CSAC Elections Bill Signed Into Law
October 12, 2017
Governor Brown signed CSAC sponsored legislation Assembly Bill 467 (Mullin) into law this week, offering counties a way to preserve transportation dollars and ensure voter access to ballot materials. Specifically, it will allow local transportation tax expenditure plans to be posted online in lieu of being printed in county voter information handbooks so long as voters may still receive a hard copy upon request.
“Governor Brown’s signature on AB 467 will modernize voter access to election materials related to transportation tax measures throughout California, while still providing traditional print material at the voter’s request,” said Assembly Member Kevin Mullin (CA Assembly District 22). “In addition to improved voter access, this legislation provides cost savings to transportation agencies who will have more resources for program implementation and to counties who will not experience significant loss to their general funds if a measure does not pass.”
The idea for the legislation came about when a few counties alerted CSAC about a surge in their printing costs associated with November 2016 election, specifically in connection with proposed transportation taxes and the requirement that the full expenditure plan be printed in the voter information handbook. CSAC explored further and discovered that in some instances the costs to print the full expenditure plan alone in voter information handbooks accounted for over $1 million.
The costs are significant, especially for counties that had a transportation tax proposal that failed passage. Of the twelve counties that sought voter approval for a local transportation tax in the November 2016 election, only five were successful. For those counties, the printing costs can be drawn from the new transportation tax revenue. However, in the seven counties where the tax proposal failed passage, the county general fund takes the hit.
CSAC sincerely thanks Assembly Member Mullin for his leadership on this issue and for providing counties with a tool that ensures transportation tax revenues are dedicated to transportation projects without limiting voter access to important ballot information. Specifically, AB 467 allows county elections officials, at the request of the county transportation authority, to replace a transportation expenditure plan in the voter information guide with a notification that directs voters to view the expenditure plan online and contains information on how voters may obtain a free printed copy. This law takes effect January 1, 2018.