A petition drive that could significantly change elections for San Diego County offices has received a $100,000 contribution from a labor union.
The Service Employees International Union Local 221, the group that represents about 10,000 county government employees, made the contribution to San Diegans for Full Voter Participation on Dec. 27. It was the only money the committee received last year.
Campaign finance records show a $50,000 payment to AAP Holding Company. The firm’s CEO is Angelo Paparella, who is also the president of PCI Consultants, a business that specializes in helping qualify petition drives for ballots.
The political committee, with paid workers as well as volunteers, is collecting for a ballot measure that will require all elections for county offices to be decided in a November runoff between the top two candidates in the primary, even if one of the candidates receives a majority in the first election.
“Our coalition has more than enough volunteers and resources to collect more than the sufficient number of signatures to qualify. We are confident that voters will support this measure on the November ballot," said Jeff Marston, co-chairman of the Independent Voter Project, a group that is supporting the measure.
The proposal applies to races for supervisor, district attorney, sheriff, assessor-recorder-county clerk, treasurer-tax collector and members of the county board of education in San Diego County. In races in which there are only two candidates the primary will be skipped and the winner decided in the November general election.
Currently elections for county offices can be decided in the primary if a candidate wins more than half the vote. The petition’s supporters argue that constituents will be better served if elections are decided in November when turnout is highest.
The change would also likely favor Democrats because that party’s turnout is historically highest in general elections.
The committee is in the early process of getting a petition approved for circulation, and then organizers will have 180 days to collect at least 67,837 valid signatures. From there, the Board of Supervisors can approve the proposal outright or put it on the ballot for voters to consider.
The effort is similar to 2016’s Measure K in San Diego City. Approved by 58 percent of voters, it requires all city elections to go to a November runoff, giving them a process like state and federal races.