By Matt Fleming.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Monday that would have allowed him and his successors to cancel a special election if there is only one candidate.
Brown was concerned that while there may be only one candidate officially running, there are often one or more write-in candidates running as well.
“In the situation envisioned by this bill, potential write-in candidates would be excluded from participating in the election,” Brown wrote in the veto message. “That doesn’t seem consistent with democratic principles that call for choice and robust debate.”
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, who died earlier this month, ending a longtime battle with scleroderma. Runner was elected in a special election last year with 94.1 percent, with six write-in candidates splitting the remainder of votes.
The Runner election cost Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties almost $1.7 million total. Had it been signed into law, the Runner bill would have allowed Brown to cancel a special election and declare an officially unopposed candidate like Runner the winner.
Legislators have long looked for a way to ease the burden and costs of special elections on counties and voters. A CalWatchdog investigation earlier this year showed that counties have spend around $21.7 million on special elections replacing state lawmakers since 2013.