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SCA-21 Elections: voter-nominated primary: top two.(2017-2018)

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SCA21:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Constitutional Amendment
No. 21


Introduced by Senator Allen

March 22, 2018


A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by amending Section 5 of Article II thereof, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SCA 21, as introduced, Allen. Elections: voter-nominated primary: top two.
The California Constitution requires that a voter-nomination primary election be conducted to select candidates for congressional and state elective offices, and it prescribes that the top two vote-getters at the voter-nominated primary election compete in the ensuing general election, regardless of political party preference.
This measure would additionally require that a write-in candidate for a voter-nominated office receive a specified number of votes to advance to the general election if the other top vote-getter was the only candidate whose name appeared on the primary ballot.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

Resolved by the Senate, the Assembly concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2017-2018 Regular Session, commencing on the fifth of December 2016, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

 That Section 5 of Article II thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 5.
 (a) (1) A voter-nomination primary election shall be conducted to select the candidates for congressional and state elective offices in California. All voters may vote at a voter-nominated primary election for any candidate for congressional and state elective office without regard to the political party preference disclosed by the candidate or the voter, provided that the voter is otherwise qualified to vote for candidates for the office in question. The candidates who are the top two vote-getters at a voter-nominated primary election for a congressional or state elective office shall, regardless of party preference, compete in the ensuing general election. election, except as provided in paragraph (2).
(2) A write-in candidate for a voter-nominated office shall not advance to the general election if the other top two vote-getter was the only candidate whose name appeared on the primary ballot and the write-in candidate does not receive at least the following number of votes:
(A) For statewide office, not fewer than 65.   For purposes of this subparagraph, “statewide office” means the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Treasurer, or Member of the United States Senate.
(B) For the office of a Member of the United States House of Representatives, State Senator, Member of the Assembly, or Member of the State Board of Equalization, not fewer than 40.
(3) The Legislature shall enact laws that implement this subdivision.
(b) Except as otherwise provided by Section 6, a candidate for a congressional or state elective office may have his or her political party preference, or lack of political party preference, indicated upon the ballot for the office in the manner provided by statute. A political party or party central committee shall not nominate a candidate for any congressional or state elective office at the voter-nominated primary. This subdivision shall not be interpreted to prohibit a political party or party central committee from endorsing, supporting, or opposing any candidate for a congressional or state elective office. A political party or party central committee shall not have the right to have its preferred candidate participate in the general election for a voter-nominated office other than a candidate who is one of the two highest vote-getters at the primary election, as provided in subdivision (a).
(c) The Legislature shall provide for partisan elections for presidential candidates, and political party and party central committees, including an open presidential primary whereby the candidates on the ballot are those found by the Secretary of State to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States, and those whose names are placed on the ballot by petition, but excluding any candidate who has withdrawn by filing an affidavit of noncandidacy.
(d) A political party that participated in a primary election for a partisan office pursuant to subdivision (c) has the right to participate in the general election for that office and shall not be denied the ability to place on the general election ballot the candidate who received, at the primary election, the highest vote among that party’s candidates.