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"Perfect Storm" Prompts California Election Officials To Seek More Money


California election officials say they need more money – quickly – to handle an expected surge in voter turnout in the state’s June 7 primary as well as the glut of potential November ballot measures.

Call it a perfect storm: competitive presidential primaries in both major political parties – just as November initiative campaigns turn in millions of voter signatures. Secretary of State Alex Padilla says it’s a critical time for county election officials:

“While they’re probably going to be counting and verifying an unprecedented number of signatures for potential November ballot measures, that time period overlaps with the preparations and conduct of the June primary election,” Padilla says.

And because of all those ballot measures, the state will have to print and mail November election guides to every registered voter this fall that could be more than 200 pages long.

So Padilla is asking Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers for an extra $32 million. Otherwise, the secretary says, counties might fail to process initiative signatures by the deadline to qualify for the November ballot.

“I think that’s a very real possibility, and a scenario that we’re trying to avoid,” Padilla says.

Counties have failed to win the governor’s support to cover extra costs for special state legislative elections. But this request has drawn a warmer reception.

“The administration does believe that the Secretary of State’s request merits serious consideration,” says Amy Costa with Brown’s Department of Finance.

As it happens, one of the ballot measures expected to submit signatures to county election officials in the coming months is an initiative proposed by the governor himself.

 Election 2016

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio