The original version of this Voters Guide, published on the Mercury Center site, is no longer available. Some links will no longer function. Rotating banner ads appeared in this space.
Election 2000 logo (sm) Voters Guide Calif. Primary - Mar. 7


Open primary mixes parties
Smaller parties offer more choices
Presidential primary is a mother lode
The presidential candidates on the issues
Other candidates in the presidenital race
A quiet GOP Senate campaign
Other candidates for the Senate seat

District 10
District 12
District 13
District 14
District 15
District 16
District 17

District 11
District 13
District 15

District 23
District 24
District 28
Districts 18, 20, 21, 22, and 27

Voters facing 20 ballot measures
Pro, con, for and against

Santa Clara County
Board of Supervisors
Superior Court
Los Altos Hills Council
San Jose Council
Water District
Open Space Authority
Ballot measures

Alameda County
Board of Supervisors
Board of Education
Ballot measures

San Mateo County
Board of Supervisors
Half Moon Bay Council
Ballot measures

Santa Cruz County
Board of Supervisors
District Attorney
Superior Court
Ballot measures

San Benito County
Board of Supervisors
Superior Court
Board of Education

How to use Pollstar ballot machine

Are we there yet? An explanation of the primary process

Politics & Government on Mercury Center

Campaign 2000 at RealCities

California Secretary of State voter information
California Voter Foundation's nonpartisan guide
League of Women Voters' nonpartisan guide
Rough and Tumble, a daily snapshot on California politics

Alameda County
Monterey County
San Benito County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County




Are we there yet?

In the crowded race for the presidency, the voters' first job is to narrow the field to one candidate per party. Here's a guide to how the uniquely American system of primary elections works.

Dueling for delegates

Each party has a certain number of delegates from each state, proportional to its population. To win the nomination, a candidate needs one more than one-half of all delegates.

Democratic total includes 800 superdelegates -- elected officials who support the candidate of their choice, regardless of the popular vote. These include House and Senate members, governors, Democratic National Committee members and certain others. More than 400 of these have already endorsed Gore, giving him a fifth of the delegates he needs to win.

Democrats vs. Republicans

Under Democratic rules, delegates are chosen based on proportion of the vote by district; a recognized candidate winning at least 15% of the vote within a district gets at least one delegate from that district.

In some states, allotment of Republican delegates is also proportional to the vote, but party rules also allow winner-take-all system, in which the candidate who gets the most votes is awarded all of that state's delegates.

Key states

Large states are important because they have the most delegates.

Early primaries or caucuses are important because they generate the most media coverage and are seen as a test of candidates' electability.

Jan. 24: Iowa

Importance: First contest in the nation, first gauge of voter sentiment.

Process: In Iowa's caucus system, voters attend evening meetings in party precincts to discuss issues and express presidential preferences -- Republicans by private ballot, Democrats by dividing up into groups.

Feb. 1: New Hampshire

Importance: From 1952 to1992, either the Democratic or Republican winner of this primary invariably was elected president.

Process: Open primary in which independents can request either a Democratic or a Republican ballot.

Feb. 19: South Carolina
Feb. 22: Arizona, Michigan

Importance: Early tests of GOP challengers' viability; results may determine whether the front-runner can be challenged.

Process: All are presidential preference primaries open to registered Republicans.

March 7: California, New York, 14 others

Importance: One of two Super Tuesdays; the day with the most delegates at stake.

Process: California has far more delegates than any other state -- 162 Republican, 434 Democratic (including 67 superdelegates). In California's open primary, voters can back candidates of any party, but only registered party members' votes count toward delegate selection. The Republican who gets the most votes receives all 162 delegates; Democrats allocate theirs based on each candidate's share of the vote.

In New York's primary, Republican rules have excluded all but Bush from the ballot in many precincts. Washington holds a wide-open "blanket primary," but the votes don't count toward delegates; they are chosen in party caucuses.

March 14: Texas, Florida, four others

Importance: Super Tuesday II, featuring primaries in six Southern states, including delegate-rich Texas and Florida; if nominations aren't yet settled, these primaries will almost certainly decide them.

Process: All are primaries for registered party members except Texas, where independents may request the ballot of either party.

March 21: Illinois and beyond

State contests continue until June 6, but once nominations are wrapped up the focus shifts to a two-man race.

Primaries by month


Am. Samoa, Ariz., Del., Guam, Virgin I., P.R., Mich., N.D., S.C., Va.

Calif. (Mar. 7), Colo., Ct., Fla., Ga., Ill., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Miss., Mo., N.Y., Ohio, Okla., R.I., Tenn., Texas, Utah, Vt., Wash.
Democrats abroad, Am. Samoa, Ariz., Del., Hawaii, Idaho, Mich., Minn., Nev., N.D., P.R., S.C., Wyo.

Kan., Pa., Wis.
Alaska, Va., Virgin Islands

Ark., D.C., Ind., Neb., N.C., Ore., W. Va.
Guam, Ky.
Alaska, Hawaii, Ky., Idaho, Nev.

Ala., Mont., N.J., N.M., S.D.

The conventions

The primary season ends with the formal nomination of the winning candidates at national party conventions, where delegates also approve party platforms.

Democratic National convention
Aug. 14-17,
Staples Center, Los Angeles

Republican National convention
July 29-Aug. 4,
First Union Center, Philadelphia

Sources: Associated Press, Democratic Party, Republican Party

Written by Karl Kahler, illustrated by Tracie Tso -- Mercury News


Published February 20, 2000

Return to topThis image allows you to access site resources

The original version of this Voters Guide, published on the Mercury Center site, is no longer available. Some links will no longer function. Rotating banner ads appeared in this space.

© 2000 The Mercury News. The information you receive online from The Mercury News is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material. Mercury News privacy policy