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Article A – Official Sample Ballot Specifications and Distribution
(a) The City Clerk shall cause to be printed a representation of the form of ballot required for any City election conducted by the City Clerk, known as the Official Sample Ballot, in a sufficient amount to ensure that every registered voter can be provided a copy.
(b) Official Sample Ballots for any City election conducted by the City Clerk shall provide an accurate representation of the Official Ballots to be used in the specific election as to form, and shall conform to the following specifications:
(1) The Official Sample Ballot shall include, in not less than six-point type size, the name of the election, the date of the election, the election jurisdiction, the offices and measures to be voted on, the name of the candidates to be voted on, the occupational designation of the candidates to be voted on, instructions as to the number of votes to cast per office and any numerical or alpha designation associated with the candidates or measures.
(2) The information contained in the Official Sample Ballot shall be presented in the exact same order as it will appear on the Official Ballot.
(3) The Official Sample Ballot shall contain information to assist the voter including the location and hours of operation of their polling place, the Vote-By-Mail Application, early voting site locations and hours of operation, assistance telephone numbers and web site addresses.
(c) Official Sample Ballots shall not be numbered consecutively. However, the Official Sample Ballots for City elections conducted by the City Clerk shall have indicated thereon, when necessary, the sample ballot group number, to facilitate the mailing of Official Sample Ballots to the voters.
(a) The City Clerk shall mail to all voters in each voting precinct who are registered and qualified to vote at the ensuing election, at the post office address designated on the current voter registration record on file in the office of the Registrar of Voters of the County of Los Angeles, one printed Official Sample Ballot with postage fully paid thereon, with a notice containing polling place information, the title and date of the election, the precinct number, and any other matter required by law or information which the City Clerk may deem necessary.
(b) Mailing of Official Sample Ballots shall be completed not later than seven days prior to the date of the election.
Article B – Voter Information Pamphlet
(a) Whenever any ordinance, order, resolution, charter amendment, recall measure or other proposition is to be submitted to the voters, the City Clerk shall cause a Voter Information Pamphlet to be prepared and mailed to the voters in accordance with the requirements of this Code. To the extent that the requirements of the California Elections Code or the California Government Code relating to charter amendments or bond propositions differ from the requirements of this Code with respect to information required to be given to voters, those state law provisions shall govern the portions of the Voter Information Pamphlet relating to charter amendments or bond propositions. Measures shall appear in the Voter Information Pamphlet in the same order as they will appear on the Official Ballot.
(b) All information printed in the Voter Information Pamphlet shall be printed in no less than six-point type size.
(c) The Voter Information Pamphlet shall begin with the Ballot Summaries for City measures, if approved, in the same order as appearing in the Official Sample Ballot, and the balance of the information relating to each measure shall be printed in the following order in addition to any other items required by law:
(1) The Ballot Title for each measure.
(2) The Question to be submitted to the voters (e.g., Shall the Charter be amended to . . .?) for each measure.
(3) The Impartial Summary of a measure prepared by the Chief Legislative Analyst and the Financial Impact Statement and/or Tax Rate Statement of a measure prepared by the City Administrative Officer, as required by Section 604 of this Code.
(4) Arguments and Rebuttal Arguments for and against the measure, if any.
(5) The Official Title and Summary prepared by the City Attorney pursuant to Chapter VII of this Code, or other authorized agency, for an initiative measure shall appear separately in the Voter Information Pamphlet immediately preceding the text of the initiative that has been circulated.
(6) The text of the measure. For measures repealing or revising provisions of the City Charter, the text of the measure shall include the provisions of the proposed measure and the existing provisions of law repealed or revised by the measure. The provisions of the proposed measure differing from the existing provisions of law affected by the proposed measure shall be distinguished in print, using strikeout, bold type or similar devices, so that the effect of the proposed measure upon existing provisions can be determined.
(d) For non-City measures, these summaries, statements or other required information shall be prepared by the official designated by applicable law.
(e) The City Clerk may, with City Council approval, include in the Official Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet additional non-election information related to City programs and services, if the printing layout of the Official Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet permits the inclusion of the material and the material would not negatively impact the understanding of the Official Sample Ballot or Voter Information Pamphlet or relate to any measure or candidate to be voted on.
There is hereby created a committee known as the Ballot Simplification Committee hereinafter in this section referred to as “Committee.”
(a) Committee Membership.
(1) The Chief Legislative Analyst, or a designated staff member, shall serve as one of the voting members of the Committee.
(2) The City Attorney, or a designated staff member, shall serve as one of the voting members of the Committee.
(3) The Mayor shall appoint one of the voting members of the Committee and an alternate member, who shall be registered voters of the City. The alternate member shall act as a replacement in the event the first member is not available due to death, absence from the city, incapacity, refusal or otherwise. The member and the alternate member shall primarily possess an understanding of ballot issues and possess writing skills and training which provide for a high capability in written communication to the general public, and shall not be officials or employees of the City of Los Angeles.
(4) The President of the City Council shall appoint two of the voting members of the Committee and also two alternate members, who shall be registered voters of the City. The alternate members shall act as a replacement in the event one of the members is not available due to death, absence from the City, incapacity, refusal or otherwise. The members and the alternate members shall primarily possess an understanding of ballot issues and possess writing skills and training which provide for a high capability in written communication to the general public, and shall not be officials or employees of the City of Los Angeles.
(5) If, in the discretion of the City Clerk, the number, length, detail or complexity of ballot measures to be considered at a particular election warrants the use of the appointed alternate members to serve in a supplemental rather than in a replacement capacity to the Committee for any one or more ballot measures, the City Clerk may request assistance from both the appointed and alternate members. The Committee shall be enlarged accordingly and each supplemental alternate shall thereupon serve as a regular member of the Committee for the particular ballot measure or measures for which called.
(b) The terms of the appointed members of the Committee shall be for a duration of no longer than two years each and shall terminate at a time coincidental with the end of the term of the President of the City Council unless earlier removed by their respective appointing authority. In the event of removal, the appointing authority then in office shall make a new appointment for the balance of the term then remaining.
(c) The registered voters who serve as members of the Committee shall be paid, upon verification and proof of service to the City Clerk, at the rate of One Hundred Dollars ($100) per meeting for each member attending. No member of the Committee shall be paid more than a total of Two Hundred Dollars ($200) for participating in the simplification of any one ballot measure nor more than One Hundred Dollars ($100) for any meeting or number of meetings on a single calendar day.
(d) The City Attorney, or the designated staff member, shall serve as legal advisor to the Committee.
(e) The Chief Legislative Analyst, or the designated staff member, shall act as a legislative assistant to the Committee.
(f) No appointed member shall serve as a member of the Committee or participate in any of its activities if, for the election, the appointed member has any conflict of interest in any ballot measure under consideration by the Committee. An appointed member shall neither vote nor act upon any simplified version of any ballot measure in which that member has any interest prohibited under the Charter or the applicable general laws of the State of California. Before serving as a member of the Committee for any election measure, the member shall certify to the City Clerk in writing under penalty of perjury that to the member’s knowledge the member has no interests in or pertaining to the proposed measure on the ballot which are or would be violative of the applicable general laws of the State of California pertaining to conflicts of interest and has no prohibited interest which would warrant any request for opinion of the City Attorney under Charter Section 222. The refusal or inability to so certify to the City Clerk upon request shall effect an immediate and automatic termination of the member as a member of the Committee, and the appropriate appointing authority shall thereupon designate another registered voter with similar expertise as the successor, and subject to the same requirements.
(a) For each election in the City where a measure is to be submitted to a vote at an election, the Ballot Simplification Committee shall summarize and simplify the language of all City ballot measures that are to appear in the Voter Information Pamphlet. The simplified summaries for each measure shall be submitted by the Committee to the City Clerk in the form of a fair and impartial Ballot Summary for incorporation into the Voter Information Pamphlet within the time limits provided for in Section 405 of this Code.
(b) The Ballot Summary shall include only simplified versions of the ballot measures, which versions have been approved by a majority of the members of the Committee after deliberation. In simplifying a measure, the Committee may, at its discretion, utilize the readability formulas and tools which the Committee considers appropriate and effective in achieving the closest proximity to the eighth grade level of readability for the summary it prepares.
(c) The Ballot Summary of each ballot measure shall include six identifying subsections. These subsections shall be titled and appear in the following sequence in the Voter Information Pamphlet in boldface: Title, The Issue, The Situation, The Proposal, A Yes Vote Means, A No Vote Means.
(d) Each Ballot Summary shall be limited to a maximum of 300 words in accordance with Section 115, exclusive of the title for each subsection referred to in Section 404(c) above; provided, however, that in situations of ballot measures involving extraordinary length, detail or complexity, the City Clerk, with concurrence of the President of the City Council, may designate a different maximum number of words therefor.
(e) Each new Ballot Summary of a ballot measure shall begin at the top of a new page in the Voter Information Pamphlet.
(f) Each Ballot Summary shall be followed in the Voter Information Pamphlet with a statement in boldface which shall include the appropriate page designation, to be determined by the City Clerk, and shall read substantially as follows: “The Full Text Of This Measure Begins on Page .”
(g) The simplified versions of the ballot measures shall be set forth in the same sequence that the measures appear in the Official Sample Ballot.
The Committee shall present to the City Clerk the Ballot Summary of each measure on or before 64 days prior to the election. The City Council shall thereupon review each Ballot Summary and may act to approve or to disapprove the language thereof, provided that action must be taken on or before 60 days prior to the election and further provided that in the event the City Council fails to take any action within that time, that the language of the Ballot Summary as presented shall be deemed approved.
(a) The Ballot Summary shall be placed in the Voter Information Pamphlet after the Official Sample Ballot portion thereof and before the first ballot title in the information section of the Voter Information Pamphlet which follows the Official Sample Ballot, and shall be immediately preceded by a plain page on which there appears a centered copy box which explains that a simplified version of the ballot measures follows and that the full text of each measure appears elsewhere in the Voter Information Pamphlet.
(b) In the Voter Information Pamphlet each title and any subtitle from the Ballot Summary shall be set in boldface, followed by a colon, and shall be set on the margin, with the body copy of the particular subsection indented five spaces. Each subsection shall be separated from the preceding subsection by no less than a one-line space.
Article C – Official Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet Cover
The front cover of the Official Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet of the City shall substantially duplicate the format as set forth in the illustration contained in this Code, except that the identification of the election shall vary with the type of election held, the date shall vary with the actual election date, and the name of the City Clerk may vary. The City Clerk shall have the discretion to add additional information as deemed appropriate.
(a) In addition to any other penalty, any person who prints or otherwise duplicates, or causes to be printed or duplicated, a simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot that does not contain the statement required by this section or that uses an official seal or insignia in violation thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Every simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot shall bear on each surface or page thereof, in type or lettering at least half as large as the largest type or lettering of the statement or words or in 10-point roman type, whichever is larger, in a printed or drawn box and set apart from any other printed matter, the following statement:
“NOTICE TO VOTERS”
“(Required by Law)”
“This is not an Official Ballot or an Official Sample Ballot prepared by the City Clerk.”
“This is an unofficial, marked ballot prepared by (insert name and address of the person or organization responsible for preparation thereof).”
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require this notice in any editorial or other statement appearing in a regularly published newspaper or magazine other than a paid political advertisement.
(d) No simulated ballot or simulated sample ballot referred to in this Section shall bear any official seal or the insignia of any public entity, nor shall that seal or insignia appear upon the envelope in which it is mailed or otherwise delivered.
(e) The superior court, in any case brought before it by any registered voter, may issue a temporary or permanent restraining order or injunction against the publication, printing, circulation, posting, or distribution of any matter in violation of this section, and all cases of this nature shall be in a preferred position for purposes of trial and appeal, so as to assure the speedy disposition thereof.