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Green Party of California

Senate committee passes bill to protect ‘voter intent'; Green Party congressional candidate praises ‘common sense' measure

For immediate release: Thursday, April 8, 2005

Cres Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Kevin McKeown, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-393-3639,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-270-7106,

SACRAMENTO (April 8, 2005) – Legislation to correct a faulty state law that robbed a potential Green Party congressional candidate of a chance to challenge Rep. Nancy Pelosi in a heavily-progressive San Francisco district last year passed the Senate elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee Wednesday on a 4-2 vote.

SB 1050, authored by Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, ensures write-in votes would count even if voters failed to fill in a "bubble," a technical requirement which helps machines tabulate votes.

The current law ignores "voter intent" by invalidating write-in votes even though voters make their desire known by physically writing in the name of the candidate.

Terry Baum lost hundreds of votes in the primary election in March of 2004. Although voting officials acknowledged Baum had enough write-in votes to win the Green Party nomination, they were required to throw them out because current law mandated write-in votes "shall" not be counted if the bubble is not filled-in.

In yet another highly-publicized case last year, thousands of votes for a write-in candidate for San Diego mayor were thrown out because although voters wrote in the candidate's name, they failed to darken the oval next to the candidate's name.

"This bill brings some common sense into election law. It's ludicrous for election workers to be forced to ignore write-in votes where the voters' intent is crystal clear," said Baum. She was expected – had she won the disputed primary nomination – to put up a good fight against Pelosi last November because the district is very progressive and "Green."

"Hundreds of voters made their made clear their intent to vote for me by physically writing in my name. The fact that they did not fill in an arrow does not and should not invalidate their voting rights," added Baum.


The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437