What happened to the big changes to California elections?

By Sameea Kamal,
CAL Matters,
July 12, 2023


The campaign text messages have stopped, and your recycling bin is finally empty of mailers. But while it’s not election season anymore, California lawmakers are still tinkering with how voting happens. 

The number of election-related bills introduced this session — close to 50 — is average, election officials said. But that number has been whittled down since January, and this week’s policy committee deadline may narrow the active proposals more. 

Some bigger measures failed early on — including a constitutional amendment that would have changed the state superintendent of public instruction from an elected position to one appointed by the governor. 

Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, dropped his effort to provide more detail to voters on who is funding ballot measures after the bill was heavily amended in committees. The amendments “reduced the impact to the point that it was no longer worth passing,” said Erik Mebust, spokesperson for Wiener’s office. 

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That issue has been a key focus for Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation, who says the state’s notoriously slow results are not just embarrassing but bad for representation and voter confidence.  

“The longer that it takes to determine a winner in a contest, the less time that winner has to prepare an agenda for their stint in public office,” she told CalMatters. “The longer that it takes to get the results out to the public, the more suspicious people become.”

She’s not surprised, however, that momentum for bigger election changes has diminished: “Unfortunately, people get really excited about election issues during and immediately following elections. And then you get to the start of the new year and folks might put that behind them.” (Full Story)