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 is calling the "2010 Ballot Reform Act".

The main reform in Spady's proposal is 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 believes that the LAO will write ballot titles that are 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 is 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 require election officials to provide better online information about ballot propositions.

Ballot label details

Ballot title: Transfers Duty to Provide Ballot Summaries for Statewide Initiatives to the Legislative Analyst. Initiative Statute.

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.

Estimated fiscal impact: local government: No significant change in ballot preparation costs.


Statement of Findings

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

(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 says:

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 statute, either of Spady's measures will require 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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