Election 2024: Your California primary questions answered


As California’s primary season unfolds, you might find yourself with questions about the electoral process. Here are some insights to guide you through the intricate landscape of the upcoming primaries.
1. Misplaced Ballots: What to Do?

If you’ve lost or misplaced your mailed ballot, fear not. Head to your local county elections office or a vote center to obtain a replacement. Remember, requesting a replacement for someone else is considered a criminal offense, so ensure you handle this process for yourself.

For those who still possess their ballots, you have three options to cast your vote: send it via the U.S. Postal Service (postmarked by March 5), deposit it in a designated drop box within the county, or bring it to a vote center in person.
2. Double Take on the Senate Race:

Observant voters may notice the California Senate race listed twice on their ballots. This isn’t an optical illusion; it’s a reflection of the unique circumstances surrounding the seat previously held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. There’s the standard Senate race for a six-year term and a special election to fill the remainder of Feinstein’s term until January 2025. Sen. Laphonza Butler, appointed after Feinstein’s passing, is not pursuing a full term.
3. Understanding California’s Primary System:

The state’s primary system operates on a top-two basis. The two candidates with the highest vote counts, irrespective of their political affiliations, advance to the general election. However, this rule doesn’t extend to presidential races or local office and county central committee elections.

In the top-two system, candidates move on to the November general election based solely on their vote count, disregarding factors such as party affiliation or majority votes. The exception lies in special elections or the State Superintendent of Public Instruction race, where a candidate can secure victory outright with more than 50% of the votes.

As you engage with the democratic process in California, these insights aim to demystify common questions and empower you to make informed decisions during this crucial primary season.

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