Mar 13 2013

Another California Bill to Create More One-Candidate General Elections for Congress and State Office

Source: Ballot Access News

California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced SB 712. Like AB 141, it would provide that write-in candidates in June primaries, for Congress or partisan state office, could not appear on the November ballot, even if they placed second in the primary, unless they get a substantial number of write-in votes.

In 2012, there were eight offices for which only one person filed to appear on the primary ballot. In six of them, however, a write-in candidate filed and naturally the write-in candidate (or one of them) then appeared on the November ballot. If this bill had been in effect at the time, none of the primary write-in candidates would have appeared on the November ballot. Instead of two races with only one candidate on the November ballot, California would have had eight such races. It is an insult to a voter to print a ballot with only one candidate on the ballot, and no write-in space, because there is no action for the voter to take that has any effect on the results.

UPDATE: Senator Lara has also introduced a proposed state constitutional amendment, SCA 12. SCA 12 would amend the top-two law to say that only one candidate would appear on the ballot if the candidate who came in second in the primary is a write-in candidate who received fewer than approximately 4,000 votes for US House, and approximately 100,000 votes for statewide office. Even if the legislature passes SCA 12, it would not take effect unless the voters vote for it. It is hard to imagine that the voters of California would vote for a measure to increase the number of one-candidate elections. FURTHER UPDATE: Assemblymember Jeff Gorell has also introduced a proposed state constitutional amendment, ACA 9, which is identical to SCA 12. The Legislative Counsel’s office told Assemblymember Gorell and Senator Lara that their bills would violate the California Constitution, so they will attempt to amend the California Constitution.

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