BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 562

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          562 (Holden)

          As Enrolled  September 10, 2015

          2/3 vote

          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Elections       |7-0  |Ridley-Thomas, Grove, |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |Travis Allen, Gatto,  |                    |
          |                |     |Gordon, Mullin, Perea |                    |

          |ASSEMBLY:  |74-0  |(May 22, 2015) |SENATE: |40-0  |(September 8,    |
          |           |      |               |        |      |2015)            |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |

          SUMMARY:  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.   
          Makes other technical changes. 


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          EXISTING LAW:  

          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;  

             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:
             a)   President and Vice President.
             b)   President of the United States.

             c)   State offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor,  
               Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney  
               General, Insurance Commissioner, and Members of the State  
               Board of Equalization.

             d)   United States Senate.

             e)   United States House of Representatives.

             f)   State Senate.

             g)   State Assembly.

             h)   Political Party County Central Committee.


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             i)   Judicial offices.

             j)   School offices, including SPI.

             aa)  County offices.

             bb)  District offices.

             cc)  Ballot 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.  
          FISCAL EFFECT:  None.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.

          COMMENTS:  According to the author, "Studies show that most  
          voters do not make it to the bottom of a ballot, therefore  
          preventing them from fully participating in the election  
          process.  The Superintendent of Public Instruction is the only  
          statewide elected officer that does not appear at the top of the  
          ballot and, as a result, may not receive the entirety of votes  
          cast.  Assembly Bill 562 makes a technical change to place the  
          Superintendent of Public Instruction at the top of the ballot  
          alongside other statewide elected officers in order to ensure  
          that voters have the opportunity to select their candidate."


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          Current law requires a ballot to comply with a variety of laws  
          that dictate its form and content.  For example, existing law  
          requires a ballot 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, current 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 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  

          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.  This bill makes technical changes  
          to the placement of the office of SPI on the ballot.   
          Specifically, this bill requires the office of the SPI to be  
          moved up on the ballot and be listed after candidates for the  
          state Assembly under the new heading of STATEWIDE EDUCATION.  

          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 for lower statewide elected office (such as  
          Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, etc.)  
          or other local offices (such as state legislators, city  


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          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 news media article 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.


          This bill would move the Superintendent of Public Instruction to  
          a new stand-alone category entitled "STATEWIDE EDUCATION" near  
          the top of statewide ballots, instead of under the current  
          heading of "SCHOOL," along with other education officials.

          Just as the Chief Justice is placed with all other judicial  
          candidates -- both local and regional -- on the ballot, it  
          stands to reason that the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
          should be placed with all other educational candidates.

          The current ballot order has existed with minimal changes for  
          decades, and I don't think there is a good reason to change it  

          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Nichole Becker / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094  FN:  


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