7 U.S. Code § 7417 - Referenda

(a) Initial referendum
(1) Optional referendum
For the purpose of ascertaining whether the persons to be covered by an order favor the order going into effect, the order may provide for the Secretary to conduct an initial referendum among persons to be subject to an assessment under section 7416 of this title who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, engaged in—
(A) the production or handling of the agricultural commodity covered by the order; or
(B) the importation of the agricultural commodity.
(2) Procedure
The results of the referendum shall be determined in accordance with subsection (e) of this section. The Secretary may require that the agricultural commodity industry involved post a bond or other collateral to cover the cost of the referendum.
(b) Required referenda
(1) In general
For the purpose of ascertaining whether the persons covered by an order favor the continuation, suspension, or termination of the order, the Secretary shall conduct a referendum among persons subject to assessments under section 7416 of this title who, during a representative period determined by the Secretary, have engaged in—
(A) the production or handling of the agricultural commodity covered by the order; or
(B) the importation of the agricultural commodity.
(2) Time for referendum
The referendum shall be conducted not later than 3 years after assessments first begin under the order.
(3) Exception
This subsection shall not apply if an initial referendum was conducted under subsection (a) of this section.
(c) Subsequent referenda
The Secretary shall conduct a subsequent referendum—
(1) not later than 7 years after assessments first begin under the order;
(2) at the request of the board established under the order; or
(3) at the request of 10 percent or more of the number of persons eligible to vote under subsection (b)(1) of this section;
to determine if the persons favor the continuation, suspension, or termination of the order.
(d) Other referenda
The Secretary may conduct a referendum at any time to determine whether the continuation, suspension, or termination of the order or a provision of the order is favored by persons eligible to vote under subsection (b)(1) of this section.
(e) Approval of order
An order may provide for its approval in a referendum—
(1) by a majority of those persons voting;
(2) by persons voting for approval who represent a majority of the volume of the agricultural commodity; or
(3) by a majority of those persons voting for approval who also represent a majority of the volume of the agricultural commodity.
(f) Costs of referenda
The board established under an order with respect to which a referendum is conducted under this section shall reimburse the Secretary for any expenses incurred by the Secretary to conduct the referendum.
(g) Manner of conducting referenda
(1) In general
A referendum conducted under this section shall be conducted in the manner determined by the Secretary to be appropriate.
(2) Advance registration
If the Secretary determines that an advance registration of eligible voters in a referendum is necessary before the voting period in order to facilitate the conduct of the referendum, the Secretary may institute the advance registration procedures by mail, or in person through the use of national and local offices of the Department.
(3) Voting
Eligible voters may vote by mail ballot in the referendum or in person if so prescribed by the Secretary.
(4) Notice
Not later than 30 days before a referendum is conducted under this section with respect to an order, the Secretary shall notify the agricultural commodity industry involved, in such manner as determined by the Secretary, of the period during which voting in the referendum will occur. The notice shall explain any registration and voting procedures established under this subsection.

Source

(Pub. L. 104–127, title V, § 518,Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1043.)

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7 CFR - Agriculture

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