Initiative proponents have until the end of April to collect the signatures they need to put their ideas on the ballot — and with millions of Californians staying home, some campaigns won't have time to collect enough signatures.
California voters may experience a small silver lining amid the coronavirus pandemic: a shorter November ballot, featuring fewer of the statewide propositions that often put voters in the middle of confusing industry fights.
Initiative proponents have until the end of April to collect the signatures they need to put their ideas on the ballot — and with millions of Californians staying home, and practicing social distancing when they go out, it may be impossible for some campaigns to collect enough signatures in time.
“People aren’t out in public, and those who are out in public aren’t inclined to approach a stranger, take a pen, and stand within 6 feet to put something on the ballot,” said Brian Brokaw, a Democratic political consultant who has been involved in several potential ballot measures.
Normally presidential election years attract a slew of initiatives, as campaigns — particularly those pushing liberal ideas — seek approval from a larger and more diverse electorate. Though we won’t know until July exactly how many propositions will be on the ballot, it appears likely that it will be a lot less than in 2016, when Californians voted on 17 statewide ballot measures. Political insiders estimate the final number for 2020 will be in the range of six to 10.
That’s good news for election officials, who could face lower costs for printing and mailing shorter ballots, and for voters who may find the decision-making easier when faced with fewer proposals, said Kim Alexander, president of the nonprofit California Voter Foundation.
“Sometimes voting in California can feel like you’re taking a test — voters can be intimidated by the length and complexity of the ballot,” she said. “So it could help encourage voter participation if we have fewer complex initiatives sprouting out of special-interest fighting.” (full story)