Earlier today, California Assemblymember Todd Gloria announced a bill focused on reforming San Diego County’s elections.
Currently, the County Board of Supervisor elections are held in a manner in which a candidate can win outright in the June primary if he or she receives greater than 50% of the vote. Assembly Bill 901 would change this format to one in which the top two vote-getters in the June primary would go on to the general election in November.
This type of change is important because voter turnout in June primaries is historically much lower than turnout in the November general election. In 2014, a non-presidential election year, the turnout in June was only 20 percent.
Under the current rules, those 20 percent of voters could decide which candidate wins outright, with the voters in November not having any chance to weigh in on the race.
In 2016, the turnout in San Diego elections was 30 percent greater in November , and in 2012, turnout in November was twice that of the June primary. The numbers are even more striking when looking at young voters, voters of color, and independent voters.
In a press release, Assemblymember Gloria stated:
“Decisions about who will serve the public and lead our government should occur when voter participation is at its highest. That is undeniably during the General Election and not the Primary.”
Gloria’s introduction of AB 901 is consistent with his support of similar measures that passed overwhelmingly in the City of San Diego in November. Those measures, Measures K and L, co-sponsored by the Independent Voter Project (a co-publisher of IVN), brought the same type of change to San Diego City elections. This aligned the city’s elections with state and federal elections, and now AB 901 aims to bring the county in line as well.
Photo retrieved from Times of San Diego