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California Voter Foundation
Welcome to the 1996 California Online Voter Guide! The purpose of this site is to provide California voters with the information you need to make informed choices in this year's elections.
The Internet has grown considerably since the California Voter Foundation's first online voter guide in November 1994. Two years ago, our site was one of just a handful of voter education sites on the Internet. Now, there are literally hundreds of web sites dedicated to the 1996 election, sponsored by campaigns, news organizations, government agencies and other non-profit organizations.
Our goal this year is to help California voters make sense of the election and help you find your way to the information you need as quickly as possible. This site will be continuously growing and expanding throughout 1996, so please check back regularly. You can help us provide complete and comprehensive links by suggesting web sites we should link to, keeping in mind that our focus is on elections taking place in California. Please email your suggestions.
This year, we are partnering with the Secretary of State's office to ensure that together we provide voters with complete access to the wide range of voter information available. The 1996 California Online Voter Guide complements two other related sites: The 1996 Primary Election Server, and the Secretary of State's Homepage.
CVF is grateful to the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Pacific Telesis Group, and Intel for their financial support of this voter guide. We are also grateful to the California Journal for contributing its excellent ballot measure summaries to our guide, as well as the numerous organizations and individuals who dedicate their time, money and energy toward creating and maintaining the web sites we've linked to throughout this voter guide. Much credit for this site is also due to the team at Capitol Web Works, whose hard work, talent and skill shows through every web site they develop.
The California Voter Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to shaping a more informed and engaged California electorate. For more information about CVF and our online voter education projects, please visit our homepage. Please send comments, criticism and feedback.
Happy surfing, and remember to vote on or before March 26th!
California Voter Foundation
Questions and Answers about the March 1996 California Primary
Why is the Primary in March instead of June?
For the first time ever, this year's California primary is being held in March, rather than June. The date was changed with the hope that an earlier primary would allow California voters to have a greater voice in selecting Presidential candidates.
What's going to be on the ballot?
In addition to the Presidential election, the March ballot also includes state legislative races, congressional races, and a dozen statewide ballot measures. There are no U.S. Senate races this year in California, nor any statewide contests for offices such as Governor and Lt. Governor.
Who represents me? Which districts do I live in?
As a California voter, you are represented by numerous people on the federal, state and local levels of government. California has 52 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives (more than any other state!), plus two U.S. senators: Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Each member of the House represents about 540,000 people and is elected to a two-year term. You can use this zip code search to find out who represents you in Congress.
The California State Legislature consists of 80 Assembly members and 40 state senators:
- A state senator is elected to a four-year term, and are limited to serving two terms. Each senator represents about 744,000 people. A state senate district is comprised of two Assembly districts. Every two years, half of the senate seats come up for election; this year, voters who live in odd-numbered senate districts will vote in senate races. If you live in an even-numbered senate district, the next election for that seat will take place in 1998. If you're not sure which state senate district you live in, you can use this zip code search to find out, or call your county elections office.
- A state Assembly member is elected to a two-year term, and is limited to serving three terms. Each Assembly member represents about 372,000 people. If you're not sure which Assembly district you live in, you can use this a href="links.html#district">zip code search to find out, or call your county elections office.
You are also represented by numerous local officials, such as city council members, county supervisors, and school board representatives. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of special districts created to serve specific community needs, such as fire, water, utility and library services. Your County Sample Ballot features information all on the candidates who are running in districts that you live in. Your County Sample Ballot also provides information on local ballot measures that may appear on your ballot. If you'd like to find out more information about who your local representatives are, contact your County Elections office. You can also check the local races and measures section of this guide to see if your county elections office has its own web site.
Who can vote in the Primary election?
One purpose of the primary election is to allow members of political parties to choose who their nominee will be in the General election. Under current law, voters may only cast ballots for candidates of their party in the Primary. (Proposition 198 on the March ballot would change California's law to allow for an "open primary", which means that you can vote in any partisan primary, regardless of your party affiliation.) In the November General election, you can cast a ballot for any candidate of any party.
If you are not registered to a particular party, you can and should still vote in the Primary! There are numerous non-partisan local races, as well as state and local ballot measures up for your consideration.
The California Voter Foundation contacted every congressional, legislative and state ballot measure campaign and asked for web page addresses. All campaigns are invited to submit their web addresses anytime.
News articles that appear in this guide are republished with permission and may not be redistributed without permission from the publisher.
The California Voter Foundation and the Secretary of State assume no responsibility for the contents of any page linked through our site. If you have comments or questions about sites we have linked to, please direct them to the administrators of those sites.
California Online Voter Guide Debut -- News Conference with California Secretary of State (March 5, 1996)
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