SB 415, as amended, Hueso. Voter participation.
Existing law generally requires all state, county, municipal, district, and school district elections be held on an established election date. Existing law also establishes certain dates for statewide elections. Existing law requires any state, county, municipal, district, and school district election held on a statewide election date to be consolidated with a statewide election, except as provided.
This bill would prohibit a political subdivision, as defined, from holding an election other than on a statewide election date if holding an election on a non-concurrent date has previously resulted in voter turnout for a regularly-scheduled election in that political subdivision being at least five percent less than the average voter turnout within the political subdivision for the previous four statewide general elections.
This bill would require a court to implement appropriate remedies upon a violation of this prohibition. This bill would permit a voter who resides in a political subdivision where a violation is alleged to enforce this prohibition, and it would allow a prevailing plaintiff other than the state or political subdivision to collect a reasonable attorney’s fee and litigation expenses, as provided.
By requiring counties to change the conduct of their elections in certain circumstances, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.end delete
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.end delete
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.end delete
begin deleteyes end delete.
State-mandated local program: begin deleteyes end delete.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Chapter 1.7 (commencing with Section 14050)
2is added to Division 14 of the Elections Code, to read:
begin delete actend delete shall be known and may be cited as
7the California Voter Participation Rights Act.
As used in this chapter:
9(a) “Political subdivision” means a geographic area of
10representation created for the provision of government services,
11including, but not limited to, a city, a school district, a community
12college district, or other district organized pursuant to state law.
13(b) “Significant decrease in voter turnout” means the voter
14turnout for a regularly-scheduled election in a political subdivision
15is at least five percent less than the average voter turnout within
16that political subdivision for the previous four statewide general
turnout” means the percentage of voters who are
19eligible to cast ballots within a given political subdivision who
A political subdivision shall not hold an election other
22than on a statewide election date if holding an election on a
P3 1non-concurrent date has previously resulted in a significant
2decrease in voter turnout.
Upon a finding of a violation of Section 14052, the
4court shall implement appropriate remedies, including the
5imposition of concurrent election dates for future elections and
6the upgrade of voting equipment or systems to do so. In imposing
7remedies pursuant to this section, a court may also require a county
8board of supervisors to approve consolidation pursuant to Section
In an action to enforce Section 14052, the court shall
11allow the prevailing plaintiff other than the state or political
12subdivision thereof, a reasonable attorney’s fee consistent with
13the standards established in Serrano v. Priest (1977) 20 Cal.3d 25,
1448-49, and litigation expenses including, but not limited to, expert
15witness fees and expenses as part of the costs. A prevailing
16defendant shall not recover any costs, unless the court finds the
17action to be frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.
A voter who resides in a political subdivision where a
19violation of Section 14052 is alleged may file an action pursuant
20to that section in the superior court of the county in which the
21political subdivision is located.
begin delete shallend delete not apply to special elections.
This act shall become operative on January 1, 2018.
If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
27this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
28local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
29pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
304 of Title 2 of the Government Code.