BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON
          ELECTIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
                              Senator Ben Allen, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             AB 562         Hearing Date:    6/16/15    
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          |Author:    |Holden                                               |
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          |Version:   |5/6/15                                               |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |No               |
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          |Consultant:|Frances Tibon Estoista                               |
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                            Subject:  Elections: ballots

           DIGEST
           
            This bill requires the office of the Superintendent of Public  
          Instruction (SPI) to be listed on the ballot under the heading  
          of STATEWIDE EDUCATION; requires the office of SPI to appear on  
          the ballot immediately after the races for state Assembly and  
          makes other technical changes.

           ANALYSIS
           
          Existing law sets forth the order of precedence of offices and  
          measures on the ballot, and requires the office of SPI to be  
          listed in the ballot under the heading, SCHOOL.  Existing law  
          specifically:



          1)Requires every ballot to contain the following:


             a)   The title of each office, arranged to conform as nearly  
               as practical in accordance with existing law;


             b)   The names of all qualified candidates, as specified;  
               and, 









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             c)   The titles and summaries of measures submitted to a vote  
               of the voters.


          2)Requires the offices on the ballot to be listed in the order  
            detailed below, beginning in the column to the left:


             a)   Under the heading, PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT (at a  
               Presidential general election): Nominees of the qualified  
               political parties and independent nominees for President  
               and Vice President.


             b)   Under the heading, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (at a  
               Presidential primary election):  Names of the presidential  
               candidates to whom the delegates are pledged and names of  
               the chairpersons of unpledged delegations. 


             c)   Under the heading STATE:


               i)     Governor;


               ii)         Lieutenant Governor;


               iii)        Secretary of State;


               iv)         Controller;


               v)     Treasurer;


               vi)         Attorney General;


               vii)        Insurance Commissioner; and, 










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               viii)        Member, State Board of Equalization.


             d)   Under the heading, UNITED STATES SENATOR:  Candidates or  
               nominees to the United States Senate.


             e)   Under the heading, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE:   
               Candidates or nominees to the House of Representatives of  
               the United States.


             f)   Under the heading, STATE SENATOR:  Candidates or  
               nominees to the State Senate.


             g)   Under the heading, MEMBER OF THE STATE ASSEMBLY:   
               Candidates or nominees to the Assembly.


             h)   Under the heading, COUNTY COMMITTEE:  Members of the  
               County Central Committee.


             i)   Under the heading, JUDICIAL:


               i)     Chief Justice of California;


               ii)         Associate Justice of the Supreme Court;


               iii)        Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal;


               iv)         Associate Justice, Court of Appeal;


               v)     Judge of the Superior Court; and,


               vi)         Marshal.









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             j)   Under the heading, SCHOOL:


               i)     Superintendent of Public Instruction;


               ii)         County Superintendent of Schools;


               iii)        County Board of Education Members;


               iv)         College District Governing Board Members;


               v)     Unified District Governing Board Members;


               vi)         High School District Governing Board Members;  
                 and,


               vii)        Elementary District Governing Board Members.


             aa)         Under the heading, COUNTY:


               i)     County Supervisor; and,


               ii)         Other offices in alphabetical order by the  
                 title of the office.


             bb)         Under the heading, CITY:


               i)     Mayor;


               ii)         Member, City Council; and, 









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               iii)        Other offices in alphabetical order by the  
                 title of the office.


             cc)         Under the heading, DISTRICT:  Directors or  
               trustees for each district in alphabetical order according  
               to the name of the district.


             dd)         Under the heading, MEASURES SUBMITTED TO THE  
               VOTERS, ballot measures beginning with state measures.

          3)Permits county elections officials to vary the order of  
            school, county, city, and district offices and measures in  
            order to allow for the most efficient use of space on the  
            ballot provided that the office of SPI always precedes any  
            school, county, or city office and state measures always  
            precede local measures.

          This bill:  Changes the order of precedence on the ballot for  
          the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction by doing the  
          following:

          1)Creates the heading STATEWIDE EDUCATION and places it just  
            below candidates or nominees to the Assembly.

          2)Requires the title Superintendent of Public Instruction be  
            listed immediately underneath the heading STATEWIDE EDUCATION.

          3)Makes other technical changes.

           BACKGROUND
           
           Ballot Content and Form  :  Existing law requires a ballot to  
          comply with a variety of laws that dictate its form and content.  
           For example, a ballot is required to contain the title of each  
          office, the names of all qualified candidates, as specified,  
          ballot designations, as specified, titles and summaries of  
          measures submitted to voters, and instructions to voters, among  
          other things.  In addition, existing law requires a ballot to  
          follow certain formatting requirements, such as the order  
          offices must appear on the ballot and font size.  While existing  
          law does allow for some flexibility in ballot format, such as  








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          allowing a county elections official to make ballot formatting  
          changes to accommodate the limitations of a voting system or  
          vote tabulating device, as specified, most requirements are  
          fairly specific.

          As described above, current law requires the office of SPI to be  
          listed under the heading SCHOOL, which is listed  after   
          candidates for President and Vice President, candidates for  
          statewide offices (such as Governor, Lieutenant Governor,  
          Secretary of State, etc.), candidates for United States Senator  
          and Representative, candidates for state Senate and Assembly,  
          candidates for county central committees, and finally judicial  
          candidates.   As a result, the office of SPI is found further  
          down the ballot usually on the second page.

           COMMENTS
                                           
           1)According to the Author  , the Superintendent of Public  
            Instruction is the only statewide elected officer that does  
            not appear at the top of the ballot.  AB 562 makes a technical  
            change to instead require the Superintendent of Public  
            Instruction to be listed under the heading, "STATEWIDE  
            EDUCATION," alongside other statewide elected officers in  
            order to ensure that voters have the opportunity to select  
            their candidate.

           2)Ballot Placement  :  Many studies discuss the phenomenon of  
            "voter fatigue" or "ballot drop-off" in which the number of  
            votes cast per office drops consistently as a voter moves down  
            the ballot.  For instance, the number of votes cast for  
            president is almost always much greater than the number of  
            votes cast for many candidates located lower on the ballot for  
            other offices (such as state legislators, judicial, county  
            supervisors, city councilors, etc.).  Other studies discuss  
            the advantage of ballot placement content and contend that  
            there is an advantage to being listed first on the ballot and  
            that offices in the middle and the bottom of the ballot tend  
            to receive less attention.  According to a  Sacramento Bee   
            editorial provided by the author's office, approximately 6.7  
            million ballots were cast in the November 4, 2014 General  
            Election and only 5.4 million of them included a vote for  
            either of the two candidates running for the office of SPI.

           PRIOR ACTION








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          |Assembly Floor:                       |74 - 0                     |
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          |Assembly Elections and Redistricting  |  7 - 0                    |
          |Committee:                            |                           |
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          POSITIONS
           
          Sponsor: Author

           Support: California Association of Clerks and Election  
                   Officials

           Oppose:  None received

                                          
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