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2018 electionCalifornia Legislature

California lawmakers vote to slim down bulky statewide ballot guides

The statewide voter guide for the Nov. 8, 2016, general election was 224 pages long. (John Myers / Los Angeles Times)
The statewide voter guide for the Nov. 8, 2016, general election was 224 pages long. (John Myers / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers voted Thursday to allow elections officials to print only summaries of ballot measures in statewide voter guides, concluding that the bulky paper documents could easily be replaced with more information posted online.

"The book is so burdensome," said state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) during debate on the floor of the Senate.

Assembly Bill 606, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown, requires the secretary of state to make clear in future voter guides the Internet address where voters can find the full text of ballot measures. Voters would also be given the option of calling a toll-free number to request a full guide of the legal language.

The bill comes on the heels of the state's largest-ever voter information guide in 2016, a 224-page document that included details on candidates for office and the 17 propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Critics during Thursday's floor debate voiced concerns about the accuracy of the new summaries, or the fact that many voters wait until the last minute to review ballot propositions and therefore wouldn't receive one in the mail before election day.

"For some it works, for many others, it would not," said state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda).

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