Proposition 71: Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment - SUPPORT
Prop 71 (formerly ACA-17)
Currently, voter-approved ballot propositions go into effect on the day following the election date, unless the ballot proposition’s language specifies a different date. This constitutional amendment would move the effective date of a proposition to the fifth day after the secretary of state certifies the election results.
According to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the ballot proposition was intended to account for the process of counting vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots. As of 2018, vote-by-mail ballots are allowed to be counted by election officials if they were cast by election day and received no later than three days after the election. At the 2016 general election, 51 percent of registered voters were enrolled to vote-by-mail. Assemblymember Kevin Mullin authored ACA-17 to alleviate any confusion that may arise if a proposition that was deemed to have passed was shown to not have enough votes after the VBM counting is concluded.
ACA-17 passed both houses of the state legislature without any opposition.
The five day timeline was in the California Constitution prior to 1970, but was eliminated that year by voters after a commission had recommended a variety of measures to streamline the constitution. At the time, elections were one day events. Now, a majority of ballots can be cast by mail.
Example: In November 2016, Prop 66, which would have sped up the death penalty process, passed with less than 2 percent of all votes cast on election day and was declared law with 4 million ballots uncounted. The types of changes that could have gone into effect the day after the election may not have been undoable had the remaining ballots changed the result.
Support: California Democratic Party
Opposition: None to date
Over the last decade, the California legislature has passed multiple bills that have made voting by mail more prevalent, including being able to sign up electronically for VBM status and to register as a permanent VBM voter. This amendment ensures accuracy in implementation of new laws and prevents having to undo any actions taken immediately, ie: tax increases, etc…