California Ballot Proposition Voter Information Guide Reform (2010)

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A California Ballot Proposition Voter Information Guide Reform Initiative (10-0003) did not qualify for the November 2, 2010 ballot in California as an initiated state statute.

On January 14, 2010, David Spady and his election attorney Thomas W. Hiltachk filed a request with the Office of the California Attorney General for an official ballot title on an act, which Spady called the "21st Century Ballot Reform Act."

Initiative 10-0003 was motivated by a desire to provide better information to voters about the ballot propositions they are voting on. Spady, the sponsor of 10-0003, believed that the internet should be used to provide more comprehensive information, and that this information should come from a government agency.

Specifics of Spady's proposal were that the California Secretary of State would be required to disseminate the state's Office Voter Guide online, and include in it:

  • A link to the most recent campaign finance report for any committee primarily formed to support or oppose the state measure.
  • A link to a campaign website at the request of the authors of the ballot arguments for or against the state measure.
  • A link to video or audio content at the request of the authors of the ballot arguments for or against the state measure.
  • A link to video or audio of the joint public hearing held to illuminate the measure.

10-0003 was one of two reform proposals filed by Spady in mid-January 2010. He also filed a Ballot Title Reform Act that would have taken the authority to write ballot titles away from the Office of the Attorney General of California and given it to the California Legislative Analyst's Office.

Findings and Purpose

Statement of Findings

In a "Statement of Findings" submitted with the application for a ballot title, Spady said:

(a) Voters desire better and more readily accessible information regarding ballot measures presented to them for their approval or rejection.
(b) Voters are provided a useful "Voter Information Guide" by mail, however the 21st Century dictates that more information should be provided on the internet. Creating a central source of information, including information about the financial supporters and opponents of a ballot measure and a place to view campaign materials would give voters a single source for complete information about ballot measures.
(c) Presently, the description of ballot measures in the Voter Information Guide and on ballots is often overly complicated, poorly worded, and misleading of the true purpose and intent of a proposed measure. Indeed, in recent years, some ballot materials have been drafted by the Legislature in an apparent attempt to influence the outcome of the election.

Statement of Purpose

In a "Statement of Purpose" submitted with the application for a ballot title, Spady said:

In order to provide better and more readily accessible information regarding ballot measures, the People of the state of California hereby enact the "21 st Century Ballot Reform Act" to provide a single source of information on the internet for ballot measures and to require a fair and impartial statement of the purpose and intent of proposed ballot measures in language that is understandable to the average voter.

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

As a proposed initiated state statute, Spady's measure required 433,971 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Once the attorney general's office had provided a ballot title, supporters were able to start collecting signatures. Spady's measure did not make it to the ballot.

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