Tags: california | elections | measures | xavier becerra

Suits Claim California AG Unfair in Preparing Titles for Election Initiatives

Suits Claim California AG Unfair in Preparing Titles for Election Initiatives

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

By    |   Sunday, 02 August 2020 10:27 PM

Campaigns of four initiatives on November’s ballot have sued state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, claiming his office was biased when it prepared the titles and summaries that will appear on the referendum, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Sunday.

Opponents of Proposition 16, for example, said Becerra has written “an argument in favor” of the measure rather than the “true and impartial statement” required by law.

Proposition 16 would repeal Proposition 209, a 1996 initiative banning affirmative action in public university admissions and in government contracting and hiring.

Suits involving other measures on the ballot similarly argue that Becerra slanted the language in those titles in favor of positions he backs.

Becerra’s office responded in an email that the AG takes the responsibility seriously, as required by law, to issue the official titles and summaries.

Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court explained that titles appearing on the ballot “can make or break” an initiative effort because “it’s the last thing voters are going to see before they cast their ballot.”

Jessica Levinson, an election law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said “the attorney general has a ton of discretion. And judges are pretty deferential. It’s pretty aggressive to say, ‘You’re not neutral and you’re looking to mislead the public.’”

Becerra was involved in a similar battle in 2017.

Republicans wanting to eliminate the state’s 12-cents-a-gallon gas tax for road repairs fought to change his title, which stated it “eliminates recently enacted road repair and transportation funding” without mentioning the tax cut.

A judge ruled the title was one-sided and misleading, but was overturned on appeal.

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Some of the California campaigns in the state's initiative measures have sued state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Sunday.
california, elections, measures, xavier becerra
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2020-27-02
Sunday, 02 August 2020 10:27 PM
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