California Ballotmania


 California Ballotmania Several years ago I wrote a blog post about an election in Nepal in which 139 people or parties were on the ballot. ...

 California Ballotmania

Several years ago I wrote a blog post about an election in Nepal in which 139 people or parties were on the ballot. At the time I thought it was silly that so many people were on the ballot. Confusing choices between the Hammer and Sickle party or just the Sickle party or the Hammer party, Buffalo party and so on. At least there was a lot of excitement about the election.

I should know better. I am from California. Here we have a system where you can become governor with only 10% of the people voting for you.

Here’s how to do it. 

  1. After a general election, get 12% of the number of people who voted in that election to sign a recall petition.
  2. Then for a small fee you can get your name on the ballot. 
  3. Make sure everyone knows how easy it is to get on the ballot, the more people on the ballot, the easier it is to win by only a few percentage points.
  4. Get more votes than anyone else.

The first page of this recall ballot is a binary choice: Shall the governor be recalled (removed) from the office?  “Yes” or “No”.

The other side of the ballot has the 46 candidates for the office. If the majority of voters choose to remove the governor, then one of these candidates will be the winner. 

There's no chance to narrow down the field or anything like that. Only a plurality of votes is required to select the winner. The governor is replaced by whoever gets that plurality, not the majority!

For example, if each candidate received 2% of the vote that would be 92% of the total vote. In such a scenario, if one of those candidates had 10% of the vote, that person would then become the governor of California until the next general election. 

If Caitlyn Jenner won the election, she would be sworn in 38 days after the vote, or on October 22nd. The next general election for the office would be 382 days later, on November 8, 2022.

The recall election will cost the tax payers $276 million. 

The last, and probably most famous recall was of Governor Gray Davis. Arnold Schwarzenegger won the recall with 48.6% of the vote, far more than was required. This year there is no "big" standout name on the ballot. On, they report a majority favoring a recall, with 29 year old, YouTube personality Kevin Paffrath ahead of the pack with 27%.

All in all, it seems like a strange way to run the 5th largest economy in the world. Yes, the world!

*From Wikipedia: The economy of the State of California is the largest in the United States, boasting a $3.2 trillion gross state product (GSP) as of 2019. If California were a sovereign nation (2020), it would rank as the world's fifth largest economy, ahead of India and behind Germany.



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At Home and Away: California Ballotmania
California Ballotmania
At Home and Away
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