It’s Election Day in Burbank and there’s some chatter on the Internet about how recent additions to the California Elections Code requires city officials to extend the mail-in only ballot deadline. Don’t believe it. Yesterday Burbank City Clerk, Zizette Mullins, sent out this response to all the questions, conspiracy theories, and whatever else is being batted around as fact.
Last year, the City Clerk’s Office was informed of the changes proposed by Senate Bill 29 adopted by the California Legislation (Legislature) on September 26, 2014, which became effective January 1, 2015. The Bill was adopted to enforce any vote by mail ballot that is received by the voter’s election official via the United States Postal Service three days after election to be counted as long as the ballot is postmarked on or before the Election Day. However, since the City of Burbank is a charter city and it has adopted its own election code, in order for the City to proceed with the new amendment under SB 29, the City must revise its election code.
As a charter city, Burbank is allowed by the state constitution to establish its own election dates, deadlines, rules, and procedures. Burbank is not bound by the California Elections Code. In other words, a charter city’s control over municipal affairs, including elections, trumps state law.
If Burbank did not have its own charter, it would be a “general law” city required to follow state law on municipal affairs like elections. The city council may vote to include new provisions from the state code into Burbank’s Elections Code. However, that’s something that isn’t going to happen overnight. Here’s what Mullins had to say about it.
Since the Bill was adopted after the election was called, it did not allow the City enough time to amend the election code to proceed with the bill changes in the Primary and General election of 2015. Therefore, we will be proposing the City’s amended election code to the City Council within the next 4 to 6 months, which will include any new election code changes under California Elections Code 3020, 3117, 4103, 15101 and 15372 (SB 29).
Bottom line, if you want your ballot to count in the Burbank General Municipal Election of April 14, you need to get it into the City Clerk’s Office or to a designated drop-off center by tonight’s 7 p.m. deadline.