SACRAMENTO -- Alarmed by the cost of holding special elections whenever a vacancy occurs in the Legislature, a state panel on Tuesday endorsed putting a measure before voters that would allow the governor to appoint people to fill empty seats.
Los Angeles County has held 20 special elections since 2008 at a cost of $27 million, County Clerk Dean Logan told the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee. Turnout in many special elections is as low as 12%.
Senate President Pro Tem
"Districts go without representation for a longer period of time, but it's really the cost issue that motivates me," Steinberg told the committee.
However, the committee's chairwoman, Sen.
"I don't know whether you can put a price tag on democracy," Padilla added. He voted for the bill as a courtesy to keep the debate going. Torres did not vote on the bill.
The measure was opposed on the grounds that it would deprive the voters of a chance to chose their representative by officials including Jeffrey Hewitt, the mayor pro tem of the city of Calimesa and an unsuccessful
Having 15% of voters turn out to select a legislator "is still more democratic than … one executive making that decision," Hewitt said.