Election 2024: Your California primary questions answered


As California’s primary season unfolds, voters may find themselves facing a maze of choices and questions. If you haven’t cast your ballot yet, fret not, as there’s still time to engage in this critical democratic process.

While ballots were dispatched to registered voters weeks ago, and vote centers and drop boxes dot the county landscape, the primary season presents a multifaceted electoral landscape. With a plethora of candidates vying for the open U.S. Senate seat and the potential inclusion of local measures or recall questions, voters have much to consider.

Lost Your Ballot? Here’s How You Can Still Vote: For those who have misplaced or never received their mailed ballots, a replacement can be obtained at the local county elections office or a designated vote center, where in-person voting is also an option. It’s crucial to note that requesting a replacement ballot for someone else is considered a criminal offense. If your original ballot is still in hand, there are three convenient ways to cast your vote: mail it via the U.S. Postal Service (postmarked by March 5), deposit it in a county drop box, or bring it to a vote center.

Seeing Double on the California Senate Race: No need to adjust your vision – the open U.S. Senate race for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat appears on the ballot twice. This unique situation involves a regular Senate race for a six-year term and a special election to fill the remainder of Feinstein’s term, concluding in January 2025. Notably, Sen. Laphonza Butler, appointed after Feinstein’s passing, is not seeking a full term.

Understanding California’s Primary Elections: In California’s primary system, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election. However, this rule excludes the presidential race, county central committee, and local office elections. The top-two system ensures that the leading candidates move forward to the November general election, irrespective of factors such as party allegiance or a majority vote. Notably, only candidates for specific offices can secure outright victory with over 50% of votes in the top-two system.

As the primary season unfolds, voters are encouraged to explore their options, track their ballots, and actively participate in shaping the future of California’s political landscape.

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