California’s primary election will take place June 5 and will ultimately determine which candidates will appear on the ballot for the general election in November.
California uses a top-two primary system, in which all candidates appear on the primary ballot, and the top two candidates, regardless of political affiliation, will appear on the general election ballot. All 53 of California’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and one U.S. Senate seat are up for election, along with the positions of governor, lieutenant governor and select state Legislature district seats.
California uses a top-two primary system — a system also used by Washington and Louisiana. Prior to the implementation of this system, candidates running appeared only on their party’s ballot, according to the Alameda County voter guide. The top candidate from each party and any nominated independent candidates would move on to the general election.
UC Berkeley political science lecturer Ted Lempert said the benefits of a top-two system include allowing voters to have more of a say in elections, while the disadvantages are the number of names that appear on a primary ballot and the cost of campaigns for candidates who must go through a top-two system.
Voters from Alameda County, specifically, will also vote on one regional measure and four county measures.
Alameda County will vote on Regional Measure 3, or the “Traffic Relief Plan,” as will voters in nine other counties, including Santa Clara and San Francisco. This measure would expand BART to San Jose, extend Caltrain to downtown San Francisco and increase all Bay Area toll bridge prices — except the toll for the Golden Gate Bridge — by $3 over six years to fund this transit expansion and to improve the quality of certain roads and highways.
The other four measures are solely Alameda County measures — the Alameda County voter guide provides more information on these measures, as well as a list of the primary election candidates.
Berkeley has several polling stations available to residents, 15 of which are accessible to people with disabilities. Berkeley also has a 24-hour ballot drop box near the Civic Center where voters can mail in their ballots without paying postage, which will be open until 8 p.m. Tuesday.