BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS
                         AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
                         Senator Norma J. Torres, Chair


          BILL NO:   AB 1316           HEARING DATE: 6/4/13
          AUTHOR:    HARKEY            ANALYSIS BY:  Frances Tibon  
          Estoista
          AMENDED    4/16/13
          FISCAL:    YES
          
                                     SUBJECT
           
          Election ballots:  identical candidate names

                                   DESCRIPTION  
          
           Existing law  sets forth specific procedures, requirements  
          and specifications relating to ballots in all elections.

           Existing law  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  
          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 ________________"
           
          Existing law  requires the number chosen by the candidate to  
          be printed in large boldface type at the left of the name  
          on the ballot.

           Existing law  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.



           Existing law  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."
          
           Existing law  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.

           This bill  repeals the provision that allows each candidate  
          to choose the number that is used to distinguish him, or  
          herself from other candidates.
           
          This bill  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, and further 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.

           This bill  eliminates the requirement that the candidates'  
          distinguishing numbers and certain warning language must be  
          printed in boldface type.

           This bill  requires the elections official to conduct a  
          randomized drawing of the numbers assigned to the  
          candidates in order to determine the order in which  
          AB 1316 (HARKEY)                                       Page  
          2  
           








          candidates' names will appear on the ballot.

                                    BACKGROUND  
          
          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.



                                   



                                     COMMENTS  
          
            1. According to the author  :  Election Code 13118 has  
             proven to be problematic for city officials and  
             candidates for a couple of reasons.

           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  
          AB 1316 (HARKEY)                                       Page  
          3  
           








             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.

                                   PRIOR ACTION
           
          Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee:  7-0
          Assembly Appropriations Committee:      17-0
          Assembly Floor:                         75-0

                                    POSITIONS  

          Sponsor: City Clerks Association of California (CCAC)

           Support: California Association of Clerks and Election  
                   Officials (CACEO)
                    League of California Cities
                    Secretary of State 

           Oppose:  None received














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