Proposition 71: Sets Effective Date for Ballot Measures.

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The Question: 

Should ballot measures approved by a majority of voters take effect five days after the Secretary of State certifies the results of the election?

The Situation: 

California’s Constitution states that approved measures take effect on the day after the election unless otherwise specified by the measure. 

Election officials in each county must count every legally cast ballot, including vote-by-mail ballots received soon after Election Day and provisional ballots once a voter’s eligibility is confirmed. The current vote counting process lasts for several weeks after Election Day. The amount of time required to validate a signature on a vote-by-mail ballot and to confirm a voter’s eligibility when casting a provisional ballot can take a minimum of two to five minutes and sometimes up to half an hour to research databases to determine if a voter’s address has changed and didn’t cast a ballot elsewhere.  

Each county then forwards the results to the Secretary of State who certifies a formal “statement of the vote” no later than 38 days after Election Day.

The Proposal: 

Prop 71 would amend the State Constitution so that:

  • The effective date for state initiatives and referenda passed by a majority of voters shall be on the fifth day after the Secretary of State files the “statement of the vote,” or no later than forty-three days after the election.
  • If a referendum petition is filed against a part of a statute, the remainder of the statute shall not be delayed from going into effect.
  • A measure may provide that it becomes operative after its effective date.
Fiscal Effect: 

Little or no fiscal effect is likely with Prop 71 because it is rare for state ballot measures to create substantial changes in revenues or spending in forty-three days after an elec-tion.

What a YES or NO Vote Means
A YES Vote Means: 

Most state ballot measures (also called propositions) would take effect after the statewide vote has been counted and certified--about six weeks after Election Day.

A NO Vote Means: 

Most state ballot measures would continue to take effect the day after Election Day.

Support & Opposition
Supporters Say: 
  • Ballot measures should not go into effect until all votes have been counted.
  • Prop 71 is an update of our election laws that also allows authors to specify the date a measure becomes effective.
Opponents Say: 
  • Prop 71 is not necessary. The law as it exists works well.
  • There may be times when it is good for laws to go into effect immediately after Election Day.
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