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California Constitutional Amendment to Eliminate Special Legislative Elections Advances

On May 23, the California Senate Appropriations Committee passed SCA 16 on a party line vote of 5-2. The measure would eliminate special elections when a vacancy occurs in the state legislature. The Governor would appoint a new legislator. The measure needs a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature, and if it passes, it would go on the November 2016 ballot, since it is a proposed constitutional amendment.

3 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    Having a party hack Guv fill vacancies in a State legislature is like going back to the EVIL Roman Empire — a Roman Emperor appointing his stooges to be Roman Empire Senators.

    What if a Guv kills off his opponents ???


    Candidate / Incumbent public rank order lists for replacements.
    Default – legislative body fills the vacancy with a person of the party involved (if any).

  2. Larry Allred

    Of course this this is a horrible idea, but I understand where it comes from. The establishment incumbency must loathe an open seat that might not even be down-ballot, oh way too much for a voter to get a grip on that. So they must go on about how expensive such things are so they might someday–now, we see–be abolished.

    It diminishes and ill-serves the voter. Figure the cost of that. Appointed incumbents running in small fields alongside recruited ringers, all converging on what is convenient to the private sponsors of the exercise, voters ratifying or granting honors and choosing nothing.

  3. Jim Riley

    A couple of alternatives:

    Require a petition with at least 10% of the votes cast in the previous election for the office. Once one candidate reaches that threshold, there could be 30 days for other candidates to qualify. The governor will then appoint the candidate most recommended by the voters.

    Election-fatigued voters might might have to prop themselves on an elbow to sign, but otherwise would not have to get off their divan to vote.

    Or:

    Have an all-mail ballot. In some recent special elections, 85% of the vote has been by mail, and that is by the permanent vote by mail folks. They are the only persons aware that the election is going on.

    Use ranked-choice voting to avoid runoffs. Since it is an all-mail election, ballots can be simple paper ballots, where numerals are used. They will be collected at one location, or a few locations if the district is in multiple candidates, and trivially hand-counted by citizen tellers.

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