Page images
PDF
EPUB

state office, as well as for the offices of representative and United States senator. The person receiving the highest vote of each party for any office is the candidate of the party for the office. In the case of a judicial, school, county, township, or a municipal office, a number of persons receiving the highest vote, equal to twice the number to be elected, are the candidates; provided that if only one person is to be elected and if any candidate receives a clear majority of all votes cast for the office, he is elected to the office. In case of partisan offices, candidates may be nominated after the primary by petition.

6. Party Committees and Conventions. — The primary law provides for county and state committees and for state conventions of political parties. The members of county committees are nominated and elected in the same manner as county officers, except that they are chosen by the respective political parties. Each county committee has charge of the political campaign of the party in the county under the general supervision of the state committee. This is its only duty. Each party must hold a state convention on the third Tuesday in September after every August primary election. Every such convention meets to draw up a state platform, to choose a state committee, and to nominate candidates for the office of presidential elector in presidential election years. Each state convention is composed of the

1 Each state committee consists of three members from each congressional district. The duty of any such committee is to manage the campaign for the party, collecting money from those who are willing to contribute and sending out speakers and printed matter; and to have general control of the party's interests.

2 As California is entitled to choose thirteen electors, each party nominates that number of candidates. Their names are reported by the secretary of state to the various county clerks, and are printed on the ballots used at the November election. Each voter votes for the entire thirteen, as electors are chosen by the state at large, and not by districts.

successful candidates of the party at the primary election for nomination to the various state offices, except judicial and school offices, including those to be voted for by senatorial, assembly, and other districts; and, in addition, one member elected by each senatorial district which will not elect a state senator at the November election.1

7. Special Provisions. (a) If a person whose name was not printed on the primary election ballot is nominated at the primary, and later withdraws as a candidate, the vacancy cannot be filled. “In all other cases, vacancies occurring after the holding of any primary election may be filled by the party committee of the city, county, or state, as the case may be.”'

(6) If in any case a primary results in a tie vote, the candidate is selected by lot from the persons receiving the tie.

(c) Provision is made whereby contests that arise as to the result of any primary may be settled in court.

(d) Money must not be spent by or for any candidate for campaign purposes except for definite things mentioned in the law; and within fifteen days after each primary election every candidate for a nomination must file with the officer with whom his nomination papers were filed, a statement showing in detail the amount spent by him and others, in support of his candidacy. This statement must be sworn to and a copy must be filed with the county recorder, who must keep a permanent record of it.

(e) Any organization of voters may participate as a po

1 The state is divided into forty senatorial districts, numbered from one to forty, beginning at the northern end of the state, for the purpose of electing state senators. Each senator is elected for four years. All odd-numbered districts elected senators in 1912; even-numbered districts will elect in 1914; odd again in 1916; and so on. Delegates to the state convention from the districts that are not electing senators are nominated and elected in the same manner as senators.

litical party in any primary election: (1) if it participated as a party at the last general election and gave to any one of its candidates, voted upon throughout the state, at least three per cent of the entire vote cast in the state; (2) if by the fiftieth day before the primary, at least three per cent of the registered voters of the state have registered as members of such party; or (3) if by the fiftieth day before the primary a petition signed by voters equal in number to at least three per cent of the vote cast throughout the state at the last election, is presented to the secretary of state, stating the purpose of the signers to form a new political party. Any new party thus formed must not adopt a name so resembling the name of any existing party as to mislead voters.

Such are the main features of the direct primary law. Many details have, of course, been omitted in this summary, which may be ascertained by reference to the law itself.

9. Nonpartisan Direct Primaries. — No one could be nominated to any office under the original direct primary law of 1909 except as a candidate of some political party. In 1911 the law was amended so as to make judicial and school offices nonpartisan; and in 1913 it was further amended, adding county, township, and municipal offices to the nonpartisan list. This law has at no time applied to any city whose charter provided a method for nominating and electing officers, and most of our larger cities during the past five or six years have nominated candidates for their municipal offices by means of nonpartisan direct primaries provided for in their charters. In order to be a candidate in any such city, one must file with the city clerk, at the time designated in the charter, a nomi

CIVIL GOV. IN CAL. — 3

nation petition (or individual nomination papers), signed by the required number of voters. Only one kind of ballot is used at the primary election. On it the names of all candidates are printed in alphabetical order, according to the respective offices, and no reference to political parties is permitted.

In some cities, the candidate receiving a majority vote in the election, is forthwith declared to be elected. In these cities this election is called the “ first” rather than the primary election. If any office is not filled by this election because of the fact that no candidate receives a majority vote, a second election is held two or three weeks later to choose between the two candidates receiving the highest vote.2

In other cities,the first election is a true primary election, since the two candidates for each office receiving the highest vote are nominated for the office, even though one may have received a majority vote. In these cities, all elective officers are chosen at the “general” municipal election occurring two or three weeks after the primary. Since at the “second” or general election there can be

more than two candidates for each place to be filled, there can be no “ three-cornered " contests, and any one to be elected must receive a majority vote.

no

1 San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stockton, Berkeley, Modesto, Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Long Beach.

2 If more than one person is to be elected to any office, as that of city councilman or school director, the number of candidates nominated at the primary election is twice the number to be elected.

3 Oakland, San Diego, Richmond, Pasadena.

4 A system of voting known as ' preferential voting” is provided for in the charters of Grand Junction, Colorado, and of Spokane, Washington. This system does away with the first or primary election, the work of choosing all elective officers being accomplished by one election. The voter indicates his first and second choice for each office to be filled; and, if there are more than two candidates, he may also

[ocr errors]

10. Nomination by Petition. — It has been pointed out that no one may be nominated under the direct primary law for the office of United States senator or that of representative in Congress, or for any state office, other than judicial and school offices, except as a candidate of some political party. Section 1188 of the Political Code provides a method whereby one may become a candidate for any one of these (partisanoffices, independent of all parties. This method is known as nomination “by petition,” for by it the candidate gets his name printed on the ballot used at the regular election by means of a nomination paper, or petition, and not by direct primary election. The paper or petition must be signed by voters "equal in number to at least three per cent of the entire vote cast at the last preceding general election in the state, district, or political division, for which the nomination is to be made." The petition must, like nomination papers under the direct primary law, be filed with city or county clerks, or with the secretary of state, according as the office in question is a city, county, or state office.

The time limit for filing the petition is from sixty to thirtyfive days before the regular election, in case they are to

indicate his third choice. Any candidate receiving a majority of first-choice votes is elected. If no one receives such a majority, the second-choice votes are added to those of the first-choice. If any office is still unfilled because no candidate has received a majority, the third-choice votes are also added, and the one receiving the highest vote is elected. The plan so far has worked well in these two cities. Good men have been elected to office, and the agitation and expense incident to a second election have been avoided. The legislature of 1913 passed a law providing a system of preferential voting for any city that decides by ordinance to use it. Such an ordinance may be adopted by the council or by the voters. The system must also be used at any election if at least sixty days before the election thirty per cent of the voters so petition the council. According to the plan any voter may express his or her first, second, and third choices for each office,

« PreviousContinue »