Attorney General Lockyer Issues Statement on California Supreme Court Ruling in Proposition 77 Case

Friday, August 12, 2005
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued the following statement on today’s ruling by the California Supreme Court in Lockyer’s lawsuit to keep Proposition 77 off the November special election ballot (Costa v. Superior Court, S136294):

“I’m disappointed in the court’s action. I brought this challenge because I felt it was important for the integrity of the initiative process. This case was about more than the 680,000 or so qualified voters who signed the Prop. 77 petitions. It was about millions of current and future voters who will exercise their right to direct democracy. That right is undermined when the process is sullied, when participants violate fundamental constitutional requirements designed to ensure integrity – and get away with it.

“Contrary to what Prop. 77's proponents said, they were not in substantial compliance. They were in substantial violation. They violated the Constitution and a host of Elections Code provisions. They hid their violations from the public and responsible government officials. Then, they shrugged off their misconduct as harmless error, and dismissed critics as partisan and obsessed with technicalities.

“The Constitution and laws of this state cannot be relegated to the status of mere technicalities. Compliance with constitutional requirements cannot become a matter of close is good enough. We’re talking about our elections, not horseshoes. Close shouldn’t count. The outcome in this case presents a serious danger of opening up the initiative process to bait-and-switch tactics that deceive voters and erode their trust. Let’s hope that danger does not materialize.

“To prevent widespread political gamesmanship, the Legislature should consider tightening the rules governing pre-election initiative procedures. This kind of negligence should not be rewarded.”

# # #