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SB-1346 Special legislative or congressional election: instant runoff voting.(2009-2010)

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SB1346:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 05, 2010
Amended  IN  Senate  April 28, 2010

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2009–2010 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1346


Introduced  by  Senator Hancock

February 19, 2010


An act to add Sections 10708, 10709, 10710, 10711, and 10712, and 10713 to the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1346, as amended, Hancock. Special legislative or congressional election: instant runoff voting.
Existing law requires the Governor to call a special election to fill a vacancy in a congressional or legislative office within 14 calendar days of the occurrence of the vacancy and provides that all candidates be listed on the ballot and, if any candidate receives a majority of all votes cast, he or she shall be declared elected. If a candidate does not receive a majority of all votes cast, the names of the candidates receiving the most votes representing a qualified political party are placed on the special general election ballot as that party’s candidate. Under existing law, the special primary and the special general elections are required to be conducted within specified time periods.
This bill would instead authorize the board of supervisors of a county or counties affected by a vacancy in the office of United States Representative in Congress, State Senator, or Member of the Assembly, if certified by the Secretary of State, to make a determination to fill the vacancy using an optional, prescribed instant runoff voting method, except that if 2 or more counties are affected, all affected counties would have to agree to use the instant runoff voting method.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 10708 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10708.
 (a) The board of supervisors of an affected county may determine during a public hearing whether to fill a vacancy in the office of United States Representative in Congress, State Senate, or Member of the Assembly pursuant to either of the following methods:
(1) Pursuant to Sections 10701, 10702, 10703, 10704, 10705, 10706, and 10707.
(2) Pursuant to Sections 10701, and 10702, subdivision (b) of Section 10703, and Sections 10707, 10708, 10709, 10710, 10711, and 10712, and 10713, if the county has received certification from the Secretary of State in accordance with subdivision (c).
(b) If neither option in subdivision (a) is approved by a majority of an affected county’s board of supervisors, a quorum being present, then the vacancy shall be filled pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a). If two or more counties are affected by the vacancy, the vacancy shall be filled pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), unless all affected counties determine through their respective boards of supervisors, in accordance with the procedure set forth above, to fill the vacancy pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
(c) In order for a county or counties to participate in the special election option set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), the county or counties affected by the vacancy shall first have been certified by the Secretary of State as having satisfactory plans and equipment in place, including an agreement, if necessary, between multicounty districts, to conduct an election under those provisions.

SEC. 2.

 Section 10709 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10709.
 (a) If authorized pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 10700, special elections to fill a vacancy in the offices of United States Representative in Congress, State Senator, and Member of the Assembly shall be conducted using “instant runoff voting,” also known as “ranked choice voting.”
(b) As used in this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Instant runoff voting” means an election method in which voters rank the candidates for office in order of preference, and the ballots are counted in rounds that, in the case of a single-winner election, simulate a series of runoffs until one candidate receives a majority of votes.
(2) In each round of counting the following definitions apply:
(A) “Continuing ballot” means a ballot that counts toward some candidate.
(B) “Continuing candidate” means a candidate that has not been eliminated.
(C) “Majority of votes” means more than 50 percent of the votes coming from continuing ballots.
(c) Instant runoff voting for special elections to fill a vacancy in the offices of United States Representative in Congress, State Senator, and Member of the Assembly shall be conducted according to the procedures set forth in this section. Every affected county shall conduct a voter education and outreach campaign to familiarize voters with instant runoff voting in every language in which a ballot is made available to voters in the county. These efforts shall include public service announcements in radio, television, direct mail, telephone, or print media that are disseminated in a manner consistent with the language assistance requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973aa-1).
(d) The instant runoff voting ballot shall allow voters to rank as many choices as there are candidates. The ballot shall not interfere with a voter’s ability to rank a write-in candidate. For the purposes of this section, a mark for an unqualified write-in candidate shall not be considered a mark for a candidate.
(e) The method of voting and counting ballots shall be conducted by using rounds in the following manner:
(1) In the first round, every ballot shall count as a vote toward the first-choice candidate on that ballot.
(2) After every round, if any candidate receives a majority of votes from the continuing ballots, that candidate shall be declared the winner.
(3) If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate receiving the smallest number of votes shall be eliminated, and every ballot counting toward that candidate shall be advanced to the next-ranked continuing candidate on the ballot. If there is a tie between two or more candidates for the smallest number of votes, the tie shall be resolved by lot. All the ballots shall be counted again in a new round.
(f) During the elimination stage of any round, in the event that any candidate has more votes than the combined vote total of all candidates with fewer votes, all the candidates with fewer votes shall be eliminated simultaneously, and those ballots advanced to the next-ranked continuing candidate.
(g) Skipped rankings. In the first or any round, in the event that any ballot reaches a ranking with no candidate indicated, that ballot shall immediately be advanced to the next ranking.
(h) After each round, any ballot that is not continuing is either an undervote, overvote, or exhausted ballot, as follows:
(1) Any ballot that has no candidates indicated at any ranking shall be declared an “undervote.”
(2) In the event that any ballot reaches a ranking with more than one candidate indicated, that ballot shall immediately be declared an “overvote.”
(3) In the event that any ballot cannot be advanced because no further candidates are ranked on that ballot, that ballot shall immediately be declared “exhausted.”
(4) Any ballot that has been declared an undervote, overvote, or exhausted shall remain so and shall not count toward any candidate in that round or in subsequent rounds.
(i) Summary, ballot image, and comprehensive reports shall be made available after each instant runoff voting election, as follows:
(1) The “summary report” for an election means a report that lists the candidate vote totals in each round, along with the cumulative numbers of undervotes, overvotes, and exhausted ballots in each round.
(2) The “ballot image report” for an election means a report that lists, for each ballot, the candidate or candidates indicated at each ranking, the precinct of the ballot, and whether the ballot was cast absentee. In the report, the ballots shall be listed in an order that does not permit the order in which they were cast in each precinct to be reconstructed.
(3) The “comprehensive report” for an election means a report that breaks the numbers in the summary report down by precinct. The report shall list, for each round, the number of ballots cast in each precinct as follows:
(A) Ballots that count as votes for each candidate in that round.
(B) Ballots that have been declared undervotes.
(C) Ballots that have been declared overvotes up to that point.
(D) Ballots that have been declared exhausted up to that point.
(4) Preliminary versions of the summary report and ballot image report shall be made available as soon as possible after the ballots have begun to be processed and counted. The summary report, ballot image report, comprehensive report, and preliminary versions of the summary report and ballot image report shall be made available to the public during the canvass via the Internet and by other means. The ballot image report and preliminary versions of the ballot image report shall be made available in a plain text electronic format.
(j) Prior to the selection of precincts for the public postelection manual tally, as provided by state law, a report shall be made available to the public that lists, for the ballots subject to the manual tally, the number of those ballots in each precinct that counted in each round as undervotes, overvotes, exhausted ballots, and as votes for each candidate. The public manual tally shall check those vote totals in each of the randomly selected precincts.
(k) (1) For the purposes of this subdivision, “voting equipment” means all ballots or voting devices, vote tabulating systems, or similar or related systems to be used in the conduct of the instant runoff voting election, including, but not limited to, paper ballot systems, optical scan systems, and touch-screen systems.
(2) In the event that the voting equipment cannot feasibly accommodate a number of rankings on the ballot equal to the number of candidates, the Secretary of State may limit the number of choices a voter may rank to the maximum number allowed by the equipment. This limit shall never be less than three.

SEC. 3.

 Section 10710 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10710.
 Candidates at the instant runoff voting special election shall be nominated in the manner set forth in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 8000) of Part 1 of Division 8, except that nomination papers shall not be circulated more than 63 days before the instant runoff voting special election, shall be left with the county elections official for examination not less than 43 days before the instant runoff voting special election, and shall be filed with the Secretary of State not less than 39 days before the instant runoff voting special election.

SEC. 4.

 Section 10711 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10711.
 Notwithstanding Section 3001, applications for vote by mail ballots may be submitted not more than 25 days before the instant runoff voting special election, except that Section 3001 shall apply if the instant runoff voting special election is consolidated with a statewide election. Applications received by the elections official prior to the 25th day shall not be returned to the sender, but shall be held by the elections official and processed by him or her following the 25th day prior to the election in the same manner as if received at that time.

SEC. 5.

 Section 10712 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10712.
 All candidates shall be listed on one ballot.

SEC. 6.

 Section 10713 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10713.
 An instant runoff voting special election authorized pursuant to this chapter shall be held on a Tuesday at least 72 days, but not more than 86 days, following the issuance of an election proclamation by the Governor pursuant to Section 10700, except that any special election may be conducted within 120 days following the proclamation in order that the instant runoff voting election may be consolidated with the next regularly scheduled statewide election or local election occurring wholly or partially within the same territory in which the vacancy exists, provided that the voters eligible to vote in the local election comprise at least 50 percent of all the voters eligible to vote on the vacancy.