“Best Voter Guide Ever”: California Primary Election March 2024 Edition

Man Voting in California elections

Welcome to the “Best Voter Guide Ever” for the March 2024 Primary Election in California

Our “Best Voter Guide Ever” (self-awarded title) is back! We aim to prepare you to be a properly informed voter – as painlessly as possible.

On March 5, or that is, by March 5, California voters will have the opportunity to mail in or cast their ballots on a statewide proposition (just one this time, mercifully), and for federal, statewide, and local elected offices.

What are the Ballot Propositions on the California 2024 Primary?

The only proposition on the 2024 California primary election ballot is Proposition 1, which is related to mental health treatment and housing. But in November we will have much more homework to do, as 10 propositions will be on the ballot, on such issues as minimum wage, marriage equality, and oil and gas drilling. We will be sure to prepare you for the November election later in the year.

Proposition 1 would allow the state to borrow (through a bond) $6.4 billion to build facilities to provide more rehab centers and about 10,000 new treatment beds for people with challenges related to mental health, drugs, or alcohol.

The measure is aimed at reducing homelessness, and potentially crime, by providing treatment and housing to those with serious mental illness or substance abuse issues. It will ultimately cost taxpayers about $10 billion over 30 years to pay back the bond with interest. See more about BallotPedia.

See our Guide to Laws Related to Mental Health and our Guide to Laws Related to Homelessness.

Aren’t There Usually More Ballot Measures to Vote On?

Most of the action on ballot measures comes in general elections in November of election years. This is because voter-initiated ballot propositions must only be placed on general election ballots, not on primary election ballots. Propositions initiated by the legislature can go on either ballot. See our Guide to California Ballot Measures.

Which Elected Positions are We Voting On in the 2024 Primary?

Federal

You may have heard there’s a presidential election this year? While President Biden does not face any serious contenders for the Democratic nomination, the race for the Republican nomination is essentially down to Donald Trump and Nikki Haley. Note that if you are registered as No Party Preference, you cannot vote in the Republican primary, and to vote in the Democratic primary, you will need to make a special request for that ballot.

Aside from the presidential race, you will of course have the chance to vote on your member of Congress (or more specifically, the U.S. House of Representatives). They are up for reelection every 2 years.

California’s U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Dianne Feinstein (who passed in 2023) is up for election. You will actually be voting twice for the same seat – one for the remainder of the term, which ends January 3, 2025 (who will replace Gov. Newsom’s current appointee for the seat, Laphonza Butler), and one for the next 6-year term through 2031. The LA Times has a good write-up on the leading candidates.

State

At the state level, all seats in the California State Assembly are up for election, and 20 seats from the 40 of California’s State Senate are up. (Note: the California legislature is comprised of the California State Senate and California State Assembly. Assembly members are elected every 2 years, and members of the California State Senate are elected for 4 year terms. See our Guide to Legal Basics in California)

None of the statewide offices are up for election this year. These would include positions of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, state treasurer, attorney general, insurance commissioner, and superintendent of public education.

Local

Depending on your city, you may have elections for mayor, city council, or other local positions. You may also have local ballot measures to vote on.

What Do I Need to Know About My Rights as a Voter?

See our Guide to Rights as a California Voter.

Please. Vote. Responsibly.

Further Resources

See the California Secretary of State’s Official Voter Information Guide.

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