BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1316
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          Date of Hearing:   April 9, 2013

                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS AND REDISTRICTING
                                  Paul Fong, Chair
                 AB 1316 (Harkey) - As Introduced:  February 22, 2013
          
          SUBJECT  :   Election ballots: identical candidate names.

          SUMMARY  :   Eliminates the practice of permitting candidates to  
          select a number to be printed alongside their name on ballot  
          materials if a candidate with a similar name files for the same  
          office, and instead requires the elections official to assign a  
          number to candidates and for the ballot order of the candidates  
          to be chosen at random.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires the elections official, if two or more candidates  
            with similar names file nomination papers for the same office,  
            to assign each such candidate a number based on the order in  
            which the candidates filed their nomination papers.  Requires  
            that the first candidate be assigned the number "1", with each  
            subsequent candidate with a similar name being assigned the  
            next number in numerical sequence.  Repeals a provision of law  
            that allows each candidate to choose the number that is used  
            to distinguish himself or herself from other candidates.

          2)Eliminates the requirement that the candidates' distinguishing  
            numbers and certain warning language must be printed in  
            boldface type.

          3)Requires the elections official to conduct a randomized  
            drawing of the numbers assigned to the candidates in order to  
            determine the order in which candidates' names will appear on  
            the ballot.

           EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Authorizes a person who is a candidate for any office to file  
            a statement with the county elections official attesting to  
            his or her belief that some other person with a name so  
            similar as to be confused with his or her name has filed or  
            will file a nomination paper for the same office.  Provides  
            that the statement that shall be in substance as follows: 

               "I _________________________,  believe that some other  
               person, whose name is so similar to mine that it may be  







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               confused with mine, has filed or will file a nomination  
               paper for the same office for which I have filed a  
               nomination paper, and I therefore request and direct that  
               number _________________  be printed with my name on the  
               ballot as a distinguishing mark.
                                   ______________________________________
                                                            Name
                                   Candidate for the office of  
          ________________"

          2)Requires the number chosen by the candidate to be printed in  
            large boldface type at the left of the name on the ballot.

          3)Provides that if two or more candidates for the same office  
            designate the same distinguishing number, the first candidate  
            who filed his or her nomination papers shall have the number,  
            and other candidates who designated the same number may file  
            papers designating other distinguishing numbers.

          4)Requires the elections official, in addition to the designated  
            number or numbers to place on the ballot when the above  
            conditions are met, to place on the ballot, immediately  
            following the designation of the office and immediately  
            preceding the names of the candidates to be voted upon, the  
            following warning in boldface type:

               "Warning!  There are two (or applicable number) candidates  
               for this office with identical names."

          5)Requires the warning listed above to be included, in boldface  
            type and in a prominent manner, on any sample ballot, ballot  
            pamphlet, or other mailing sent by the county elections  
            official, prior to the election, to persons eligible to vote  
            for this office. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown. State-mandated local program; contains  
          reimbursement direction.

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Purpose of the Bill  :  According to the author:

               Election Code 13118 has proven to be problematic for city  
               officials and candidates for a couple of reasons:  








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               First, the statute fails to state which numbers are  
               eligible to be placed next to the names of  
               identically-named candidates on the ballot.    Because a  
               candidate may choose their own number, the City of San  
               Clemente experienced difficulty when candidates began using  
               this process to vie for preferred placement on the ballot,  
               bringing up questions pertaining to negative numbers, a  
               number's length, or whether or not "0" is a number.

               AB 1316 would specify that the distinguishing mark would be  
               assigned in the same order that the candidates file their  
               nomination and statement.  The elections official will make  
               their assignments using the number "1," and continue in  
               numerical sequence until each candidate has been  
               distinguished from the others.  

               Further, AB 1316 will remove the requirement that large,  
               boldface type be used to warn the voter, and require a  
               drawing of numbers to determine positioning on the ballot.

               AB 1316 is necessary because clarification of Election Code  
               13118 will allow for a smoother and more cost-effective  
               election process for candidates, election officials - and  
               most importantly, voters.

           2)Numerical Specifications  : Existing law requires the elections  
            official, whenever there are two candidates with similar or  
            identical names, to print a number that distinguishes one  
            candidate from the other, in large boldface type to the left  
            of the candidates name on the ballot.  In addition to printing  
            the number next to the candidates name, a warning message is  
            also required to be prominently printed in boldface type  
            preceding the candidates' names. Not all equipment used for  
            the printing of election materials is designed to accommodate  
            boldface typesetting or varying font sizes. Counties facing  
            this requirement for the first time may encounter problems  
            absorbing this additional expense. This measure removes the  
            requirement that large and boldface type be used to print  
            numbers and warning messages on sample ballots, ballot  
            pamphlets, or other mailings sent by the elections official  
            prior to the election. 

           3)Suggested Amendment  : The California Association of Clerks and  
            Election Officials have requested an amendment to subdivision  
            (b) of Section 13118, to require the distinguishing marks to  







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            be placed to the right of the candidates' names rather than  
            the left.  The author has agreed to accept this amendment.
               
            4)State Mandates  :  The 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 state budgets  
            included the suspension of various state mandates as a  
            mechanism for cost savings.  Included on the list of  
            suspensions were all six existing elections-related mandates.   
            All the existing elections-related mandates have been proposed  
            for suspension again by the Governor in his budget for the  
            2013-2014 fiscal year.  The Committee may wish to consider  
            whether it is desirable to create new election mandates when  
            current elections-related mandates are suspended. On the other  
            hand, because this bill only imposes new requirements on local  
            governments when there are two or more candidates with similar  
            names on the ballot for the same office, which is relatively  
            rare, the costs of this state mandate should be minimal.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          City Clerks Association of California (sponsor)
          California Association of Clerks and Election Officials
          League of California Cities

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Lori Barber / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094