Thank you to everyone who came to the POA office over the last several months to sign the petition for the "Keep California Safe" ballot initiative. This important initiative would have reversed parts of Props 47 and 57 that have caused havoc in our criminal justice system. Some of the provisions include:
- Reclassify currently "non-violent" crimes like rape of an unconscious person, sex trafficking of a child, and 14 other serious crimes as "violent"
- Reform the parole system to stop the early release of violent felons, expand parolee oversight, and strengthen penalties for parole violations
- Reform theft laws to restore "petty theft with a prior" as a felony
- Expand DNA collection to include those convicted of drug, theft, and other seious crimes to help solve violent crimes
Unfortunately...the initiative did not qualify for the November 2018 ballot.
The number of valid signatures required to qualify an initiative for the ballot must equal at least 8% of the total people who voted in the previous governor's race. About 4.5 million people voted in the last California governor's race, so for an initiative to qualify on this year's ballot, a proprosed initiative would need to collect at least 365,880 valid signatures (8% of 4.5 million).
Each county registrar is responsible for counting and verifying the signatures for initiatives within their respective counties. They do so by taking a sampling of the total signatures, and if the sampling shows that it may qualify, they subsequently check all of the valid signatures.
For the "Keep California Safe" initiative, our Los Angeles County signatures came in strong. A total of 176,221 signatures were collected in L.A. County. The registrar sampled 5,288 signatures, and 3,888 were valid (about 72.9%). That does not mean the others were fraudulent. It just means that the signature either signed on the wrong county's form or there was some other technical error.
Based on the sampling of all the counties that submitted signatures, this initiative was estimated to have collected approximately 342,750 valid signatures...just short of the 365,880 that are needed.
What is most frustrating about this process is...three big counties (San Diego, Ventura, and Alameda) all turned in their signatures late, so they were not counted. In other words, if they had turned in their signatures on time, the initiative would have qualified, and polling showed it would have likely passed.
Thank you to the many legislators, district attorneys, and law enforcement groups who works so hard to try and get this initiative passed. It is inevitable that these common sense solutions to the problems caused by Props 47 and 57 will be called for again in the future. The "Keep California Safe" ballot initiative has qualified for the November 2020 ballot!