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Law allows mail-in special election

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Letter to the Editors of the San Jose Mercury News, by Joe Simitian

I read with interest about the recent decision to hold a special election to fill the vacancy on the Berryessa school board. It may be helpful for readers and those in local government to know that when I served in the state Assembly, I authored AB 1544, which allows local school districts and smaller cities (under 100,000 residents) to conduct a special election wholly by all-mail ballot. The bill was signed into law and took effect on Jan. 1, 2004. Mail ballots offer an efficient, cost-effective method of filling vacancies. They also produce more voter turnout, allowing more people’s voices to be heard. While the cost of mail ballots is still significant, it is substantially less expensive than a regular election and offers another option for election officials and voters. Filling a vacancy isn’t easy, but having as many ‘good government” options as possible is a step in the right direction.

Joe Simitian
State senator, District 11
Palo Alto

Letter on San Jose Mercury News website