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‘None of the Above’ Ballot Option.
Initiative Statute.
Text of Proposition 23
 

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of Article II of the California Constitution.

This initiative measure amends and adds sections to the Elections Code; therefore, existing provisions proposed to be deleted are printed in BOLDED/UNDERLINED type and new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

 

PROPOSED LAW

"NONE OF THE ABOVE" ELECTION REFORM ACT

SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "None of the Above" Election Reform Act.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS

The people of the State of California find and declare:

(a) Many eligible citizens of all political parties do not participate in elections because they are angered by negative campaigns, frustrated with the narrow choice of candidates, and convinced that those elected to represent them are out of touch with their needs.

(b) Voters in the State of Nevada have, for more than 20 years, benefited from having the choice to vote for "none of these candidates" and have their choice counted and reported as part of official election results.

(c) Establishing the option of voting for "None of the Above" will encourage voter participation in elections by giving citizens who have tended not to vote in the past a means of participating responsibly while voicing a protest against negative campaigns, limited choice of candidates, and poor performance of officeholders.

(d) Establishing a nonbinding "None of the Above" option will not alter the principle that the election is won by the candidate who receives the most votes.

(e) Voters, candidates, and officeholders will benefit from official publication of information concerning how many voters choose "None of the Above" rather than any of the candidates on the ballot for a particular public office. Specifically, when more voters cast their ballots for "None of the Above" than for any of the candidates, they will send a powerful message about the need for reform. Votes for "None of the Above" will tell politicians that their methods of recruiting candidates, campaigning, and communicating with the public need improvement.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE AND INTENT

The people of the State of California hereby declare their purpose and intent in enacting this act to be as follows:

(a) To increase voter participation in elections.

(b) To give voters a means to responsibly protest, and visibly express their dissatisfaction with, the choices offered on the ballot.

(c) To send politicians a message about voter anger over negative campaigns, the lack of meaningful choices among candidates, and the inaccessibility of their elected representatives.

SEC. 4. Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 400) is added to

Division 0.5 of the Elections Code, as follows:

Chapter 5. Option of Voting for None of the Above

 

 

400. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in all primary, general, special, and recall elections for President, Vice President, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, Member of the Board of Equalization, Member of the Assembly, and State Senator, voters shall be provided with the option of voting for "None of the Above." Only votes cast for named candidates (including valid write-in candidates) shall be counted in determining the selection of presidential electors or nomination or election to any of the other specified federal and state offices, but for each office the number of ballots on which "None of the Above" was selected shall be listed below the names of the candidates and the number of their votes in every tally sheet, snap tally form, semiofficial return, official return, statement of the result, return, statement of the vote, supplement to the statement of the vote, or other official listing of election results.

SEC. 5. Section 6480 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

6480. The format of the presidential portion of the Republican primary ballot shall be governed by Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100) of Division 13, with the following exceptions:

(a) Instructions to voters shall exclude any reference to groups of candidates preferring a person whose name appears on the ballot or references to any group of candidates not expressing a preference for a particular candidate.

(b) In place of the heading: "FOR DELEGATES TO NATIONAL CONVENTION. Vote for One Group or \'None of the Above' Only." shall appear the heading: "PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE. Vote for One or \'None of the Above' ."

(c) Candidates for President shall be listed on the ballot in the same order provided for in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100) of Division 13 for statewide candidates.

(d) Only the names of selected and unselected presidential candidates shall appear on the ballot in the spaces provided. No reference shall be made to their being preferred by candidates for delegates to the national convention.

SEC. 6. Section 6620 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

6620. For the presidential primary election, the format of the American Independent Party ballot shall be governed by Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100) of Division 13, with the following exceptions:

(a) In place of the heading "Delegates to National Convention, vote for one group or \'None of the Above' only" shall appear the heading "Presidential Preference, vote for one or \'None of the Above' ."

(b) Selected and unselected presidential candidates shall be listed below the heading specified in subdivision (a).

(c) Below the presidential candidates shall appear in the same column, or in the next column if there is not sufficient space in the first column, the heading "Delegates to National Convention, vote for one group or \'None of the Above' ."

(d) The instructions to voters shall be the same as provided for in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100) of Division 13 except that they shall begin with the words, "To express your preference for a candidate for nomination for President, stamp a cross (+) in the square opposite the name of the candidate or "None of the Above." Your vote in this portion of the ballot is advisory only. Delegates to the national convention will be elected in the delegate selection portion of the ballot."

SEC. 7. Section 6821 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

6821. For the presidential primary election, the format of the Peace and Freedom Party ballot shall be governed by Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100) of Division 13, with the following exceptions:

(a) In place of the heading "Delegates to National Convention, vote for one group only" shall appear the heading "Presidential Preference, vote for one or \'None of the Above' ."

(b) Selected and unselected presidential candidates shall be listed below the heading specified in subdivision (a).

(c) Below the presidential candidates shall appear in the same column, or in the next column if there is not sufficient space in the first column, the heading "Delegates to National Convention, vote for one group or \'None of the Above'. "

(d) Presidential candidates who have qualified for the ballot and to whom delegations are pledged, and the chairpersons of unpledged delegations which have qualified for the ballot, shall be listed below the heading specified in subdivision (c).

(e) The instructions to voters shall be the same as provided for in

Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 13100) of Division 13, except that they shall begin with the words, "To express your preference for a candidate for nomination for President, stamp a cross (+) in the square opposite the name of the candidate or "None of the Above" . Your vote in this portion of the ballot is advisory only. Delegates to the national convention will be elected in the delegate selection portion of the ballot."

SEC. 8. Section 9035 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9035. An initiative measure may be proposed by presenting to the Secretary of State a petition that sets forth the text of the proposed statute or amendment to the Constitution and is certified to have been signed by registered voters equal in number to 5 percent in the case of a statute, and 8 percent in the case of an amendment to the Constitution, of the voters for all candidates and for "None of the Above" for Governor at the last gubernatorial election preceding the issuance of the title and summary for the initiative measure by the Attorney General.

SEC. 9. Section 11322 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

11322. In addition to the material contained in Section 11320, the following shall appear on ballots at all recall elections, except at a landowner voting district recall election:

(a) The names of the candidates nominated to succeed the officer sought to be recalled shall appear under each recall question.

(b) Following each list of candidates, the ballot shall provide one blank line with a voting space to the right of it for the voter to write in a name not printed on the ballot.

(c) In addition to the material contained in subdivisions (a) and (b), the following shall appear on ballots at all recall elections for the offices specified in Section 400: the phrase "None of the Above" with a voting space to the right of it.

SEC. 10. Section 13204 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

13204. (a) (1) The instructions to voters shall be printed at least three-eighths of an inch below the district designation. The instructions shall begin with the words "INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS:" in no smaller than 16-point gothic condensed capital type. Thereafter, there shall be printed in 10-point gothic type all of the following directions that are applicable to the ballot:

"To vote for a candidate for Chief Justice of California; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal; or Associate Justice, Court of Appeal, stamp a cross (+) in the voting square after the word "Yes," to the right of the name of the candidate. To vote against that candidate, stamp a cross (+) in the voting square after the word "No," to the right of the name of that candidate."

"To vote for any other candidate of your selection, stamp a cross in the voting square to the right of the candidate's name. (When justices of the Supreme Court or court of appeal do not appear on the ballot, the instructions referring to voting after the word "Yes" or the word "No" will be deleted and the above sentence shall read: "To vote for a candidate whose name appears on the ballot, stamp a cross (+) in the voting square to the right of the candidate's name.") Where two or more candidates for the same office are to be elected, stamp a cross (+) after the names of all candidates for the office for whom you desire to vote, not to exceed, however, the number of candidates to be elected."

"To vote for a qualified write-in candidate, write the person's name in the blank space provided for that purpose after the names of the other candidates for the same office."

"To vote on any measure, stamp a cross (+) in the voting square after the word "Yes" or after the word "No."

"All distinguishing marks or erasures are forbidden and make the ballot void."

"If you wrongly stamp, tear, or deface this ballot, return it to the precinct board member and obtain another."

"On absent voter ballots mark a cross (+) with pen or pencil."

(2) With respect only to elections in which the names of candidates for one or more of the affected offices appear, the instructions to voters shall include, printed after the directions set forth in paragraph (1), the following paragraph:

"If you do not choose to vote for any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer, Member of the Board of Equalization, Member of the Assembly, or State Senator, should any or all of these offices appear on the ballot, you may stamp a cross (+) in the voting square to the right of the phrase "None of the Above," or you may decline to vote with respect to that office."

(b) The instructions to voters shall be separated by no smaller than a two-point rule from the portion of the ballot which contains the various offices and measures to be voted on.

SEC. 11. Section 13205 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

13205. Additional instructions to voters shall appear on the ballot prior to those provided for in Section 13204 under the following conditions:

(a) In a primary election at which candidates for delegate to national convention are to be voted upon, the instructions shall read:

"To vote for the group of candidates preferring a person whose name appears on the ballot, stamp a cross (+) in the square opposite the name of the person preferred. To vote for a group of candidates not expressing a preference for a particular candidate, stamp a cross (+) in the square opposite the name of the chairman of the group. If you do not choose to vote for any group of candidates, you may stamp a cross (+) in the voting square to the right of the phrase "None of the Above," or you may decline to vote with respect to that office."

(b) In elections when electors of President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen, there shall be placed upon the ballot, in addition to the instructions to voters as provided in this chapter, an instruction instructions as follows:

(1) "To vote for all of the electors of a party, stamp a cross (+) in the square opposite the names of the presidential and vice presidential candidates of that party. A cross (+) stamped in the square opposite the name of a party and its presidential and vice presidential candidate, is a vote for all of the electors of that party, but for no other candidates."

(2) "If you do not choose to vote for any electors, you may stamp a cross (+) in the voting square to the right of the phrase "None of the Above," or you may decline to vote with respect to electors of President and Vice President of the United States."

(c) If a group of candidates for electors has been nominated under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 8400) of Division 8, and has under Chapter 1 (commencing at Section 8300) of Division 8 designated the names of the candidates for President and Vice President of the United States for whom those candidates have pledged themselves to vote, the instructions to voters shall also contain the following , before the instruction required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) :

#roman#"To vote for those electors who have pledged themselves to vote for a candidate for President and Vice President not supported by any particular party stamp a cross (+) in the square opposite the names of those presidential and vice presidential candidates."

(d) If a group of candidates for electors has been nominated by a party not qualified to participate in the election, the instructions to voters shall also contain the following , before the instruction required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) :

"To vote for those electors who have pledged themselves to vote for a candidate for President and for Vice President of any party not qualified to participate in the election write in the names and party of those presidential and vice presidential candidates in the blank space provided for that purpose."

SEC. 12. Section 13208 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

13208. (a) In the right-hand margin of each column light vertical lines shall be printed in such a way as to create a voting square after the name of each candidate for partisan office, nonpartisan office (except for justice of the Supreme Court or court of appeal), or for chairman of a group of candidates for delegate to a national convention who express no preference for a presidential candidate. In the case of all elections for the offices of President, Vice President, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer, Member of the Board of Equalization, Member of the Assembly, #italic#or State Senator, there shall be a voting square after the phrase "None of the Above." In the case of Supreme Court or appellate justices and in the case of measures submitted to the voters, the lines shall be printed so as to create voting squares to the right of the words "Yes" and "No." The voting squares shall be used by the voters to express their choices as provided for in the instruction to voters.

(b) The standard voting square shall be at least three-eighths of an inch square but may be up to one-half inch square. Voting squares for measures may be as tall as is required by the space occupied by the title and summary.

SEC. 13. Section 13210 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

13210. (a) In the case of candidates for delegate to national convention, there shall be printed in boldface gothic type, not smaller than 12-point, across the column above the names of the persons preferred by the groups of candidates for delegates, the words, "President of the United States." The words "Vote for one group or \'None of the Above' only" shall extend to the extreme right-hand margin of the column and over the voting square.

(b) In the case of candidates for President and Vice President, the words "Vote for One Party or \'None of the Above' " shall appear just below the heading "President and Vice President" and shall be printed so as to appear above the voting squares for that office. The heading "President and Vice President" shall be printed in boldface 12-point gothic type, and shall be centered above the names of the candidates.

(c) In that section of the ballot designated for judicial offices, next to the heading "judicial" shall appear the instruction: "Vote yes or no for each office."

(d) In the case of candidates for Justice of the Supreme Court and court of appeal, within the rectangle provided for each candidate, and immediately above each candidate's name, there shall appear the following: "For (designation of judicial office)." There shall be as many of these headings as there are candidates for these judicial offices. No heading shall apply to more than one judicial office. Underneath each heading shall appear the words "Shall (title and name of Justice) be elected to the office for the term provided by law?"

(e) In the case of all other candidates, each group of candidates to be voted on shall be preceded by the designation of the office for which they are running, and the words "vote for one" or "vote for no more than two," or more, according to the number to be nominated or elected. The designation of the office shall be printed flush with the left-hand margin in boldfaced gothic type not smaller than 8-point. The words, "vote for ____" shall extend to the extreme right-hand margin of the column and over the voting square. The designation of the office and the directions for voting shall be separated from the candidates by a light line. There shall be no line between the headings for federal or legislative offices and the designation of the office and the directions for voting.

SEC. 14. Section 13211 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

13211. The names of the candidates and, with regard to all elections for the offices specified in Section 400, the phrase "None of the Above," shall be printed on the ballot, without indentation, in roman capital, boldface type not smaller than eight-point, between light lines or rules at least three-eighths of an inch apart but no more than one-half inch apart. However, in the case of candidates for President and Vice President, the lines or rules may be as much as five-eighths of an inch apart.

SEC. 15. Section 14441 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

14441. (a) The elections official shall prepare and forward to each selected precinct forms containing a list of the offices and measures designated as being of more than ordinary interest, and stating the number of ballots to be counted for the snap tally. In each general election, the special form shall, for each office listed on it, include the names of all candidates for that office whose names appear on the ballot . and, with regard to elections for the offices specified in Section 400, the designation "None of the Above."

(b) The inspector at each selected precinct shall note the results of the count and the total number of votes cast in the precinct on the snap tally forms as soon as the designated number of ballots has been tallied. The inspector shall then communicate the figures in the manner directed by the elections official. In each general election, the figures shall include the votes cast for every candidate whose name appears on the ballot for an office listed on the forms. The inspector shall continue, each time the designated number of ballots have been tallied, to note and report the results as directed.

SEC. 16. Section 14442 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

14442. Upon receipt from the precincts of the reports of votes cast on the specially designated offices and measures, the elections official shall tabulate the results and make the results available to the public. In each general election, all these reports of the election results shall include the votes cast for all candidates whose names appear on the ballot for each office for which returns are reported . and, with regard to the offices specified in Section 400, the votes cast for "None of the Above."

SEC. 17. Section 15151 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15151. (a) The elections official shall transmit the semifinal official results to the Secretary of State in the manner and according to the schedule prescribed by the Secretary of State prior to each election, for the following:

(1) All candidates and, with regard to elections for the statewide offices specified in Section 400, "None of the Above," voted for statewide office.

(2) All candidates and "None of the Above" voted for the following offices:

(A) State Assembly.

(B) State Senate.

(C) Member of the United States House of Representatives.

(D) Member of the State Board of Equalization.

(E) (3) All candidates voted for Justice of the Court of Appeals.

(3) (4) All persons and "None of the Above" voted for at the presidential primary or for electors of President and Vice President of the United States. The results at the presidential primary for candidates for President to whom delegates of a political party are pledged shall be reported according to the number of votes each candidate and "None of the Above" received from all voters and separately according to the number of votes each candidate and "None of the Above" received from voters affiliated with each political party qualified to participate in the presidential primary election, and from voters who have declined to affiliate with a qualified political party. The elections official shall adopt procedures required to tabulate the ballots separately by party affiliation.

(4) (5) Statewide ballot measures.

(b) The elections official shall transmit the results to the Secretary of State at intervals no greater than two hours, following commencement of the semifinal official canvass.

SEC. 18. Section 15276 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15276. The precinct board members shall ascertain the number of votes cast for each person , for "None of the Above," and for and against each measure in the following manner:

One precinct board member shall read from the ballots. As the ballots are read, at least one other precinct board member shall keep watch of each vote so as to check on any possible error or omission on the part of the officer reading or calling the ballot.

SEC. 19. Section 15277 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15277. (a) Two of the precinct board members shall each keep a tally sheet in a form prescribed by the elections official. Each tally sheet shall contain all of the following:

(1) The name of each candidate and, with regard to elections for the offices specified in Section 400, "None of the Above," being voted for and the specific office for which each candidate is and "None of the Above" are being voted. The offices shall be in the same order as on the ballot.

(2) A list of each measure being voted upon.

(3) Sufficient space to permit the tallying of the full vote cast for each candidate , for "None of the Above," and for and against each measure.

(b) The precinct board members keeping the tally sheets shall record opposite each name or measure, with pen or indelible pencil, the number of votes by tallies as the name of each candidate , "None of the Above," or measure voted upon is read aloud from the respective ballot.

(c) Immediately upon the completion of the tallies, the precinct board members keeping the tally shall draw two heavy lines in ink or indelible pencil from the last tally mark to the end of the line in which the tallies terminate and initial that line. The total number of votes counted for each candidate , for "None of the Above," and for and against each measure shall be recorded on the tally sheets in words and figures.

SEC. 20. Section 15374 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15374. (a) The statement of the result shall show all of the following:

(1) The total number of ballots cast.

(2) The number of votes cast at each precinct for each candidate , for "None of the Above," and for and against each measure.

(3) The total number of votes cast for each candidate , for "None of the Above," and for and against each measure.

(b) The statement of the result shall also show the number of votes cast in each city, Assembly district, congressional district, senatorial district, State Board of Equalization district, and supervisorial district located in whole or in part in the county, for each candidate for the offices of presidential elector and all statewide offices, depending on the offices to be filled, and on each statewide ballot proposition. With regard to elections for the offices specified in Section 400, the statement of the result shall also show the number of votes cast for "None of the Above."

SEC. 21. Section 15375 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15375. The elections official shall forthwith send to the Secretary of State within 35 days of the election in the manner requested#roman# one complete copy of all results as to all of the following:

(a) All candidates voted for statewide office . , and with regard to elections for the statewide offices specified in Section 400, "None of the Above."

(b) All candidates and "None of the Above" voted for the following offices:

(1) Member of the Assembly.

(2) Member of the Senate.

(3) Member of the United States House of Representatives.

(4) Member of the State Board of Equalization.

(5) (c) All candidates voted for the following offices:

(1) Justice of the Courts of Appeal.

(6) (2) Judge of the Superior Court.

(7) (3) Judge of the Municipal Court.

(c) (d) All persons and "None of the Above" voted for at the presidential primary. The results for all persons voted for at the presidential primary for delegates to national conventions shall be canvassed and shall be sent within 20 days after the election. The results at the presidential primary for candidates for President to whom delegates of a political party are pledged and "None of the Above" shall be reported according to the number of votes each candidate and "None of the Above" received from all voters and separately according to the number of votes each candidate and "None of the Above" received from voters affiliated with each political party qualified to participate in the presidential primary election, and from voters who have declined to affiliate with a qualified political party.

(d) (e) The vote given for persons and "None of the Above" for electors of President and Vice President of the United States. The results for presidential electors shall be endorsed "Presidential Election Returns," and sent so that they are received by the Secretary of State not later than the first Monday in the month following the election.

(e) (f) All statewide measures.

SEC. 22. Section 15501 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15501. (a) Except as to presidential electors, the Secretary of State shall compile the results for all of the following:

(1) All candidates for statewide office . and, with regard to statewide offices specified in Section 400, "None of the Above."

(2) All candidates and "None of the Above" for Assembly, State Senate, Congress, and State Board of Equalization , Supreme Court, and Courts of Appeal .

(3) All candidates for Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal.

(3) (4) All statewide measures.

(b) The Secretary of State shall prepare, certify, and file a statement of the vote from the compiled results no later than the 39th day after the election.

(c) The Secretary of State may gather returns for local elections, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) Candidates for county office.

(2) Candidates for city office.

(3) Candidates for school and district office.

(4) County ballot measures.

(5) City ballot measures.

(6) School and district ballot measures.

SEC. 23. Section 15502 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15502. Within 120 days of the filing of the statement of the vote, the Secretary of State, upon the basis of the information provided, shall compile a supplement to the statement of the vote, showing the number of votes cast in each county, city, Assembly district, senatorial district, congressional district and supervisorial district for each candidate and "None of the Above" for the offices of presidential elector, Governor, and United States Senator, depending on the offices to be filled, and on each statewide ballot proposition. A copy of this supplement shall be made available, upon request, to any elector of this state.

SEC. 24. No provision of this act may be amended by the Legislature except to further the purposes of that provision by a statute passed in each house by roll call vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, or by a statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electorate. No amendment by the Legislature shall be deemed to further the purposes of this act unless it furthers the purpose of the specified provision of this act being amended. In any judicial action with respect to any legislative amendment, the court shall exercise its independent judgment as to whether or not the amendment satisfies the requirements of this section.

SEC. 25. If this act is approved by voters but superseded by any other conflicting ballot measure approved by more voters at the same election, and the conflicting ballot measure is later held invalid, it is the intent of the voters that this act shall be self-executing and given full force of the law.

SEC. 26. In the event that this measure and another measure or measures relating to a "none of the above" option in this state shall appear on the same statewide election ballot, the provisions of these other measures shall be deemed to be in conflict with this measure. In the event that this measure shall receive a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall prevail in their entirety, and the provisions of the other measure or measures shall be null and void in their entirety. In the event that the other measure or measures shall receive a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall take effect to the extent permitted by law.

SEC. 27. If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.

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