SACRAMENTO—Governor Brown has signed into law modest but necessary legislation by Assemblymembers Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) and Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) to improve transparency and clarity of ballot measure information.
“This law ensures that counties may provide the most accurate information in the clearest possible way to voters,” said Stone. “I’m pleased that the Governor has signed this simple but necessary measure.”
Assembly Bill 2265 authorizes county counsels to provide an unbiased summary of a ballot measure in a format that answers the questions “What does a ‘yes’ vote mean?” and “What does a ‘no’ vote mean?” for the measure. Research by the Center for Civic Design show that voters best understand ballot measure summaries in this format. While some counties already provide ballot measure information in this format, existing law does not explicitly state that all counties may do so. This new law clarifies the authority of counties to provide information in this manner.
Existing law requires the county counsel or district attorney of a county in which an election on a county ballot measure is taking place to prepare an impartial analysis of the measure showing the effect of the measure on existing law. This analysis is required to be provided whether an item was placed on the ballot by a voter-signed petition or by a County Board of Supervisors. The new law ensures that voters are provided the clearest information possible as they decide how to vote on ballot measures.
The measure goes into effect on January 1, 2017.