At the 2016 general election, the voters of the state approved 2 initiated measures affecting primary elections: Proposition 107, which restored a presidential primary election, and Proposition 108, which allows participation by unaffiliated voters in primary elections.
The bill makes several modifications to some of the statutory provisions that were affected by Propositions 107 and 108 in the following respects for the purpose of facilitating the effective implementation of the state's election laws:
- Section 1 of the bill adds to the list of questions that a prospective elector who is unaffiliated with a political party may answer prior to registering to vote by means of paper registration to include what political party, if any, whose primary election ballot the elector desires to receive in the mail.
- For a regular primary election, section 2 requires the county clerk and recorder to send to all active electors in the county who have not declared an affiliation with a political party a mailing that contains the ballots of all the major political parties and eliminates the use of a single combined ballot for regular primary elections. If the elector requests the ballot of a particular political party, the bill requires the county clerk and recorder to record the elector's preference in the statewide voter registration system and to continue to mail the ballot of that political party to the elector in connection with all future primary elections until the elector indicates otherwise.
- Section 3 requires the governor to consult the secretary of state (secretary) in selecting the date of the presidential primary election. This section requires, for a presidential primary election, the county clerk and recorder to send to all active electors in the county who have not declared an affiliation with a political party a mailing that contains the ballots of all the major political parties as with a regular primary election; authorizes the secretary to adopt by rule additional ballot requirements to avoid voter confusion in presidential primary elections; and repeals provisions requiring the state to reimburse the counties for expenses incurred in connection with the preparation and conduct of presidential primary elections in lieu of the provisions in section 6.
- Section 4 moves the deadline by which a candidate in the presidential primary election is to submit to the secretary required filing materials to run in the primary election from the second day of January in the year of the primary election to 85 days before the date of the primary election. This section also requires challenges to the listing of a candidate on the presidential primary ballot to be filed with the district court, as with other election challenges, and not the secretary.
- Section 5 adds to the existing duties of the canvass board the duty to reconcile the ballots cast in a primary election for each political party to confirm that the number of ballots counted for a political party in that election does not exceed the number of ballots cast for that party.
- Section 6 requires the general assembly to appropriate money from the state's general fund to cover the costs of the election incurred by the state arising from the preparation and conduct of a presidential primary election.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)