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RivCo board OKs proposal to keep supporters, opponents off election ballots


The Board of Supervisors today approved interim Riverside County Registrar of Voters Art Tinoco's resolution directing that the names of supporters and opponents of local ballot measures not be included on the ballots themselves.

In a 4-0 vote -- with Supervisor Yxstian Gutierrez absent due to illness -- the board authorized the Office of the Registrar of Voters to opt out of requirements established under Assembly Bill 1416, the "Ballot Disclose Act,'' signed into law by the governor in September 2022.

The legislation mandates that future statewide ballot measures list supporters and opponents on the ballots themselves, up to a maximum of 125 characters, including the names of nonprofits, business groups, unions and individuals taking a position on one side of an issue or another.

The law included a requirement for counties and cities to follow the state practice -- unless they specifically choose to exercise an opt-out provision.  

"It only allows us to remove opponents and proponents from the local measures,'' Tinoco told the board. "Looking ahead to November 2024, there may be 15 to 20 local measures, and that would increase spacing on the ballot and (create) additional characters from opponents and supporters on the official ballots. That would take us from a two-card to a three-card ballot. That, in turn, would increase the weight of the official ballot, and it would increase our costs."  

He acknowledged that, as has traditionally been the case, supporters and opponents will continue to be named in voter information guides, as well as in sample ballots.

Along with lengthening ballot cards, listing names would have additionally required more proofreading -- thus more staff -- and it would have invited legal challenges "due to the wording of abbreviations," according to the Office of the Registrar of Voters.  

A total of 14 counties have exercised the opt-out provision to date. All of them, except for Imperial County, are in Northern California.   

Counties and municipalities must decide whether to opt out a minimum of 30 days prior to an election.

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