Press Release: Assembly Member Santiago Moves Forward 2nd Ballot DISCLOSE Act

* AB 1416 will show voters who supports and opposes state ballot measures on the ballot itself

By Press Release, California Clean Money Campaign

CULVER CITY, CA -- Following a year in which more money was spent on ballot measures than ever in California history, often on ads that purposefully misled voters, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) has joined with Senator Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles) in introducing AB 1416, the Ballot DISCLOSE Act, to counteract the flood of money by making the ballot itself list one of the most important pieces of information voters want about every state ballot measures: who supports and opposes it.

"Election after election, we have seen ballot measure campaigns flood the media with advertisements intended to sway voters," said Assembly Member Santiago. "At the same time, we know ballot measures can contain language that voters may find confusing. This bill will ensure voters have critical information on who supports and opposes the measure right at their fingertips when casting their vote."

AB 1416 is parallel to, and has the same language as, the also recently introduced SB 90 (Stern), but is starting in the Assembly instead of in the Senate. Both are sponsored by the California Clean Money Campaign and will add to the current 75-word title, summary, and fiscal analysis of each measure on the ballot a short list of the supporters and opponents who signed the official arguments for and against it in the voter information guide. Supporters and opponents must be a maximum of 15 words each.

A poll conducted by the California Clean Money Campaign of 661 likely November 2020 California voters from July 22nd to August 22nd 2019 showed that an overwhelming percentage of voters say it is important to them to know who supports and opposes ballot measures when they vote, but that most voters aren't confident they know this information or think it's easy to find.

The poll found that 79% of likely voters say it's important to them "to know who supports and opposes ballot measures when they vote". These results held across the political spectrum with 84% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans, and 70% of Independents saying supporters and opponents were "very important" or "somewhat important" to know. Despite the importance of this information to the vast majority of voters, the poll also found that only 21% of likely voters were very confident they knew the important supporters and opponents of ballot measures when they vote.

These results probably explain why the poll also found that 75% of likely voters favor "adding to the ballot a short list of the supporters and opponents of each ballot proposition" -- precisely what AB 1416 and SB 90 will do. Support was again across the board with 80% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans, and 70% of Independents in favor.

"This bill won?t fix the power of money in politics but it will make voting on ballot initiatives less confusing," said Senator Stern. "Who supports and opposes a particular initiative is one of the best data points a voter can have to make informed choices at the ballot box."

"Wealthy special interests have a huge unfair advantage on ballot measures, spending tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars on deceptive ads that often mislead voters about who really supports and opposes propositions," said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign, sponsor of AB 1416 and SB 90. "That's why we're thrilled Assembly Member Santiago is moving a version of the Ballot DISCLOSE Act that's parallel to Senator Stern?s SB 90 so voters know the truth when they vote."

AB 1416 is expected to be heard in the Assembly Elections Committee sometime in April, the same month that SB 90 is expected to be heard in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.

"DISCLOSE" is an acronym for Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections.

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The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further information, visit www.YesFairElections.org.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


California News

Press Release: Assembly Member Santiago Moves Forward 2nd Ballot DISCLOSE Act

California Clean Money Campaign, Press Release, 3/23/21

CULVER CITY, CA -- Following a year in which more money was spent on ballot measures than ever in California history, often on ads that purposefully misled voters, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) has joined with Senator Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles) in introducing AB 1416, the Ballot DISCLOSE Act, to counteract the flood of money by making the ballot itself list one of the most important pieces of information voters want about every state ballot measures: who supports and opposes it.  Full story

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