As reported previously, AB 1413 had been set for a hearing in the California Senate Elections Committee on September 7. That hearing was never held, but in preparation for the hearing, legislative employees had prepared an analysis of the bill, which was introduced to make alterations in the “top-two” Proposition 14 procedure. Proposition 14 passed in June 2010 and says all candidates for Congress and partisan state office run on a single primary ballot in June. Then, only the two top vote-getters may run in November.
The analysis says, “In 2009, as part of a state budget agreement, a measure was placed on the ballot for the voters to consider authorizing a ‘top-two’ primary election system. At the same time that measure was approved, the Legislature also approved a series of changes to the Election Code to implement a top two primary election system. Unfortunately, due to the nature in which those statutory changes were adopted, they created a number of problems for the effective and efficient operation of elections. Last year, the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee held an oversight hearing to hear from elections officials about some of the problems with those statutory changes. Among other problems, county elections officials testified that certain ballot printing requirements created an unnecessary burden, and could significantly increase election costs.
“Since that time, state and county elections officials have been working diligently to develop fixes that will help implement the top two primary system in a more effective manner. This bill includes much of that work.”
The analysis also says, “This bill shortens the format in which a candidate’s party preference is displayed on the ballot, shortens and clarifies the ballot instructions that appear on the ballot, and eliminates certain type size and typeface requirements to give county elections officials greater flexibility to format their ballots. These changes should help address some of the concerns raised by elections officials in this committee’s oversight hearing.”