FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A state law that went into effect earlier this year could change when Sheriff and District Attorney's elections are held.
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors wants to prevent that change, and they're asking voters to weigh in.
Right now, sheriff and district attorney elections are held during gubernatorial election years.
The law would move those elections to presidential election years.
In September 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 759 into law, and that bill took effect on January 1st.
The bill would effectively extend Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni and District Attorney Lisa Smittcamps's current 4-year terms to 6 years by pushing the next election from 2026 back to 2028, a presidential election year.
"We have the right to run our own elections in the way that we see fit, and we just believe Sacramento is trying to trample on that," said Steve Brandau, Fresno County Supervisor (R).
Fresno County could opt out of this change.
The bill changes the election year for all counties except charter counties, which under state law, have certain powers over their own elections.
Fresno is a charter county. Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau said there are several reasons to keep the current election cycle.
"They wanted to force us to move the election of Sheriff and District Attorney into the presidential cycle," said Brandau. "Personally, I like it in the midterm or nonpresidential cycle so that there can be hyperfocus on these two really important, elected positions."
Political expert Thomas Holyoke says politics are at play here. More voters turn out during presidential elections, and historically more liberal voters skip the mid-terms.
"There is traditionally a little bit of evidence that when it comes to midterm elections that Republicans do sometimes tend to be more faithful voters in midterm elections, and Democrats turn out in larger numbers in Presidential elections, although that's not always the case," said Holyoke. "In my humble opinion, what this sounds like is that the State wants probably more Democratic and liberal input on who district attorneys and sheriffs are. It was probably part of this kind of larger ideological war we've been having in the United States really about the way policing and prosecution is done."
The decision to keep or change the current cycle is now up to Fresno County residents.
On Tuesday, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted to put a measure on the November 7th ballot.