Voting & Elections Legislation and Initiatives
Voting is best way to enact change in our democracy. California Common Cause is working to make our voting systems better, safer, and more accessible, so everyday citizens can participate and influence the political process.
Proposition 71: Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment
Summary: California Common Cause proudly supported Proposition 71, which will change the date that future ballot measures will take effect from the day after the election to five days after the Secretary of State certifies the result of the vote. Proposition 71 passed on June 5 with more than 77% of the vote.
Current law requires successful ballot measures to take effect the day after the election that passes them. However, if the vote results are close enough, it can often take days to weeks to certify whether or not a ballot measure has passed—making it unclear during that time period what, precisely, the effective law in the state is. This problem is exacerbated by vote-by-mail (VBM) voting, which now accounts for about 60% of ballots cast in California, as such validly cast ballots often arrive in the mail several days after election day.
To remedy this problem, the Legislature unanimously referred ACA 17, which became Proposition 71, to the ballot. By delaying the effective date of ballot measures until after the final vote is known, it eliminates the strange twilight period after an election where California law is in effect unknowable. Proposition 71 provides a clear, simple improvement to the ballot measure process.
Local Initiative Reform
SB 1153 (Stern – Canoga Park)
Summary: In 2014, the Legislature passed the Ballot Initiative Transparency Act (SB 1253), which required a public review process for state ballot measures and gave opportunity for the Legislature to negotiate, and potentially reach a compromise, with the initiative proponents, in which case the measure could be withdrawn from the ballot prior to its qualifying. BITA was a success during the 2016 election cycle; SB 1153 will extend a similar reform at the local level.
City and County initiative proponents would now be allowed to withdraw their petitions even after submitting their gathered signatures for verification, which will create beneficial space for compromise and negotiation in the direct democracy process.
Establishing an Office of Elections Cybersecurity
AB 3075 (Berman – Palo Alto)
California Common Cause supported the budget request for this Legislation
Summary: AB 3075 would establish an Office of Elections Cybersecurity (OEC) within the Secretary of State’s office. The OEC will distribute expert information and best practices and communicate with federal, state, and local agencies about future threats. Now, more than ever, we need to devote resources to protecting our elections from hostile actors.