shall be deemed vacant.
At the first meeting of the governing body of the city after the election, the commissioners shall deliver to the governing body all books and papers in their possession, relating to their office of election commissioners. The governing body shall cause them to be filed by their elections official, and shall cause the commission issued by the Governor to the commissioners, the minutes of the commissioners, and notice of the election to be entered in the book of minutes of the governing body. These entries shall thereupon be evidence of all the matters therein stated, and as conclusive as the originals.
Whenever the officers elected at the election, and the officers authorized by the charter to be elected or appointed by the governing body or executive department of the city, have qualified and entered upon the discharge of their duties, the city shall be as fully organized and in operation as if the election had been held at the time and in the manner required by the charter.
Whenever the government of the city is in full operation, the governing body shall enter a resolution in its minutes declaring that fact. The resolution shall be conclusive evidence of that fact, except as against a direct action or proceeding to set aside or annul the government.