California Republican Party State Chair Explains Why Republican Party Missing from Endorsements Pages of Official Voter Guide

California election officials send an “Official Voter Information Guide” to each registered voter in California. The pamphlet contains statements by candidates for statewide office, and also has a page which lists which statewide candidates have been endorsed by which parties. Parties are free to endorse members of other parties.

This year, the June 2014 Guide carries endorsements by the Democratic, Green, Peace & Freedom, and American Independent Parties, but has no endorsements by the Republican Party. This Sacramento Bee article interviews Republican Party state chair to learn why.

The only parties that endorsed candidates from other parties are the Peace & Freedom Party (which endorsed two Greens) and the American Independent Party (which endorsed several Republicans).

There is a controversy as to whether the Guide can carry party endorsements for the non-partisan office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Guide sent to Orange County voters includes endorsements for a candidate for that non-partisan office made by the Democratic Party, and an endorsement in that race made by the American Independent Party. The Guide mailed to voters in most other counties do not include those endorsements. Thanks to Mark Seidenberg for that information.


California Republican Party State Chair Explains Why Republican Party Missing from Endorsements Pages of Official Voter Guide — 7 Comments

  1. Election Code 13302 is pretty clear that the endorsements only apply to voter-nominated offices. I suppose one could argue that since the election code doesn’t say anything about nonpartisan offices, and a party has a first amendment right to support any candidate, it is OK. But this causes Orange County to subsidize partisan activities.

    It would be better to have party endorsements be filed with the state. Now they are dependent on county parties making endorsements, which is contrary to having a uniform election procedure for an office. It is also pretty hard to find the endorsements in some (most) counties. Some require a valid voter address to generate a sample ballot, even when the endorsements are not of the actual sample ballot, but in a table that contains all county offices.

    The counties can’t print the sample ballots without the certified list of candidates, so something is messed up if the parties don’t actually have time to make endorsements as indicated in the article. The statutes provide the endorsements must be submitted “timely” to the county election officials. If the county officials or SOS are interpreting “timely” in an irrational manner, they are violating the intent of the statute (and Proposition 14).

    The voter in the article must be remembering when the parties were permitted to include an insert in the sample ballot sent to their party registrants.

  2. The party endorsements of candidates are published by county election officials and are for all “voter-nominated” offices, not just for statewide offices. The “Official Voter Information Guide” usually refers to the statewide pamphlet published by the Secretary of State, which includes political party statements of purpose, lists of statewide candidates with an indication of which agreed to abide by voluntary spending limits, and paid candidate statements by some candidates. The pamphlets issued by county election officials are variously referred to as the “voter’s pamphlet”, the “voter information pamphlet” and the “voter information portion of the sample ballot”.

    In addition to the Republican Party, neither the Libertarian Party nor Americans Elect have any published endorsements (at least not in the county ballot pamphlets I’ve seen from Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties). I presume that Americans Elect has no endorsements since they have no organization in California. The Libertarian Party website lists five endorsed candidates (of which two could have been listed in ballot pamphlets; two of the others are for non-partisan offices and a third is a write-in candidate). The Bee article didn’t mention either of these parties nor ask the Libertarian Party why its endorsements didn’t make it into the ballot pamphlets.

  3. The issues with the time to file are with the statutory language of EC 13302(b), which is currently left unchanged from the form in which it was added by SB 6 of 2009 (the implementing bill passed in the middle of the night without hearings at the same time as Prop 14 was placed on the ballot, also without any hearings). It states that the list must be submitted 83 days before the election, so that “timely” means by that date, not by some date set by the Secretary of State or a county election official.

    This date is 5 days after the deadline for filing for most offices, but the same day as the deadline for filing for offices where the incumbent could have run but doesn’t, and 15 days before the deadline for the Secretary of State to issue a certified list of candidates.

    This is clearly insufficient time for parties to make endorsements choosing among candidates they only find out about through their ballot filings, but enough time for parties that only endorse candidates who ask in advance for endorsement.

    For parties that only make pre-primary endorsements of candidates unopposed within the party, it is enough time with the exception of races where multiple candidates file but only one qualifies for the ballot and races where the deadline was extended. This is what the Republican chairperson told the Bee is their policy, so if the Republican Party organization had its act together, they could have had almost all of their 88 endorsements published in ballot pamphlets.

  4. What candidates did the AIP endorse and are they running any candidates for office at all this year, even local races?

  5. Since candidate filings are with county election officials, and not the Secretary of State, the county officials would have no formal way of knowing whether an endorsed candidate was an actual candidate for the office.

    Thanks for noticing the date stuck on the end of EC 13302(b). It appears that “83” was borrowed from EC 13305 as it read at that time. 83 days before the primary was the deadline for a county party to submit its insert or party contribution letter to the county election official. This provision has since been removed.

    A competent Secretary of State (antonym: Debra Bowen) would have recognized problem with requiring a list of endorsements to be delivered 15 days prior to the date the Secretary of State delivers the certified list of candidates to the county election officials.

    I stand by my statement that it would be better for all filings and endorsements be handled by the Secretary of State.

  6. Strange that nobody wants to truly explain this ridiculous “sample ballot” in Orange County, CA. After checking with family and friends in other CA counties (strongly Democrat held), it would appear that OC (being a strongly Republican held county)is being spoon fed this clearly biased ballot message. Not only are the Republican endorsements missing, strangely, the Democrat party is first in the layout of the ballot, Republican being second, American Independent third and so on. This indicates that alphabetical order is not the explanation as to the layout order. And finally, why did the state decided to reprint, repeatedly, the ballot for each party??? I can’t tell if this is just complete and absolute incompetence (which isn’t a shocker judging by the current state of the government of this country and state) or a purposeful action by the state to exclude the Republican Party in the Orange County sample ballot by listing them as second fiddle. The fact that nobody, on either side of the isle is willing to explain what happened here is very telling indeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *