California Ballot Title Reform Act (2010)

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A California Ballot Title Reform Initiative (10-0002, 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 two slightly different requests with the Office of the California Attorney General for official ballot titles on an act Spady was calling the "2010 Ballot Reform Act."

The main reform in Spady's proposal was that California proposition ballot titles would be written by the California Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), rather than by the Office of the Attorney General of California. Spady believed that the LAO would write ballot titles that were more neutral and more informative than the ballot titles produced by the California Attorney General.[1]

In recent years, several ballot titles written by the Attorney General's office have come under fire, including the title for the Continuous Coverage Auto Insurance Discount Act and Proposition 8.[1]

10-0002 was one of two reform proposals filed by Spady in mid-January 2010. He also filed a Ballot Proposition Voter Information Guide Reform Proposal that would have required election officials to provide better online information about ballot propositions.

Text of measure

=Ballot title

Transfers Duty to Provide Ballot Summaries for Statewide Initiatives to the Legislative Analyst. Initiative Statute.[2]

Official summary

Transfers responsibility for providing the summaries for all statewide initiatives on ballots and in ballot pamphlets from the Attorney General to the Legislative Analyst. Increases the maximum number of words allowed for the summary of an initiative on the ballot from 100 to 125. Specifies additional criteria that the Legislative Analyst's Office must follow in preparing the summaries for all initiatives. Requires that a committee review each summary of all initiatives and make recommendations to the Legislative Analyst regarding the summary.[2]

Estimated fiscal impact

Local government: No significant change in ballot preparation costs.[2]

Details

Statement of Findings

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

"(a) Voters desire better information regarding ballot measures presented to them for their approval or rejection.
(b) 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 information regarding ballot measures, the People of the state of California hereby enact the "2010 Ballot Reform Act" 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 proposed initiated state statutes, both of Spady's measures would have required 433,971 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Both proposals were given a ballot title March 15, 2010, with a signature deadline of August 12, 2010.

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Townhall, "Voters Deserve Clear, Unbiased Ballot Initiatives," April 8, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.