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AB-446 Elections: political party qualifications.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 05/04/2021 09:00 PM
AB446:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 19, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 11, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 446


Introduced by Assembly Member Mayes

February 08, 2021


An act to amend Sections 5001, 5003, 5100, and 5151 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 446, as amended, Mayes. Elections: political party qualifications.
Existing law permits a group of voters to form a new political party by filing a formal notice with the Secretary of State that states an intent to qualify to participate in a primary election or a presidential general election and by holding a caucus or convention at which the group elects temporary officers and designates a party name that does not mislead the voters or conflict with the name of an existing party or political body that has previously filed notice, as specified.
This bill would authorize a political body’s temporary officers to appeal a determination on party name eligibility to an administrative law judge. This bill would require the Secretary of State to notify a political body’s temporary officers in writing if a designated party name is rejected and to provide reasons for the rejection. The bill would authorize a temporary officer to request that the Secretary of State reconsider the rejection, as provided. The bill would allow the party name of a political body that has not qualified as a political party and is considered to have abandoned its attempt to qualify as a political party to be used by a future political body on or after 2 years from the date it filed notice with the Secretary of State. the political body is considered to have abandoned its attempt to qualify as a political party.
Under existing law, a political party is qualified to participate in a primary election or presidential general election if, among other methods of qualification, a petition declaring an intent to form a party and participate in the election is signed by voters equal in number to at least 10% of the entire statewide vote at the last preceding gubernatorial election and is filed with the Secretary of State on or before the 135th day before the election.
The bill would reduce the number of voter signatures required to qualify for a primary election or presidential general election by filing a petition with the Secretary of State to 3% of the entire statewide vote at the last preceding gubernatorial election.
By imposing new duties on county elections officials with respect to the conduct of elections, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 5001 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

5001.
 Whenever a group of electors desires to qualify a new political party meeting the requirements of Section 5100 or 5151, that group shall form a political body by:
(a) (1) Holding a caucus or convention at which temporary officers shall be elected and a party name designated. The designated name shall not be so similar to the name of an existing party so as to mislead the voters, and shall not conflict with that of any existing party or political body that has previously filed notice pursuant to subdivision (b), except as provided in paragraph (3).

(2)A temporary officer may appeal a determination on party name eligibility pursuant to paragraph (1) to an administrative law judge.

(2) (A) If the Secretary of State rejects a designated party name pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary of State shall notify the temporary officers in writing of the rejection, and shall explain the reason why the designated party name was rejected.
(B) Within 30 days of notice that the Secretary of State has rejected the party name designated by a political body, a temporary officer of the political body may request the Secretary of State to reconsider the rejection. The request for reconsideration may include an explanation of why the temporary officer believes that the Secretary of State’s rejection was in error.
(C) Within 30 days of receipt of a request for reconsideration pursuant to subparagraph (B), the Secretary of State shall determine whether to approve or reject the designated party name, and shall notify the temporary officers in writing of that determination.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the party name of a political body that has not qualified as a political party pursuant to Section 5100 or 5151 and is considered to have abandoned its attempt to qualify as a political party pursuant to Section 5004 shall be eligible for use by a future political body with newly elected temporary officers two years from the date notice was filed pursuant to subdivision (b). on which the political body is considered to have abandoned its attempt to qualify as a political party pursuant to Section 5004.
(b) Filing formal notice with the Secretary of State that the political body has organized, elected temporary officers, and declared an intent to qualify a political party pursuant to either Section 5100 or 5151, but not both. The notice shall include the names and addresses of the temporary officers of the political body.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5003 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

5003.
 A political body within the first 70 days after filing the formal notice required by Section 5001 is entitled, upon request to the Secretary of State, to have counted toward its qualification as a political party affidavits of registration in which voters declared affiliation with the political body in the two years one year prior to the date the political body filed the formal notice with the Secretary of State.

SEC. 3.

 Section 5100 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

5100.
 A party is qualified to participate in a primary election under any of the following conditions:
(a) (1) At the last preceding gubernatorial primary election, the sum of the votes cast for all of the candidates for an office voted on throughout the state who disclosed a preference for that party on the ballot was at least 2 percent of the entire vote of the state for that office.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a party may inform the Secretary of State that it declines to have the votes cast for a candidate who has disclosed that party as the candidate’s party preference on the ballot counted toward the 2-percent qualification threshold. If the party wishes to have votes for a candidate not counted in support of its qualification under paragraph (1), the party shall notify the secretary in writing of that candidate’s name by the seventh day before the gubernatorial primary election.
(b) (1) On or before the 135th day before a primary election, it appears to the Secretary of State, as a result of examining and totaling the statement of voters and their declared political preference transmitted to the Secretary of State by the county elections officials, that voters equal in number to at least 0.33 percent of the total number of voters registered on the 154th day before the primary election have declared their preference for that party.
(2) A person whose party preference is designated as “Unknown” pursuant to Section 2154 or 2265 shall not be counted for purposes of determining the total number of voters registered on the specified day preceding the election under paragraph (1).
(c) On or before the 135th day before a primary election, there is filed with the Secretary of State a petition signed by voters, equal in number to at least 3 percent of the entire vote of the state at the last preceding gubernatorial election, declaring that they represent a proposed party, the name of which shall be stated in the petition, which proposed party those voters desire to have participate in that primary election. This petition shall be circulated, signed, and verified, and the signatures of the voters on it shall be certified to and transmitted to the Secretary of State by the county elections officials substantially as provided for initiative petitions. Each page of the petition shall bear a caption in 18-point boldface type, which caption shall be the name of the proposed party followed by the words “Petition to participate in the primary election.”

SEC. 4.

 Section 5151 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

5151.
 A party is qualified to participate in a presidential general election under any of the following conditions:
(a) The party qualified to participate and participated in the presidential primary election preceding the presidential general election pursuant to Section 5100.
(b) (1) At the last preceding gubernatorial primary election, the sum of the votes cast for all of the candidates for an office voted on throughout the state who disclosed a preference for that party on the ballot was at least 2 percent of the entire vote of the state for that office.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a party may inform the Secretary of State that it declines to have the votes cast for a candidate who has disclosed that party as the candidate’s party preference on the ballot counted toward the 2-percent qualification threshold. If the party wishes to have votes for a candidate not counted in support of its qualification under paragraph (1), the party shall notify the secretary in writing of that candidate’s name by the seventh day before the gubernatorial primary election.
(c) (1) If on or before the 102nd day before a presidential general election, it appears to the Secretary of State, as a result of examining and totaling the statement of voters and their declared political preference transmitted to the Secretary of State by the county elections officials, that voters equal in number to at least 0.33 percent of the total number of voters registered on the 123rd day before the presidential general election have declared their preference for that party.
(2) A person whose party preference is designated as “Unknown” pursuant to Section 2154 or 2265 shall not be counted for purposes of determining the total number of voters registered on the specified day preceding the election under paragraph (1).
(d) On or before the 135th day before a presidential general election, there is filed with the Secretary of State a petition signed by voters, equal in number to at least 3 percent of the entire vote of the state at the last preceding gubernatorial election, declaring that they represent a proposed party, the name of which shall be stated in the petition, which proposed party those voters desire to have participate in that presidential general election. This petition shall be circulated, signed, and verified, and the signatures of the voters on it shall be certified to and transmitted to the Secretary of State by the county elections officials substantially as provided for initiative petitions. Each page of the petition shall bear a caption in 18-point boldface type, which caption shall be the name of the proposed party followed by the words “Petition to participate in the presidential general election.”

SEC. 5.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.