FREMONT — As Ohlone College rolls out a new system for electing board members in November, it also will require candidates to spend quadruple the money to get their messages into voter guides.
Ohlone is one of only about a half-dozen of the state's 72 community college districts to subsidize the cost of printing candidate statements, a survey by the Community College League of California found.
Since 1976, the college capped at $200 the candidate's share of the cost for the 200-word candidate statement that is published in voter guides and sent out to district voters.
However, the price of printing, translating and mailing candidate statements steadily has increased during the past 34 years to about $1,500 per candidate, district officials said. Now, the college no longer is willing to pick up so much of the tab.
So starting in November, the candidates' share of candidate statement costs will be increased to no more than $800. There won't be any charge for candidates who just want their name on the ballot without a statement.
Board member John Weed said that quadrupling the candidates' share of the costs was merely a matter of keeping up with inflation since the $200 cap was instituted in 1976. The $800 cap will increase by 4 percent every year to keep up with inflation.
The city of Fremont, which doesn't subsidize candidate statements for City Council candidates, is requiring an estimated $2,000 deposit this year from City Council candidates who want a statement, City Clerk Dawn Abrahamson said. In 2008, the city requested a $2,300 deposit but refunded more than half of that to candidates because the ballot was so crowded that it brought down the cost for individual candidates, she said.
Ohlone College board members are scheduled to make the new election policies official today when they approve sending a resolution about the changes to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
All voters in the district now will vote for all seven board members, although two of the candidates must live in Newark, and the other five in Fremont or Union City.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-353-7002. For more Fremont news, read his blog: www.ibabuzz.com/tricitybeat.