Ballot Education

What is a Primary Election?

A primary election is used either to narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office or to determine the nominees for political parties in advance of a general election. Primary elections can take several different forms. In a partisan primary, voters select a candidate to be a political party's nominee for a given office in the corresponding general election. Nonpartisan primaries are used to narrow the field of candidates for nonpartisan offices in advance of a general election. The terms of participation (e.g., whether only registered party members can vote in a party's primary) in primary elections can vary by jurisdiction, political party and the office or offices up for election. The methods employed to determine the outcome of the primary (e.g., plurality voting systems, majority voting systems, top-two primary, etc.) can also vary by jurisdiction.

California utilizes a top-two primary system. In a top-two primary system, all candidates are listed on the same ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the general election. Consequently, it is possible that two candidates belonging to the same political party could win in a top-two primary and face off in the general election. Any registered voter may participate in the primary and vote for any candidate, regardless of his or her partisan affiliation. The next general elections will be held on Nov. 8, 2022.

What is a Midterm Election?

A midterm election is an even-year election where the entire U.S. House and one-third of the U.S. Senate are up for election, but the president is not. Midterm elections always occur two years after a presidential election.

What will be on the California
ballot for June 7?

Your primary election ballot will include candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Member of State Board of Equalization, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, U.S. Representative in Congress, State Senator, State Assembly Member as well as other local candidates.