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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

New ballot to be introduced in the June primaries

The upcoming June primary elections will feature a major change with the introduction of a new ballot. Some hope this will alter the kind of candidates that are elected to public office.

This reform was a result of Proposition 14, a ballot initiative passed in June 2010. Voters will now see a “top two” primary system. Prior to the proposition’s passing, candidates would be separated by party and each party winner moved on to the general election. However, now all candidates are on the same ballot, and only the two with the top votes will move on to the general election in November. This “top two” system applies to candidates for the United States Congress, the state legislature and statewide offices such as governor.

“Voters will see a ballot with three kinds of contests on June 5.  The election for president is a partisan or ‘party-nominated’ election and the ballot is the same party ballot we’re used to seeing for a primary,” said Lianne Campodonico, one of the directors from the Board of Directors at the League of Women Voters of California. “The Top Two Primary ballot for statewide offices, which are now called ‘voter-nominated’ offices, has all the candidates for each office on one list, regardless of their party preference. In the third part of the June 5 ballot, voters will see the nonpartisan office elections such as county supervisors, school board members and city council members.”

This new system could mean that the November election will be a contest between two candidates of the same party, or candidates unaffiliated with any party.

“Some voters may be pleased because they have more of a chance to examine their party’s candidates, but some will be displeased because they won’t see anyone from their party,” said Trudy Schafer, senior director at the League of Women Voters of California.

In addition to the new ballot, this year voters will be voting in newly drawn districts from the restructuring that occurs every decade.

To cast a ballot for one of the Republican candidates for president, the voter must be registered as a Republican by May 21. Independent voters can vote for the Democratic or American Party candidates if they want to. Those in favor of ballot change say it will give voters more candidates to choose from, and its impact will be felt mostly by independent voters. Some say that for the first time, every independent voter will have a voice in the election.

Another result may be more candidates running as nonpartisan or not affiliating themselves with any party.

“I think it will increase voter participation. Which is a very good thing,” said Donna Johnston, Sutter County clerk recorder.

“I encourage people to learn about this change and go out and vote,” Schafer said.

Important primary election dates:

April 6: County election officials began sending the first vote-by-mail ballots to people living overseas or in the military.

May 7: County election officials send vote-by-mail ballots to their regions.

May 21: Last day to register to vote or change party affiliation.

May 29: Last day to apply with the county for a vote-by-mail ballot.

June 5: Election day. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All vote-by-mail ballots must be received by county officials by 8 p.m. and can be dropped off at any polling station.

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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