Friday, March 12, 2010

UPDATE 5:35pm Breaking News: Judge Okays Reform Language for California Proposition 14 Open Primary

UPDATE: Attorney Harry Kresky just issued this statement about Judge Sumner's ruling this afternoon on Prop 14. (Harry Kresky is general counsel of IndependentVoting.org – a national association of independents with organization in 40 states)
“The Court's ruling on the ballot summary for Proposition 14 ensures a fair and objective statement of what the initiative, if passed, would do. The Court refused to allow party loyalists to insert language designed to mislead and frighten voters.  Proposition 14, if passed, will place power, where it belongs, in the hands of the voters.  And that includes California’s 3.4 million independents who presently have no right to participate in primary elections.”
Earlier today, Judge Allen Sumner ruled on a controversial challenge from partisan interests on the language for Ballot Proposition 14, the so-called "Top Two" open primaries referendum on the ballot on June 10.

Sen. Abel Maldonado spoke with an AP reporter.

This from Californians for an Open Primary/Yes on Prop 14:

BALLOT LABEL
ELECTIONS. INCREASES RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS.
Reforms the primary election process for congressional, statewide, and legislative races. Allows all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference. Ensures that the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference. Fiscal Impact: The data are insufficient to identify the amount of any increase or decrease in costs to administer elections will increase.

BALLOT TITLE AND SUMMARY
ELECTIONS. INCREASES RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS.
Encourages increased participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by reforming the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections.
Gives voters increased options in the primary by allowing all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference.
Provides that candidates may choose not to have a political party preference indicated on the primary ballot.
Provides that only the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference.
Does not change primary elections for President, party committee offices and nonpartisan offices.
Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:
The data are insufficient to identify the amount of any increase or decrease in costs to administer elections will increase.

Fiscal Effect
Minor Costs and Savings. This measure would change how elections officials prepare, print, and mail ballot materials. In some cases, these changes could increase these state and county costs. For instance, under this measure, all candidates- regardless of their party preference – would be listed on each primary election ballot. This would make these ballots longer. In other cases, the measure would reduce election costs. For example, by eliminating in some instances the need to prepare different primary ballots for each political party, counties sometimes would realize savings. For general election ballots, the measure would reduce the number of candidates (by only having the two candidates who received the most votes from the primary election on the ballot). This would make these ballots shorter. The direct costs and savings resulting from this measure may would be relatively minor and may would tend to offset each other. However, the data are insufficient to determine whether state and local costs to administer elections will increase or decrease. Accordingly, we estimate that the measure’s fiscal effects would not be significant for state and local governments.

Indirect Fiscal Effects Impossible to Estimate. In some cases, this measure would result in different individuals being elected to offices that under current law. Different officeholders would make different decisions about state and local government spending and revenues. These indirect fiscal effects of the measure are unknown and impossible to estimate.

SOURCES
Amanda.Fulkerson@yeson14openprimary.com, 818-823-1108
Sarah Lyons at IndependentVoting, 212-962-1824

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