Prop. 50 passes: Cuts Calif. lawmakers' pay when they are suspended

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Voters enter a polling place Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
Voters enter a polling place Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

California lawmakers will be able to suspend without pay any peers they deem unfit for office under a constitutional amendment approved by voters.

Proposition 50 passed with 77 percent of voters in favor of the initiative that legislators placed on Tuesday's ballot.

The measure drew little attention or cash in an election season that's seen tens of millions of dollars poured into California primary races.

Lawmakers pursued the change after suspending Sens. Leland Yee, Ron Calderon and Rod Wright as they faced felony accusations in 2014. A state law prohibiting lawmakers' pay from being reduced meant the three Democrats continued receiving paychecks after they were suspended.

The measure's few opponents argued it's a toothless political maneuver wrongfully portrayed as a fix for rare criminal behavior.

Election officials say voter turnout Tuesday has been solid but not spectacular, as Californians cast ballots for presidential candidates, a new U.S. senator and candidates in other contests.

Officials in several large counties - including Los Angeles and San Diego - described turnout Tuesday as better than the 2012 presidential primary but below that in 2008.

Rebecca Spencer, registrar of voters for Riverside County, said turnout "looks like it's up for a primary but nothing compared to a presidential general election."

The Field Poll estimates that 45 percent of registered voters will participate in the primary, about two-thirds of them by mail.

Officials in Santa Clara County expect more. They're projecting that between 55 and 65 percent of eligible voters will cast ballots.