On March 16, the California State Court of Appeals changed the wording somewhat for the ballot description, and the ballot pamphlet description, of Proposition 14. The Court deleted the word “reform” and substituted “change”. Also, the Court deleted the fiscal impact statement that it isn’t possible to know whether the proposition will increase the costs of election administration. It restored the Legislative Analyst’s original opinion that the Proposition would not significantly increase costs to administer elections.
The new language on the ballot will be, “Elections. Increases Right to Participate in Primary Elections. Changes the primary election process for congressional, statewide, and legislative races. Allows all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference. Ensures that the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference. Fiscal Impact: No significant net change in state and local government costs to administer elections.”
The Court said it was replacing “reform” with “change” because “There appears to us little doubt that inclusion of the word ‘reform’ is misleading insofar as it reflects an inherent value judgment that there is a need for ‘reform’ of the existing electoral process.”
The ballot pamphlet (but not the ballot) will include five bullet points:
1. Encourages increased participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by changing the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections.
2. Gives voters increased options in the primary by allowing all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference.
3. Provides that candidates may choose not to have a political party preference indicated on the primary ballot.
4. Provides that only the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference.
5. Does not change primary elections for President, party committee offices and nonpartisan offices.