Alameda resident and businessman Marshall Cromer signed the rebuttal argument in reply to ballot argument in favor of the Alameda Unified School District’s March parcel tax ballot measure, “Measure A.” But his name won’t appear in the ballot pamphlet due to a curious interpretation of the California Elections Code by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
Yesterday, Alameda resident Leland Tremain took forms to the Registrar’s office to file the rebuttal statements on behalf of the Committee Against Measure A in Alameda, a group organized to oppose the ballot measure. County workers told him that although he had five signatories to the rebuttal statement, they would allow only four, because four people had signed the original opposition ballot argument, and those four had signed release forms to remove their names and allow others to sign. Marshall Cromer’s name would be dropped.
“It’s crazy,” Mr. Traiman told Action Alameda News, “the law doesn’t say that more signatures can’t be added when filing the rebuttal statement. I could understand if it was written in the law and they were just enforcing a crazy law, but the law isn’t written that way.” Traiman was referring to section 9504 of the California Elections Code, which, according to the State of California website http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/ reads:
9504. (a) When an argument in favor and an argument against a measure have been selected for publication in the voter information pamphlet the elections official responsible for conducting the
election shall send copies of the argument in favor of the measure to the authors of the argument against the measure and copies of the arguments against the measure to the authors of the argument in favor. The authors may prepare and submit rebuttal arguments not exceeding 250 words, or may authorize in writing any other person or persons to prepare, submit, or sign the rebuttal argument. The rebuttal arguments shall be submitted to the elections official conducting the election no later than a date designated by the elections official.
Traiman says that he spoke with Alameda County Deputy Registrar Cynthia Cornejo who told him that he and the County simply have different interpretations of the law. “But I’m not interpreting the law,” Traiman said, “I’m just reading it.”
Action Alameda News spoke with a County worker in the Registrar’s office yesterday who said, “That’s just the way we’ve always done it.” When pressed for a legal citation, the worker called back and cited California Elections Code section 9167. However, that section refers to measures placed on the ballot by County’s – section 9500 of the Code speaks to measures placed on the ballot by a school District.
When Action Alameda News asked to speak the the Registrar himself, we were told that he was on vacation.