Portantino to Give Local Elections First Position: Responding to Recent Election Mandate, Senator Wants to Revamp Ballot

Tuesday, August 29 2017

Sacramento, CA:  Today, State Senator Anthony J. Portantino put amendments into print that propose to change the ballot order for California elections.  Recent law prohibits local cities from having standalone elections, forcing city and school district elections to be consolidated with statewide and national election dates.  The law was proposed as an effort to boost turnout in local elections.  However, it has caused many city councils and school boards to fear it might result in their elections getting lost in cumbersome ballots filled with statewide and national election races and propositions.

Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian approached Portantino with an idea that just might soften the blow.  He suggested a simple and novel way to ensure that local elections are not adversely affected by the new state mandate: putting local elections on the ballot first instead of last.  

“After speaking with Ardy about his idea and with many concerned mayors and commented Portantino.
councilmembers in my district I became convinced that featuring local elections first is the fair thing to do.  Clearly, voters will go deep into the ballot books to vote for President or Governor so these high-profile elections won’t be adversely affected in the same manner that local leaders fear local elections will be affected by the new law,”

Under the Portantino proposal, offices and propositions will follow a simple ballot order from the most local offices to the President and national elections.  The bill is co-authored by Senate Elections Committee Chair Henry Stern.

The new proposed ballot order is as follows:

Local/City/School Offices & Propositions

County Offices & Propositions

State Offices & Propositions

Federal Offices

“Given this new state mandate, it is the right thing to do to feature our local offices and local civic issues first.  Communities didn’t ask for this new mandate taking our authority to set election dates away from us.  This seems like a prudent and workable idea that will actually increase turnout.  We are lucky to have a state representative like Anthony who comes from local government, who is receptive to our input and who takes action accordingly,” added Mr. Kassakhian.



Sen. Portantino represents nearly 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, which includes Altadena, Atwater Village, Bradbury, Burbank, Claremont, Duarte, Glendale, Glendora, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Lake View Terrace, La Verne, Los Feliz, Monrovia, Montrose, Pasadena, San Dimas, San Marino, Shadow Hills, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Sunland-Tujunga, and Upland.