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Voice for Democracy

Newsletter of Californians for Electoral Reform

Summer 2008

California Legislation Update

The only CfER-sponsored bill currently before the Legislature is AB 1662 (ranked ballots for overseas absentee voters), which is alive and well in the Senate Appropriations Committee. See the articles in this issue for details.

CfER has also endorsed three bills currently in the Legislature. We are not committing resources to promoting them -- none are about IRV or PR specifically -- but feel they are related to our goals in ways that deserve a letter of support.

SB 37 (Carole Migden, D-6) would commit California to joining the National Popular Vote (NPV) plan, an interstate compact to ensure that the winner of the nationwide popular vote becomes President. (For more on this, see National Popular Vote, the Fall 2006 issue of Voice for Democracy, and Paula Lee’s article in this issue.) The current NPV bill has passed both houses and is awaiting Senate confirmation of technical amendments made in the Assembly. A previous NPV bill was vetoed in September 2006.

AB 1819 (Curren Price, D-51) would allow 16 and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote. Their registrations would become effective for the first election after they turn 18. The chance to register early is especially important to students who do not finish high school because the schools are an important forum for encouraging voter registration. AB 1819 has passed the Assembly and the Senate Elections Committee and is in Senate Appropriations.

CfER has not formally taken a position on a related bill, ACA 15 (Gene Mullin, D-19), which would allow 17 year-olds to vote in primaries if they will turn 18 before the general election. This change requires a state constitutional amendment. The Mullin bill has passed the Assembly Elections Committee and is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 2958 (Betty Karnette, D-54) would require election officials to include with every vote-by-mail ballot information on returning these ballots to polling places on election day. This is motivated by experience with voters who believe that these ballots must be returned by mail. AB 2958 has passed the Assembly and the Senate Elections Committee and is in Senate Appropriations.

Bob Richard
Publications Director

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