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City Council Approves Effort To Post Long Ballot Measure Documents Online

City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole sits at the dais after her election as council ...

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole sits at the dais after her election as council president, Dec. 12, 2016.

The City Council gave final approval Tuesday to municipal code changes that give the city clerk's office the option to publish online the text of long ballot measures.

The new law will affect propositions longer than 50 pages, except for amendments to the City Charter — the city's primary governing document. The plan was passed on a 6-2 vote.

Impetus for the proposal stemmed from the growing size of questions before voters for consideration, including the Chargers' failed initiative for a downtown stadium.

The plan to redevelop the Qualcomm Stadium property in Mission Valley into SoccerCity runs into thousands of pages. Despite the political squabble over funding a special election, the plan has qualified for a public vote, which could be either this fall or November of next year.

For measures in which the full text is published online, the ballot pamphlets received in the mail by voters will still contain the title and summary, legal and fiscal analyses, arguments and the first 20 pages of text.

When the city clerk recommends publishing a measure online, the City Council will make the final decision on whether to actually do so.

At last month's City Council meeting on the subject, City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said voters who want a printed copy can order one at no cost.

For the general election last November, county elections officials electronically published a ballot measure that ran over 600 pages, and only one voter requested a hard copy, according to her report. County elections officials have been authorized by the state to publish measures online since 2004.

Council members David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez opposed the plan because many low-income residents in their districts lack internet access.

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