BILL NUMBER: AB 1515 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Hertzberg FEBRUARY 23, 2001 An act to repeal Sections 10705 and 10706 of, and to repeal and add Section 10704 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 1515, as introduced, Hertzberg. Special legislative or congressional election: instant runoff voting. Existing law provides generally that, at a special election called by the Governor to fill a vacancy in the office of Representative in Congress, State Senator, or Member of the Assembly, all candidates be listed on the ballot and, if any candidate receives a majority of all votes cast, he or she shall be declared elected, and a special general election may not be held. If a candidate does not receive a majority of all votes cast, the names of the candidates receiving the most votes representing a qualified political party are placed on the special general election ballot as that party's candidate. Under existing law, the special primary and the special general elections are required to be conducted within specified time periods. This bill would delete these requirements and certain related provisions and would instead require that a special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Representative in Congress, State Senator, or Member of the Assembly be conducted using an instant run-off voting method. By requiring the use of a new voting method, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement, including the creation of a State Mandates Claims Fund to pay the costs of mandates that do not exceed $1,000,000 statewide and other procedures for claims whose statewide costs exceed $1,000,000. This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. Section 10704 of the Elections Code is repealed.
10704. (a) A special primary election shall be held in the district in which the vacancy occurred on the eighth Tuesday or, if the eighth Tuesday is the day of or the day following a state holiday, the ninth Tuesday preceding the day of the special general election at which the vacancy is to be filled. Candidates at the primary election shall be nominated in the manner set forth in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 8000) of Part 1 of Division 8, except that nomination papers shall not be circulated more than 63 days before the primary election, shall be left with the county elections official for examination not less than 43 days before the primary election, and shall be filed with the Secretary of State not less than 39 days before the primary election. (b) Notwithstanding Section 3001, applications for absent voter ballots may be submitted not more than 25 days before the primary election, except that Section 3001 shall apply if the special election or special primary election is consolidated with a statewide election. Applications received by the elections official prior to the 25th day shall not be returned to the sender, but shall be held by the elections official and processed by him or her following the 25th day prior to the election in the same manner as if received at that time.SEC. 2. Section 10704 is added to the Elections Code, to read: 10704. A special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Representative in Congress, State Senator, or Member of the Assembly shall be conducted using an instant run-off voting method. SEC. 3. Section 10705 of the Elections Code is repealed. 10705. (a) All candidates shall be listed on one ballot and, except as provided in subdivision (b), if any candidate receives a majority of all votes cast, he or she shall be declared elected, and no special general election shall be held. (b) If only one candidate qualifies to have his or her name printed on the special general election ballot, that candidate shall be declared elected, and no special general election shall be held, even if that candidate received less than a majority of the votes cast.SEC. 4. Section 10706 of the Elections Code is repealed. 10706. (a) If no candidate receives a majority of votes cast, the name of that candidate of each qualified political party who receives the most votes cast for all candidates of that party shall be placed on the special general election ballot as the candidate of that party. The name of a write-in candidate shall not be placed on the ballot unless he or she also meets the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 8605. (b) In addition to the candidates referred to in subdivision (a), each candidate who has qualified for the ballot by reason of the independent nomination procedure pursuant to Part 2 (commencing with Section 8300) of Division 8 shall be placed on the special general election ballot as an independent candidate. However, if two or more of these candidates are recorded on their affidavits of registration as being affiliated with the same political body, only the candidate with the greatest number of votes shall be placed on the special general election ballot.SEC. 5. Notwithstanding Section 17610 of the Government Code, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code. If the statewide cost of the claim for reimbursement does not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000), reimbursement shall be made from the State Mandates Claims Fund.