Saturday, March 12, 2011

What is the real deadline for a Special Election?

The Buzz: How late is too late to set a June special election
Torey Van Oot, The Sacramento Bee
Published: Saturday, Mar. 12, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

With Thursday's deadline for budget action delayed by Gov. Jerry Brown, there's a major question bubbling under the dome: How late is too late for lawmakers to put Brown's tax extension proposal on the ballot in a June special election?

Democrats and Brown are shooting for a June 7 vote, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg wants floor votes Monday.

But legislators are notorious for pushing the envelope on deadlines. Even Steinberg wouldn't rule out action after Monday for a June 7 election.

All this makes election officials a little twitchy.

They say the window for action is closing fast, pointing to printing deadlines and public display requirements laid out in the election code – all of which the Legislature could shorten.

The shortest time span for putting a measure on a statewide election occurred in 2009, according to Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

"88days=tightest timeline ever to pull off special elec called by Legis. Lots o work," Bowen said via Twitter, adding that Friday was the 88th day before June 7.

Allowing enough time for supplies and printing is a major concern for Sacramento County Registrar Jill LaVine.

"Statewide, a lot of us use the same ballot printer," she said, "and we're going to hit that one printer at the same time."

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