An East Bay lawmaker’s bill to ban per-signature pay for ballot-measure petition circulators has been vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
SB 168, by state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would have forbidden paying ballot measure petition signature gatherers on a per-signature basis, which she said would reduce fraud by reducing the temptation to pad out petitions with bogus names.
In his veto message, Brown wrote he understands the potential abuses under the current system but sees two flaws in Corbett’s bill. First, it would bar groups from even setting targets or quotas for signature gatherers; he said making productivity goals into a crime seems impractical.
And second, per-signature payment often is the most cost-effective way to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, he wrote: “Eliminating this option will drive up the cost of circulating ballot measures, thereby further favoring the wealthiest interests.”
“I am not persuaded that the unintended consequences won’t be worse than the abuses the bill aims to prevent,” Brown wrote.
The bill’s opponents had said there’s little evidence of such fraud, but Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer, was among those who had endorsed the bill.
UPDATE: Read the full story, updated with Corbett’s comment on the veto, here.