Elections/Political Reform

Chaptered elections and political reform legislation of note included: SB 381 (Simitian) permitting voter registration over the Internet for persons with a valid California driver’s license or state identification card; SB 1772 (Senate Rules Committee) amending the Political Reform Act to require any member of the five-member Public Utilities Commission to report any payment of $5,000 or more that is made at the behest of that member for a legislative, governmental, or charitable purpose; AB 583 (Hancock) enacting the California Fair Elections Act of 2008 until 1/1/19, to authorize candidates for the office of Secretary of State to obtain public funds for campaign purposes, and provides for its submission to the voters for approval at the 6/8/10 statewide primary election; AB 1808 (Huff) allowing candidates for federal office to purchase space for candidate statements within official voting materials; AB 1998 (Silva) amending the Political Reform Act to make contributions and expenditure reporting requirements related to a petition filed to support to oppose a local agency formation commission proposal subject to enforcement under the Act; AB 2607 (Davis) permitting Los Angeles, Merced, Orange and Stanislaus counties to permit electronic filing of statements of economic interest; AB 2786 (Salas) extending the sunset, from 1/1/09 to 1/1/11, on a provision allowing special absentee (overseas) voters to return their ballot by facsimile transmission; AB 3026 (Saldana) permitting elections officials to transmit ballot results via voice telephone connection or facsimile transmission for centers in designated precincts; and AB 3070 (Assembly Elections and Reapportionment Committee) requiring a special primary election to be held nine weeks before a special general election, instead of eight weeks before a special general election, if certain conditions are met.

Vetoed elections and political reform legislation included: SB 37 (Migden) ratifying an interstate compact whereby the state agrees to award its electoral votes to the Presidential ticket that received the most popular votes nationwide, if certain conditions are met; SB 1208 (Ducheny) requiring the Legislative Budget Committee and the Department of Finance to prepare an estimate of the fiscal impact to the state or local governments for a proposed state initiative measure; SB 1235 (Oropeza) requiring that a notice informing voters of changes to their polling place location be posted on or near the original polling place even if sufficient time exists in which to mail voters a notice of the polling place location changes, as required under current law; SB 1686 (Denham) making it a misdemeanor for any person, company, organization, company official, or other organization officer in charge of a person who circulates an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to knowingly direct the person to make a false affidavit concerning an initiative referendum or recall petition or the signatures appended thereto; SB 1694 (Florez) requiring polling place workers to provide each decline-to-state voter with a notice identifying the ballots that the voter is eligible to cost as a primary election; SB 1749 (Oropeza) permitting the Secretary of State to adopt uniform standards for online training of precinct board members; AB 1292 (Mendoza) requiring ballots that are sent to vote by mail voters to be accompanied by candidate’s statements; AB 1928 (Anderson) requiring that all vote-by-mail ballots include a notice that, in order to be counted, the ballot must be received by the elections officials before the polls close on Election Day; AB 2584 (Mendoza) clarifying that a voter is not required to attach a petition declaration to a written request for the removal of his/her signature from an initiative, referendum, or recall petition; AB 2953 (Feuer) requiring polling place workers to notify each decline-to-state voter that he/she may request a partisan ballot at a primary election; AB 2959 (Brownley) requiring elections officials to provide voters who request a recount with an itemized account of the actual costs of conducting the recount; and AB 2964 (Levine) requiring local elections officials to establish a free access system which vote-by-mail voters may use to find out whether their ballot was counted, and if not, the reason why it was not counted.

The November 2008 General Election had the following ballot propositions to be voted upon:

Proposition 1A: Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act – Passed

Proposition 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals Initiative – Passed

Proposition 3: Children’s Hospital Bond Act Initiative – Passed

Proposition 4: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy Initiative – Defeated

Proposition 5: Nonviolent Drug Offenses, Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation Initiative – Defeated

Proposition 6: Police and Law Enforcement Funding, Criminal Penalties and Laws Initiative – Defeated

Proposition 7: Renewable Energy Generation Initiative – Defeated

Proposition 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Initiative – Defeated

Proposition 9: Criminal Justice System, Victims’ Rights, Parole Initiative – Passed

Proposition 10: Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds Initiative – Defeated

Proposition 11: Redistricting Initiative*

Proposition 12: Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008 – Passed

* Proposition 11 was still too close to call at the time of this writing, with the vote count at

50.8% in favor and 49.2% against