Measure D backers want full text sent to voters
Proponents of a property rights initiative on the November ballot are criticizing the Nevada County Counsel’s Office for, they say, not giving voters an opportunity to view the full text of the measure.
Backers of Measure D say the County Counsel’s Office violated several sections of the state Election Code by failing to provide the text of the initiative submitted to the Board of Supervisors for review.
The text is a seven-paragraph statement submitted for the ballot by Measure D supporters that isn’t in the sample ballot sent to voters, though it is available upon request.
Backers of the measure are asking the county to send each registered voter a copy of the initiative text to rectify the situation.
“It would have been best if they just added this all in the sample ballot,” said Margaret Urke, executive director of the California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners. “If you look in the ballot, you’d see there’s plenty of space for it.”
The County Counsel’s Office insists that the letter of the Election Code was followed, Assistant County Counsel Hal DeGraw said Thursday.
DeGraw said the text Measure D backers are asking for – paragraphs that described the initiative as it was being circulated for signatures – is available to every registered voter by simply calling the county Elections Office.
DeGraw said he and County Counsel Charles McKee are required by law to describe the ballot measure in no more than 75 words, and are also required by law to prepare an impartial analysis.
That impartial analysis is also under attack by CABPRO members.
DeGraw said the entire package of materials – the initiative, the supervisors’ ordinance, the arguments and the seven sentences that appeared on the ballot petition – have always been available by mail.
DeGraw said Measure D proponents are free to file a complaint if they wish, but as of Thursday no such complaint had been received.
DeGraw said county Clerk-Recorder Lorraine Jewett-Burdick has no latitude or discretion as to what can be placed in the sample ballot, or on the ballot voters actually use.
“We didn’t overtly omit anything. We followed the statutes, and nobody ever indicated they had any problems. They’re requesting something that can’t lawfully be placed on the ballot,” DeGraw said.
Urke said the county simply isn’t being truthful.
“The information we’re requesting hasn’t been available to the public,” she said. “They either did it deliberately or they weren’t aware of the code.”
Urke refers to Election Code section 9160, which states that if the entire text of a measure isn’t printed on a ballot or in the voter information portion of the sample ballot, copies of the proposed ordinance must be made available.
Urke and other proponents of the measure, including Russ Steele of the Citizens for Fair and Balanced Land Use, the political action committee promoting Measure D, said they are considering their legal options, but are loath to mount an expensive counteroffensive.
“This is a grass-roots campaign, with people giving $10 and $25 contributions,” Urke said. “The last thing I want to pay for is a lawsuit.”
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