The Veterans' Finance Committee of 1943 (hereinafter referred to as "petitioner") has petitioned this court for a writ of mandate to compel Bert A. Betts, as Treasurer of the State of California (hereinafter referred to as "respondent"), to cause notice of sale of $100,000,000 principal amount of bonds to be published and to cause said bonds to be prepared and sold, as directed by resolutions of petitioner. Respondent has filed a general demurrer to the petition.
Petitioner is an agency of the State of California created by section 991 of the Military and Veterans Code of this state.
The members of the agency are: Edmund G. Brown, Governor of the State of California; Alan Cranston, State Controller; John E. Carr, Director of Finance; Joseph M. Farber, Director of Veterans Affairs; and respondent.
(1) The Legislature of the State of California, at its 1960 First Extraordinary Session, duly adopted a resolution entitled: "Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 4 — A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by adding to Article XVI thereof a new section to be numbered 21, relating to the issuance of bonds to provide farm and home purchase aid for veterans." (Stats. 1960, 1st Ex. Sess., ch. 12, p. ___, § ____.)
(2) The Legislature at the same session duly adopted the Veterans Bond Act of 1960, constituting article 5h of chapter 6 of division 4 of the Military and Veterans Code of the State of California. (Stats. 1960, 1st Ex. Sess., ch. 50, p. ___, § 1; Stats. 1960, 1st Ex. Sess., ch. 80, p. ___, § 1.)
It was provided in said act that it should take effect upon adoption by the people of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of California approving, adopting, legalizing, ratifying, validating, and making fully and completely effective the Veterans Bond Act of 1960.
(3) The Legislature at its 1960 First Extraordinary Session also duly adopted an act entitled: "An act calling a special election to be consolidated with the Direct Primary Election of 1960 and to provide for the submission to the electors of the State at such consolidated election constitutional amendments adopted by the Legislature at the 1960 First Extraordinary Session, to take effect immediately." (Stats. 1960, 1st Ex. Sess., ch. 12, p. ___; hereinafter referred to as "Chapter 12.")
This act passed both the Assembly and the Senate on April 6, 1960. It was approved by the Governor and filed in the office of the Secretary of State on April 9, 1960.
Section 4 of Chapter 12 reads: "The special election provided for in this act shall be proclaimed, held, conducted, the ballots shall be prepared, marked, collected, counted and canvassed and the results shall be ascertained and the returns thereof made in all respects in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution applicable thereto and the law governing general elections insofar as provisions thereof are applicable to the election provided for in this act."
(4) A special election was held throughout the State of California on June 7, 1960, which special election was consolidated with the direct primary election held on the same date.
The Secretary of State distributed ballot pamphlets relating to the measures specified in Chapter 12, including Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 4, to the county clerk of each county in the state not less than 30 days before the election, and the several county clerks commenced to mail the pamphlets to the voters not less than five days before the election. Distribution of the ballot pamphlets was conducted in all respects in accordance with the provisions of section 1515 of the Elections Code of the State of California.
(5) At the election the people approved and ratified Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 4 by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon. 2,254,410 votes were cast in favor of the amendment, and 1,217,808 votes were cast against the amendment. This result was duly certified by the Secretary of State on July 11, 1960.
(6) On December 7, 1960, upon request of the Department of Veterans Affairs of the State of California, supported by a statement of the pertinent plans and projects of the department, and with the approval of the Governor, petitioner adopted its Resolutions I(1960), II(1960), and III(1960).
Petitioner by said Resolution III(1960) determined that it was necessary and desirable to issue bonds authorized under the Veterans Bond Act of 1960 in the aggregate principal amount of $100,000,000 in order to carry such plans and projects into execution. The resolutions directed respondent, among other things, to cause bonds to be prepared, to cause notice of the sale of $100,000,000 principal amount of said bonds to be published, and to cause said bonds to be sold.
(7) Under the terms of the Veterans Bond Act of 1960 and the State General Obligation Bond Law (Gov. Code, § 16720 et seq., as adopted by the Veterans Bond Act of 1960), it is the duty of respondent, as Treasurer of the State of California, to cause notice of sale to be prepared and to cause bonds to be prepared and sold, as directed by petitioner.
Respondent has nevertheless refused to cause notice of such sale to be published and refused to cause bonds to be prepared and sold, as directed.
He bases his refusal upon the ground that Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 4 was not validly adopted and is not a part of the Constitution of the State of California and that the Veterans Bond Act of 1960 has not been validly
[1a] This is the sole question presented: Was the special election of June 7, 1960, invalid because no proclamation by the Governor was issued and published prior to the holding of the special election?
The courts are reluctant to defeat a fair expression of popular will in an election and will not do so unless so required by the plain mandate of the law.
Section 1001 of the Elections Code provides: "At least 30 days before the general election, and at least 70 days before a special state-wide election or a special election to fill a vacancy in the Office of Representative in Congress, State Senator or Member of Assembly, the Governor shall issue an election proclamation, under his hand and the Great Seal of the State, and transmit copies to the boards of supervisors of the counties in which the elections are to be held."
The boards of supervisors must then publish the proclamation in their respective counties, as directed by section 1003 of the Elections Code.
The demurrer is overruled, and it is directed that a writ of mandate be issued forthwith in accordance with petitioner's prayer.
Gibson, C.J., Traynor, J., Schauer, J., Peters, J., White, J., and Dooling, J., concurred.