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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for San Diego County.
This is an archive of a past election.

Regarding the Timing of Elections for Citizens' Initiative Measures and Referendum MeasuresCharter Amendment

Local
November 8, 2016California General Election

City of San Diego
Measure L Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

305,638 votes yes (65.79%)

158,911 votes no (34.21%)

Shall the Charter be amended to require qualified citizens' initiative and referendum measures to be submitted to voters on the next November general election ballot and not at a June primary election, unless the Council chooses to submit the measure to voters prior to that election?

Information provided by League of Women Voters San Diego

The Proposal

What it would do:

  • Requires local initiatives and referenda measures to be in the general election in November (unless the City Council decides to submit them to the voters earlier).

 

 

Supporters say

 

  • Many more people (especially minorities and younger voters) vote in the November General Election than in the Primary election.

Opponents say

 

  • There will be too many ballot measures in November partly because the State of California has limited its ballot measures to November as well.

  • There could be less interest in the Primary election resulting in a smaller voter turnout.

Summary

The California Constitution and San Diego Charter reserve the powers of initiative and referendum to the people of San Diego. If a sufficient number of registered voters sign petitions, an initiative or referendum measure will qualify for the ballot.

The San Diego Charter directs that the procedure for the exercise by the people of the power of initiative and referendum must be “expeditious.”

San Diego’s election laws provide that citizens’ initiative and referendum measures that qualify for the ballot must be submitted to voters at the next citywide election on which the measure could be heard, or at a special, stand-alone election held prior to that time. These provisions are in the San Diego Municipal Code and must also follow the Charter requirement of an “expeditious” process.

This measure would add language to the San Diego Charter requiring citizens’ initiative and referendum measures to be submitted to voters on the next November general election ballot and not at a June primary election, unless the City Council decides to submit a particular measure to voters on an earlier ballot.

In the case of a measure that qualifies for a June ballot but must wait until November, the amendments would give the City Council the power to decide if it would be heard sooner, but the Council would not be required to consider the option. If this involves a referendum measure, the legislative act at issue is stayed until after the vote. In such a circumstance, the amendments thus could result in a longer stay of a legislative act.

— San Diego City Attorney

Background

The City Council voted to place this measure on the ballot. If approved, the Charter amendments would become effective after they are chaptered by the California Secretary of State

— San Diego City Attorney

Impartial analysis / Proposal

The California Constitution grants authority to Charter cities like San Diego to establish procedures for their own elections. The San Diego Charter and Municipal Code thus govern elections for City ballot measures.

This Charter amendment measure would make a substantive change to the timing of the City’s elections for citizens’ initiative and referendum measures.

The California Constitution and San Diego Charter reserve to the people the powers of initiative and referendum. An initiative or referendum measure will qualify for the ballot if a sufficient number of registered voters have signed petitions to qualify the measure.

San Diego’s election laws currently require all initiative and referendum measures that qualify for the ballot to be placed on the next citywide ballot on which the measure can be heard. The next available ballot could be either the City’s June primary or the November general election, both of which are held on the same dates as statewide elections, in even-numbered years. The Council also may call a separate, stand-alone election to have a measure heard prior to the next citywide election. These laws are in the City’s Municipal Code.

The Charter states that the City’s procedures for the people’s exercise of their constitutional powers of initiative and referendum are to be “expeditious.” The “expeditious” provision has been legally interpreted to require initiative and referendum measures to be submitted to voters at the next available citywide election. The Charter does not include any other direction regarding the timing of ballot measure elections.

If the measure is approved, the Charter would require citizens’ initiative and referendum measures to be placed on November general election ballots. This means that an initiative or referendum measure that qualifies in time to be heard for the June ballot would not be heard at that time, but in November. The amendments would give the Council the power to decide if a qualified initiative or referendum measure would be submitted to voters earlier, either at the June election or a separate stand-alone election; however, the Council is not required to consider that option.

In the case of a referendum, the legislative act at issue is stayed until after the vote. If a measure qualifies in time to be heard in June but must wait for November, the legislative act would be stayed longer. The amendments would state that the new procedure complies with the Charter’s requirement of an “expeditious” process for the people’s exercise of the constitutional powers of initiative and referendum.

Citizens’ measures, resulting from a signature-gathering effort, are the only measures affected. The requirement would not apply to measures initiated by City officials or a Charter Review Commission. Amendments would clarify that all other municipal ballot measures may be submitted to voters at the next citywide Municipal Primary Election or Municipal General Election, or at any City-wide special election held for that purpose.

The California Constitution now requires statewide initiative and referendum measures to be submitted to voters at the next general election, or any special statewide election held earlier.

— San Diego City Attorney

Financial effect

This measure would require citizens’ initiatives and referenda to be placed on the City’s November General Election ballot. At present, initiatives and referenda can be placed on either the City’s November General Election ballot or the City’s June Primary ballot.

This measure would shift all ballot costs associated with initiatives and referenda to November. There is no net fiscal impact associated with this measure. 

— San Diego City Attorney

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE L

VOTE YES ON MEASURE L
MORE VOTERS = BETTER DECISIONS

Measure L ensures important decisions regarding city ballot measures are made in November general elections, when more people vote.

MEASURE L ENSURES IMPORTANT CITY DECISIONS ARE MADE BY A MAJORITY OF VOTERS

  • The city’s current system allows important decisions to be made by a small fraction of city voters in the June primary, when as few as 20 percent of voters cast ballots. Measure L ensures final decisions on issues that affect our families, our neighborhoods and our city are made in November, when as many as 80 percent of voters cast ballots.

MEASURE L IS CONSISTENT WITH THE STATE PROCESS FOR BALLOT MEASURES

  • Measure L uses the same process used for state initiatives in California, placing them on the November general election ballot when the most people vote.

MEASURE L GIVES VOTERS – NOT SPECIAL INTERESTS – POWER TO DECIDE BIG ISSUES

  • The city’s current system gives political parties and special interests -- with the power of their money and endorsements – more influence in the June primary election, and leaves many voters out of the process.

MEASURE L PROTECTS TAXPAYERS

  • Measure L protects taxpayers by ensuring more voters participate in important decisions, so that special interest groups seeking special treatment have less influence – and it costs no more than the current system.

MEASURE L ENSURES IMPORTANT DECISIONS ARE MADE WHEN THE MOST PEOPLE VOTE

  • Democracy functions best when the most people vote, and that is in November.

THAT’S WHY MEASURE L IS ENDORSED BY TAXPAYERS, COMMUNITY LEADERS, ELECTION EXPERTS AND GOOD GOVERNMENT ADVOCATES.

YesOnKandL.org

/s/ 

SHERRI LIGHTNER
San Diego City Council President

SCOTT BARNETT
President, San Diego Taxpayers Advocate

CHUCK ABDELNOUR
Retired San Diego City Clerk and Chief Elections Officer

REV. J. LEE HILL JR.
President, San Diego County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance

ALAN ARROLLADO
President, San Diego City Fire Fighters, Local 145

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE L

No argument against Measure L was filed in the office of the City Clerk.

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

[None]

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

[None]

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters
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