Voter Guides To Be Sent to Five Million Voters Will Feature Schwarzenegger Stance on Some Ballot Measures
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) next month will launch a $2 million direct mail campaign to five million voters "to make or break an array of ballot measures in the Nov. 2 election," the Sacramento Bee reports. Voter guides will be mailed in the first week of October and will feature photographs of Schwarzenegger, explanations about why he supports or opposes several of the 16 measures on the ballot and wallet-sized summary cards that voters can take to the polls, according to Marty Wilson, Schwarzenegger's fund-raising coordinator and director of the mailing campaign, the Bee reports.
The booklet will feature Schwarzenegger's recommendation that voters reject a law (SB 2) under Proposition 72, a referendum on the law on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot (Talev, Sacramento Bee, 9/18).
SB 2, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007.
Companies with fewer than 20 workers will not have to comply with the law, and the law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 workers unless the state provides them with tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage (California Healthline, 9/13).
The guides are not yet finished, but Wilson said they likely will not list the governor's position on all measures. For example, Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on Proposition 71, a measure that would raise an average of $295 million annually for 10 years to promote stem cell research through the issue of state bonds (Sacramento Bee, 9/18). The measure would provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline, 9/13).
The booklets will be mailed to registered Republicans, Democrats and undeclared voters in legislative districts "targeted" by the Republicans, according to party members familiar with the plan, the Bee reports. The California Republican Party will pay for the booklets "in an effort to portray [the] party as one of inclusion" before legislative elections, according to the Bee.
According to the Bee, the mailings "represen[t] an unparalleled effort by a governor to influence the state's initiative process."
Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute of California said that taking a position on all measures could distract from Schwarzenegger's priorities and place him in a more reactive role. "If he goes through the ballot and picks and chooses several things and says, 'I've decided these are in line with what we need to do to move California forward,' he maintains his position as an outsider and an independent," Baldassare said.
Wilson said, "Gov. Schwarzenegger has proven that he has a great ability to connect with voters. They are going to want to know his positions on a very wide-ranging and complex ballot" (Sacramento Bee, 9/18).
Additional information on Propositions 71 and 72 is available online.