California Legislative Hearing on Proposition 14 Can be Watched

Use this link to watch the March 2 hearing of the California Assembly Elections Committee, on whether Proposition 14 would increase costs for election administration. Thanks to James Hodges for the link. The hearing lasts about 90 minutes. County elections officials from Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties testify on why Proposition 14, in their opinion, would increase costs. Afterwards there is public testimony, including from representatives of three minor parties, Green, Libertarian, and Peace & Freedom.

The sound doesn’t turn on until 9 minutes and 57 seconds, so just skip ahead. The legislature turns the sound on when the hearing is called into order.

This is the first legislative hearing ever held on California’s top-two open primary measure. No hearing was held when it was passed in February 2009. One may wonder why a hearing is held after the measure has already been passed, but it is traditional for the California legislature to hold hearings on statewide ballot measures. The voters will vote on the measure on June 8, 2010.


California Legislative Hearing on Proposition 14 Can be Watched — No Comments

  1. I don’t seem to be able to get past 41 minutes in the hearing. For some reason, the total length of the video is not registering, so the scroll bar doesn’t work.

    The main additional cost appears to be that the number of candidates on the primary ballot will increase, which will in turn force counties to use additional ballot cards, which will entail additional printing and postage cost.

    In 2006, there were 79 statewide primary candidates, including 5 for the non-partisan Superintendent of Public Instruction race. The longest primary ballot would have been for the Democrats with 28 (including the 5 SoPI) candidates. If you take the most candidates of any party in each race, there would have been 32 candidate (It might be simpler to use the same layout for each party, so you would have space to handle the 8 Democratic gubernatorial candidates, and then place the 4 Republican, or 1 each minor party candidates in the same area).

    So overall the main cost driver is “ballot crowding”.

    Another effect is that the ballot cards must carry an explanation of how the voting system works, and this has to be done in large type (24 pt) and in multiple languages. The party description is also longer, and must be done in multiple languages.

    A significant advantage of DRE’s is that the language can be selected first. It probably is not feasible to have language-specific ballots, because that would be too practical.

    There was passing mention to registration costs, but it was not clear what those would be. While party affiliation is recast from “declaration of intent to affiliate with the party at the next primary” to “disclosure of party preference”, they are functionally equivalent for voters.

  2. I was able to watch the rest of the video. Not too much more.

    I wonder whether the costs for additional ballot cards are specific to the statewide primaries. In presidential election years, the only partisan races are the legislative and congressional elections. So perhaps 3 or 4 races om any area. The minor parties contest relatively few of the races, and there are usually fewer major party candidates.

    There was only a single congressional district in 2008 where the total number of candidates (9) was as many as the average for the statewide offices in 2006.

    It would be worth determining whether the cost estimates are a quadrennial cost.

    A small area of concern was the ability of the SOS to determine the 10-year history of party registration status of candidates. Once the new statewide registration system is up and has accumulated a 10-year history it would be simple to do. But currently they only have the latest registration, and if someone moves or changes party, the information is lost from the system.

    They intend to include questions on filing forms soliciting past addresses and party information. They belief that there will be opponents and the like who will be verifying the information.

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