State Printer Decides Election Date?

by CalWatchdog Staff | March 2, 2011 7:38 am


Katy Grimes: While speaking with Republican Sen. Bob Huff yesterday about budget negotiations, an interesting twist in the process came to light.

If the governor does not get legislators to approve his budget by March 10, the June special election gets pushed into July.

But Huff said the election date is really about the printer needing time to get the ballots to the counties.

The state printer is determining the election date?

Gov. Brown should consider using a non-union printer for the ballots – one that will print the last minute changes and send ballots to the counties with a fast turnaround time… like the printers used during election season.

“I get my campaign material printed fast,” said Huff. “But, there’s no union bug[2] on it either.”

Tucked under the protective arm of the Department of General Services, the Office of State Printing (OSP) [3]is responsible for printing for the state, cities and counties, including the election ballots.

But not all printing for the government is done by OSP – many state agencies contract out with privately owned printing companies in the state – even to some (gasp) non-union printers! California and specifically Sacramento has a plethora of privately owned printing companies, able to print any sized project.

OSP[4] is a member of the Allied Trade Printers International. The “rules[5]” for printing are lengthy – and so is the time it takes to get a printed project out of their door.

And if I seem unduly harsh in my critique of the state printer, I worked in the printing industry for 20 years with my husband’s large company, which printed for many state agencies – and always on tight turnaround schedules.

During the bid process, OSP was always in the mix, but was almost always the highest bidder and had excessive time requirements – which is why many state agencies like contracting outside of the state for time sensitive printing needs.

If the governor is looking for another big budget cut, the state printer is one area that could be cut entirely, and would never be felt – and maybe elections could be held when the governor wants, and not be dictated by a printer.

We received this response from Department of General Services: “The State Printer does not print the election ballots. Those are printed by the individual counties. The State Printer is responsible for the printing of the voter guides only.”

MAR. 2, 2011

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