Referendum Process

Referendums can be introduced by voters to overturn nearly any law passed by the DC Council. Ballot Initiatives, on the other hand, are entirely new laws that are initiated by voters. While they are similar in how they ultimately end up before voters, Referendums strictly refer to laws passed by the DC Council. Referendums give voters the final say on unpopular actions by the DC Council, like their tyrannical repeal of Ballot Initiative #77.

The Referendum process begins when the DC Council Chairman transmits a DC law to Congress for the 30 legislative day review period known as the Congressional Review Period.  The District of Columbia’s “Home Rule Charter” requires that all laws passed by the 13-member DC Council be reviewed by Congress before becoming law. A “legislative day” is any day when either the House of Representatives or the Senate is in session. During the Congressional Review Period, Congress must pass a “joint motion of disapproval” and it must be signed by the president in order for Congress to overturn a DC law. If the law makes it through the Congressional Review Period without Congress overturning it, it becomes a DC law.

Once the DC Council Chairman has transmitted the law to Congress, advocates who disagree with the law may submit a Referendum Measure to the DC Board of Elections. The Referendum Measure must contain a title and a summary statement that explains what law the Referendum seeks to overturn. The DC Board of Elections must then approve the summary statement, title, and then draft legislative text. After these are adopted, the proposer of the Referendum Measure will receive circulating petitions that need to be signed by registered DC voters.

In order for the Referendum Measure to become a completed Referendum Petition, the campaign must collect valid signatures from 5% of the registered voters in 5 of the 8 Wards of the District of Columbia. While Ballot Initiatives must collect the same number of signatures and get 180 calendar days to collect them, a Referendum Measure has only until 5:00pm the day before the Congressional Review Period expires to collect the roughly 25,000 valid signatures needed to complete the Referendum Petition.

Once the Referendum Petition is submitted to the DC Board of Elections and it has been certified to have a sufficient number of valid signatures, the Board must schedule a special election within 114 days or if there is a previously scheduled election taking place between 54 and 114 days, then the Referendum will be placed before voters at that election.  

However, there are no elections scheduled in the District of Columbia in 2019, so the Referendum to overturn the DC Council’s repeal of Ballot Initiative #77 will take place at a special election in 2019.  At the special election, DC voters will be asked to vote YES if they approve the DC Council’s law or NO if they reject the DC Council’s repeal of Ballot Initiative #77.  If the majority of DC voters choose NO and reject the DC Council’s law, the DC Council may not legislate on the issue for 365 days.

On October 30, the DC Council Chairman transferred the “Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018” to Congress and started the Congressional Review Period.  Section 2 of this law repeals Ballot Initiative #77. The Save Our Vote campaign has submitted the Referendum Measure to the DC Board of Elections that will ask DC voters  to overturn Section 2.  The campaign and will soon receive the circulating petitions.

Please sign up to help the campaign at

Get Involved!

On December 12, 2018, the campaign stopped hiring petition circulators. 

The Campaign is hiring Petition Circulators to assist in getting the Referendum on the Ballot.

This is a temporary contract job. We anticipate the signature collection effort to begin on Tuesday, November 27 and end Thursday, December 13.

Petition Circulators must at least 18 years of age and either be a resident of the District of Columbia or be registered with the DC Board of Elections as a Non-Resident Petition Circulator.

Please read the Campaign’s Personnel Policies & Code of Conduct, fill out the Google Form, and a representative from the Campaign will reach out to you.

If you have any questions, please email

The “Save Our Vote No DC Council Repeal of Initiative 77” campaign (aka “Save Our Vote” campaign or SOV) only pays for valid signatures that will be accepted by the DC Board of Elections at the date of signing. This means only registered Washington, DC voters may sign the petition.  Unregistered voters will not be counted as valid and cannot be registered to sign on the same day. SOV will check 100% of signatures turned in every other day and provide a report and payment Monday to Monday. A list of invalids will be provided to collectors upon request. Collectors may use paper petitions or the Board of Election’s digital tablets, which feature auto-validation.



Petition Circulators:  $3.75 – Per Valid Signature


$100 Bonus for 250 or more valid signatures turned in a week.
$100 Bonus for 350 or more valid signatures turned in a week.
$100 Bonus for 450 or more valid signatures turned in a week.
$100 Bonus for 550 or more valid signatures turned in a week.


Petition Circulators are expected to collect at least 40 valid signatures per 7 hours of work and maintain a valid signature rate of 35% or better. Petition Circulators will need to wear neat street clothing, and work outdoors in all-weather conditions collecting signatures. It’s a winter time collection so there will be more door to door work required. There is a lot of walking or standing required. Candidates are outgoing enough to ask strangers if they are a DC Registered Voter and if they will sign the petition to Save Our Vote on Initiative 77 from being overturned by the DC Council.   


Non-DC residents will need to have a valid ID from out of state taken to the DCBOE at 1015 Half Street SE Washington, DC, Suite 750 to become qualified signature collectors. The position is available to US citizens only. Transportation inside Washington, DC is reimbursable for Full-Time and Part-Time collectors. 


Personnel Policies & Code of Conduct

Non-discrimination Policy
The “Save Our Vote No DC Council Repeal of Initiative 77” Campaign Committee and subsequent petition canvass, (henceforth referred to as “SOV”) is an equal-opportunity employer.  SOV is committed to the belief that each individual is entitled to equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attribute, age, marital status or disability.

Freedom From Harassment Policy
SOV supports building unity between all people. We believe in treating one another with respect. We believe that how we treat one another should model the type of society we are trying to build.

SOV prohibits harassment of petition circulators by other circulators, supervisors or third parties for reasons that include but are not limited to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability or any other status protected by applicable law. Homophobic, sexist or racist attitudes, behaviors, comments or jokes are unacceptable at all times.

If a petition circulator behaves in a way that violates these policies and principles, it can be grounds for termination and withholding of payment.

Participation Policy
SOV petition circulators should engage in active and respectful participation in trainings and team meetings. Participation in these meetings is required, and failure or refusal to do so is grounds for a warning. Continued inability or refusal to positively engage in SOV meetings and trainings is grounds for termination.

SOV is operating a clean, public petition campaign. Petition circulators are expected to honestly and publicly collect signatures from registered voters in the District of Columbia on the issue specifically stated on the petition. Any petition circulator found collecting fraudulent signatures or found collecting signatures under false pretense will be terminated. If termination results from fraudulent means, all previous signatures collected by said petition circulator are subject to investigation and payroll may be withheld until completion of the investigation.

By accepting the contract position as a petition circulator, you agree to keep all Save our Votes campaign materials and strategy strictly confidential. You agree not use, disseminate, copy or store any materials associated with this campaign, in any form or format, to any person or entity outside of this campaign. This requires keeping all contact information, work plans, emails, and other documents secure while in your possession and not publishing or posting content to any website or listserve. etc. Any use of campaign materials must be authorized in writing in advance by the Field Director. Upon the end of your employment with this campaign, you must return all materials obtained from the campaign to campaign headquarters and delete all electronic files. Failure to comply with this confidentiality agreement may result in legal action.

Attendance Policy
SOV is building a team of highly effective and reliable petition circulators to achieve the goals of the organization.

Dress Code
Petition circulators are the face of SOV, and are encouraged to dress and appear in a manner that reflects positively on the organization and helps move forward the mission of the organization. Petition circulators are not required to wear a SOV uniform; however, petition circulators are not permitted to wear or display any political, inappropriate, or corporate logos (in an advertising manner) during petition circulating.

Petition circulators must come to work in clean attire and exhibit good personal hygiene. Attire is at the discretion of the petition circulator, but SOV reserves the right to assess the appearance of petition circulators. If clothing fails to meet the SOV standards, as determined by the petition circulator coordinator, the petition circulator will be asked to change clothes.

If you understand and accept the terms of the personnel policies as a contractor of the Save Our Vote No DC Council Repeal of Initiative 77 campaign please fill out this Google Form:

After you fill out the form above, a member of the Campaign will reach out to you by phone or email. When you show up to the Campaign Office, you will need to:

1) Bring Proof of DC residence (Your unexpired DC ID) or if you live outside of Washington, DC you’ll need to bring proof you have completed the Non-Resident Petition Circulator Form from the DC Board of Elections. Non-Resident Petition Circulators will need to go to the DC Board of Elections FIRST, fill out the form, and provide the Campaign the carbon copy from the DC Board of Elections.
2) Complete a W-9 Form so the campaign can pay you
3) Be trained on the Petition Circulator best practices
4) Schedule your Time & Date of your first petition collection

If you have any questions, please email