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California elections chief predicts higher-than-usual June turnout

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The field of candidates for Republicans and Democrats is narrowing down in the 2016 presidential race. These front-runners have different campaign styles and carry with them their own special rally atmospheres and celebrity supporters.

Warning of a “surge” of higher-than-usual turnout in California’s June primary election and a book-sized November voter information guide, the state’s elections chief this week requested a meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown to press his case for more money.

In a letter to Brown on Monday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla noted that more than 600,000 people have registered or re-registered to vote online in recent weeks. In addition, he warned that he expects proponents of more than a dozen proposed ballot measures to file piles of petitions with county election offices in the coming weeks, seeking to qualify for the November ballot.

Among the would-be initiatives racing to gather signatures is a criminal sentencing measure sponsored by Brown, a former secretary of state.

“Counties will need more resources,” Padilla said in a statement. Padilla, a former lawmaker, has requested $32 million in additional money to help cover the costs of this year’s elections.

California voters normally have little say in presidential primary contests. On June 7, though, the state stands to have a major role in determining whether Republican businessman Donald Trump secures the delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination, with Republicans mobilizing against him. Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, also have promised to campaign in the state in the weeks leading up to the June 7 election.

Padilla said the presidential races have increased primary turnout in other western states. One group has requested 200,000 cards to sign up voters. Pointing to November, Padilla said election workers face a deluge of signatures to qualify ballot measures; as many as 9.4 million signatures may need to be verified.

A voter information guide of 21 ballot measures, he added, would range in size from 208 to 256 pages, costing much more to print, he said.

June 30 is the last day for any measure to qualify for the November ballot by petition. When proponents turn in signatures, counties have up to eight days – excluding weekends – to count the raw number of signatures. After that, election officials have 30 non-weekend days to conduct a random sample of signatures, and another 30 days if a full count is necessary. There are 43 non-weekend, non-holiday work days between May 1 and June 30.

“It is expected that many of these measures will be submitted to counties at, or just prior to, the filing deadline,” Padilla wrote Brown, without noting an actual date by which Brown and other initiative proponents have to file.

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