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California Proposition 49, Political Parties Forbidden to Endorse Non-Partisan Candidates (1986)
Proposition 49 altered the California Constitution to say that no political party or party central committee can endorse, support, or oppose a candidate for nonpartisan elective office.
After Proposition 49 was enacted, a group of ten registered voters sued to have it overturned in the case Renne v. Geary on the grounds that it violated the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed that Proposition 49 was unconstitutional. However, the defendant parties to the lawsuit appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and there, the Ninth Circuit's decision was reversed on grounds unrelated to constitutionality considerations.
The official ballot summary said, "Existing provisions of California Constitution provide that judicial, school, county, and city offices shall be nonpartisan, but do not prohibit a political party or party central committee from endorsing, supporting, or opposing a candidate for nonpartisan office. This measure would add a provision that no political party or party central committee may endorse, support, or oppose a candidate for such a nonpartisan office."
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- See also: Amending the California Constitution
This text shows the previous version of Section 1 with provisions that Proposition 49 deleted printed in
strikeout type and new provisions added or inserted by Proposition 49 in italic type.
- SEC. 6.
Judicial,(a) All judicial, school, county, and city offices shall be nonpartisan.
- (b) No political party or party central committee may endorse, support, or oppose a candidate for nonpartisan office.
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said, "This measure has no direct state or local fiscal impact."
Path to the ballot
The California State Legislature voted to put Proposition 49 on the ballot via Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7 (Statutes of 1986, Resolution Chapter 1).
Litigation involving Proposition 45 includes:
- Geary v. Renne 911 F.2d 280, 9th Cir . 1990 (1991).