Yes, I am back. In addition to my twitter feed (@calelectionlaw), I will now be updating the California Election Law Blog on a regular basis.
With the Legislature back in session, a number of new election law bills have been introduced in the Senate and Assembly. Here is a rundown of the bills introduced so far:
AB 45 would increase the monetary threshold of contributions or independent expenditures to qualify as a committee to $2,000. The bill would also revise the definition of a “controlled committee” to specify that a committee controlled by a candidate who is elected to office is a controlled committee for the duration of the candidate’s entire term of office.
AB 131 provides that the failure of a person registering to vote to provide his or her place of birth would not preclude his or her affidavit of registration from being deemed complete.
AB 141 relates the state’s top-two primary system. It provides that that in order for a write-in candidate to have his or her name appear on the general election ballot, the candidate must receive votes at the primary election equal in number to at least 1% of all votes cast for the office at the last preceding general election at which the office was filled.
SB 26 would require that disclosures on slate mailers be displayed more prominently.
SB 27 is aimed at providing more transparency to the campaign finance activities of nonprofit organizations, in light of the anonymous $11 million contribution made on the eve of the November 2102 California election. The bill would expand the definition of “contribution” to include payments made by a donor who, at the time of making the payment, knows or has reason to know that the payment, or funds with which the payment will be commingled, will be used to make contributions or expenditures. In addition, the bill would require ballot measure committees and candidate committees that raise $1,000,000 or more for an election to maintain an accurate list of the committee’s top 10 contributors, which would be posted on the Commission’s website and the committee’s website.
SB 29, in what would be a significant change to California election law, provides that a vote by mail ballot is timely cast if it is received by the elections official no later than 3 days after election day, and either the ballot is postmarked on or before election day or, if the ballot has no postmark, a postmark with no date, or an illegible postmark, the vote by mail ballot identification envelope is signed and dated on or before election day. Under current law, a ballot is valid only if it is received by the election official by the time the polls close on election day.
SB 44 would require each website maintained by the state to include a link on the site’s homepage to the Secretary of State’s online voter registration page.
SB 113 would lower the minimum age for purposes of submitting an affidavit of registration from 18 to 15 years of age, although the person would still be unable to vote until he or she turned 18.
SB 121, presumably in response to the Citizens United decision, would require a corporation that has shareholders located in this state and that makes a political contribution or expenditure to issue a report on the political expenditures of the corporation in the previous fiscal year, and to notify shareholders not less than 24 hours prior to each political contribution during the fiscal year.