JLBC Cadet Corps: The State of California
You can register to vote online at Online Voter Registration | California Secretary of State. (www.https://registertovote.ca.gov). You can even pre-register to vote and start receiving information about elections when you’re 16. County elections contact information is also listed on the Secretary of State’s Office website at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/country- elections offices/. The Secretary of State site also has copies of the Voter Information Guide and information about the state-level candidates and propositions. County websites have more local news.
We hold elections in California on the first Tuesday in June and November. There are often special elections in intervening months as well, just in the districts needing an immediate election if a significant elected office is vacant. The June election is the statewide direct primary election, and the November election is the
statewide general election. The primary election is in November every four years when significant federal and state offices like President and Governor and many other offices are up for election. The following important polls are in the intervening
two-year mark, when other key offices, such as federal and state legislature seats and state propositions, are on the ballot. City and county offices such as Mayor, Sheriff or Police Chief, School Board, and City Council are on their schedule in June or November. Every election is important to someone, and as responsible citizens, we should make every effort to vote in every election. The right thing to do is to research candidates’ positions (what they stand for, what they hope to accomplish, what issues they support or oppose) and the actual meaning of the various propositions put on the ballot. Don’t just pick a name and vote for someone or something you don’t know anything about – it’s better in that case not to vote.
You can elect to join a political party or not. Currently registered political parties are:
• American Independent Party
• Democratic Party
• Green Party
• Libertarian Party
• Peace and Freedom Party
• Republican Party
Voters who don’t affiliate with a party are called No Party Preference (NPP) voters. They receive non-partisan ballots during primary elections that don’t include presidential candidates. Suppose parties allow NPP voters to participate in their primary. In that case, NPP voters can request a franchise of one of the parties that will enable anyone to vote in their primary election.
California currently has a system where the top two candidates in a primary election to ‘voter-nominated offices’ (state legislative offices, US congressional offices, and state constitutional offices)
JLBC Cadets move to the general election ballot, regardless of their party. Because California is currently heavily Democratic, that often results in the top two Democrats running against each other in the general election. This open primary system does not apply to candidates running for US President, country central committee, or local offices.
You can ‘go to the polls,’ submitting your ballot in person, or you can choose to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. Voting by mail is more convenient, but many people look forward to speaking in person at the polls. JLBC Cadets, the good thing is that you have both options.