Here's why California voters are being asked to vote twice in race for US Senate Josh Haskell Image

By Josh Haskell,
ABC 7,
February 17, 2024


When you go to vote in the California primary, you may be surprised to see that in the race for U.S. Senate, you're asked to vote twice!

Plus, there are more names in the contest for the six-year Senate term, which starts in January 2025 than for the special election, which will last roughly a month once the November results are certified in early December. The point of the special election is to fill out the remainder of late California Senator Diane Feinstein's seat.

Adding to the confusion, Gov. Gavin Newsom's appointment - Laphonza Butler - decided not to run in either contest, so her name is not on the ballot.

"We've had some questions about it," said Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan. "I think people, just because see the title of the office is repeated there."

Kim Alexander, the president and founder of the California Voter Foundation, said this change came about due to a relatively new law enacted in 2022.

"It requires there to be an election when there's a vacancy instead of the governor appointing somebody and having that person fill out the entire term," she said.

The two contests for Senate could have been avoided if Newsom held a costly special election following Feinstein's death, but instead, he appointed Butler. The same situation happened with Senator Alex Padilla after Kamala Harris was elected vice president.

"The reason the names are not the same is that the candidates have the choice; Do they want to run for both contests? Or do they want to run solely for the full six-year term? As you'll see on your ballot, there were far more candidates who wanted to sign up for the full term than compete for that short term," said Logan.

Alexander said it's entirely possible officials may see voters elect one person to fill the unexpired term and a different person to fill the full six-year term that starts in January 2025.

"That would be an interesting situation," she said. (Full Story)