California Online Voter Guide 2000 - A Project of the California Voter Foundation
bar image

Voter Guide

star image star image star image

California Propositions

Presidential Election

U.S. Senate Race

Congressional Races

Legislative Races

Follow the Money

star image
star image star image

For more election
information, visit

CVF's voter guide

star image
star image star image

Join CVF

Contact CVF

Copyright 1994-2000,
California Voter Foundation.
All rights reserved.



  About This Election
  What's on the Ballot
  Getting Started
  About the Open Primary

About This Election

On Tuesday, March 7, 2000, millions of Californians will head to the polls to cast ballots in hundreds of primary election contests. The purpose of a primary election is to choose which candidates will advance to the General election. Polls open at 7 a.m., and close at 8 p.m. Voters who aren't sure they can make it to the polls should sign up to get an absentee ballot so you can vote by mail.

What's on the Ballot?

In the 2000 Primary election, we have a Presidential election, twenty state propositions, one U.S. Senate seat up, 52 contests for the House of Representatives, and 100 legislative contests. Depending on where you live, and when your city or county conducts elections, you may have local races or measures on your ballot as well.

Getting Started

Every registered voter should receive an Official Sample Ballot in the mail, which is sent to you by your county election office. This booklet includes an application for an absentee ballot, and tells you where your polling place is located. Voters also receive a Voter Information Guide from the Secretary of State that features information on the state propositions. (This year, a second Voter Information Guide was mailed out because two propositions qualified late in the process. The main guide has a blue cover; the supplemental guide has a red cover). These three official booklets provide the basic information you need to prepare to vote. If you haven't received these booklets in the mail, contact your local county election office. More answers to common questions about voting are available from CVF.

About the Open Primary

California has a new Open Primary law that has fundamentally changed the way we conduct elections. Before the Open Primary law, voters used to receive ballots that listed only the candidates of the voter's party. If you wanted to vote in a different party's primary election, you had to be a member of that party. In 1996, California voters changed the rules when we passed Prop. 198, the "open primary" initiative (though it is technically a blanket primary), which allows any voters to vote for any candidate of any party. The 1998 Primary was the first California election conducted under the open primary law. Here's how it works: if you are registered with the Libertarian Party, for example, you can now vote for a Reform Party candidate for President, a Republican for U.S. Senate, a Democrat for State Assembly, etc.

However, the national political parties objected to California's new open primary, particularly because their party rules prohibit people who are not members of their party from casting ballots in the Primary. The Democratic and Republican parties said they would not count California's primary votes when deciding how to allocate delegates at their national nominating conventions unless the rules changed. California lawmakers, who had already passed a law to move California's primary up to early March in order to give California more clout in the Presidential election, passed a new law in 1999 that seeks to accomodate the political parties and respect the open primary law.

As a result, on March 7, California election officials will count our ballots twice -- one count of votes cast in the Presidential election by party members, and one count of the votes cast by all California voters. Both vote counts will be announced, but only the first vote will count toward allocating delegates for presidential candidates.

Either way, your vote counts. It just counts more if you and the candidate you support are members of the same party. It gets even more confusing, because this voting and counting method only applies for the Presidential election. In all the other partisan contests on your ballot, such as your congressional and legislative races, you can vote for any candidate of any party and it will help that candidate get his or her party's nomination. -- KA

bar image

star image This page first published February 10, 2000 -- last updated February 10, 2000 star image