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



Posted at 5:51 p.m. PST Friday, February 18, 2000


Open Primary Mixes Parties

Under new system rules, votes can be cast regardless of candidate's, voter's affiliation

Are we there yet? An explanation of the primary process

UNDER THE state's blanket primary, also called open primary, a voter can vote for any candidate regardless of the voter's party and the candidate's party. Democrats can vote for Democrats, Republicans or third-party candidates. Republicans can vote for Republicans, Democrats or third-party candidates. And independents, voters who decline to state a party, can also vote for any candidate.

That remains true for this election, with one major hitch.

In the presidential race, while voters can vote for any of the candidates, the Democrats and Republicans will only count the votes of members of their own parties toward the contest to win delegates to the nominating conventions.

Who can vote?

Any citizen at least 18 years old who has already registered to vote at a California address can cast a ballot on March 7. Check your sample ballot for your poll location.

How does the presidential contest work?

State law requires the secretary of state to count the popular vote for the presidential candidates. This so-called "beauty contest" vote will be closely watched by political observers as one gauge of how the candidates who finish at the top might match up in November. However, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will use this count to select their presidential nominees. Under Republican and Democratic party rules, only the votes from their own registered party members will be used to determine which candidate's delegates are sent to the national nominating conventions this summer.

What happens if a Democratic voter votes for a Republican candidate or a Republican voter votes for a Democratic candidate?

Those votes count toward the candidate's results in the overall "beauty contest," but won't help the candidate win the nomination.

Do the votes of independents count?

They count in the overall "beauty contest," but not toward the nomination.

How will the results for the presidential primaries be reported?

The results will include the winner of the overall popular vote, the winners of the GOP and Democratic primaries, and the apportionment of GOP and Democratic delegates.

How is the number of delegates determined?

Primary votes cast for president are used to determine how many delegates a candidate will get at the nominating convention. In the case of Democrats, the delegates are apportioned based on a candidate's share of the votes in each congressional district. Republicans use a winner-take-all system.

Who wrote these rules?

Voters adopted the blanket primary in a 1996 initiative, and it was used in the 1998 elections. But national party officials refused to recognize the blanket primary, so the state Legislature drafted this compromise plan and Gov. Gray Davis signed it. The state has no legal authority to change the way national parties select delegates.

Will the blanket primary be used in the next elections?

The state Republican and Democratic parties have both sued to end the blanket primary, and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear that challenge.


Published February 20, 2000

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