Questions over Fresno County’s attempt to reorient when is District Attorney and Sheriff are elected by voters is coming under scrutiny from the City of Fresno.
Monday, Fresno City Attorney Andrew Janz sent a letter requesting review of moves by the County of Fresno to place the two countywide positions back on the midterm election track, commencing in 2026.
The back story: California lawmakers approved Assembly Bill 759 moving District Attorney and Sheriff elections to U.S. Presidential election cycles.
- Incumbent DAs and Sheriffs (including Fresno County DA Lisa Smittcamp and Sheriff John Zanoni) were given an additional two years on their current terms – extending most to 2028 – to come into compliance with the law.
The law, Janz argued in a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, required charter counties to designate when elections for the two posts would occur by Jan. 1, 2021 or face a shift to presidential cycles beginning in 2028.
Driving the news: In August, Fresno County Supervisors moved to place a charter amendment on the ballot allowing voters to decide if the DA and Sheriff elections would move back to midterm elections.
- Janz requested that Bonta’s office seek an injunction against Fresno County’s charter amendment should the California Department of Justice find that the charter amendment referendum violate state law.
What they’re saying: “Fresno County District Attorney and Sheriff elections have a profound impact on public safety; a pivotal issue for the City of Fresno and its residents,” Janz said in the letter. “These elections must occur, in accordance with the law, when voter participation is at its peak.”