Skip to comments.California Recall: Drawing determines alphabetical order for Oct. 7 ballot
Posted on 08/11/2003 3:00:43 PM PDT by heleny
Drawing determines alphabetical order for Oct. 7 ballot
By Jim Wasserman
1:59 p.m., August 11, 2003
The first letter chosen was R, followed by W, Q and O.
The six-minute grab bag of letters seemed more like a lottery drawing than a routine process, which is done every election to help erase the estimated 5 percent advantage a candidate gets from being at the top of the ballot, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley said.
The letters H, B and S, were drawn as eighth, ninth and tenth, [my correction: 9th, 10th, 11th] meaning that some high-profile candidates, commentator Arianna Huffington, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be relatively near each other on most ballots.
But as the Shelley's office continues to certify finalists for the ballot, the precise order won't be known until late Wednesday when Shelley certifies how many of the 195 candidates who submitted papers will make the official ballot.
Shelley said Monday the office has qualified 96 candidates and is reviewing the paperwork submitted by 99 more.
The lottery-style alphabetical system will rotate names on 80 different ballots in each of the state's Assembly districts. Under the system, candidates who start near the top in ballots used in northern California will shift to the bottom in southern California and work their way toward the middle, possibly for ballots in the 24 voter-rich Assembly districts of Los Angeles.
The huge list of candidates includes a variety of prominent candidates and celebrities, as well as dozens of ordinary Californians from a school teacher to a bail bondsman who paid $3,500 and collected 65 signatures to get on the ballot.
County elections officials fear more difficulties processing such a large ballot, including doing more work by hand, but Shelley urged precision over speed when the polls close on Oct. 7.
"I urge them to do it accurately," he said.
A greatly expanded ballot also means higher costs for the special election, now estimated at up to $66 million. Contra Costa County elections officials said the long candidate list could raise ballot costs by $750,000 over the county's earlier estimate of $1.6 million.
Shelley promised Monday he will ask for help.
"To assist the counties, I intend to urge the Legislature to underwrite the added costs of this election," he said, adding that he would ask on the "high end for reimbursement." The California State Association of Counties, noting the state has typically paid for special elections, also intends to seek legislative relief.
Shelley said the state's costs ballooned from $7 million to $11 million because a short time frame will require first class stamps to mail 11 million sample ballots.
"We don't know what the final costs will be," he said.
The results of the Secretary of State's random drawing of letters of the alphabet for the October 7, 2003 Statewide Special Election are listed below. The resulting order of letters constitutes the alphabet to be used for determining the order of candidates' names on the upcoming statewide ballot; it applies throughout the name, not just for the first letter so that Randolph would precede Riddle.
Names of candidates for offices voted on statewide rotate by Assembly district, starting with Assembly District 1 where the names appear as first determined by the random alphabet. In Assembly District 2, the candidate who appeared first in Assembly District 1 drops to the bottom and the other candidates move up one position and so on throughout the 80 districts.
This procedure was established by legislation passed in 1975 in response to court rulings declaring that standard alphabetical order or incumbent-first was unconstitutional since there is a 5% positional bias among undecided voters.
Figures. Glad I didn't enter the race.
Only in a few assembly districts. The order rotates up one letter for each district, so L would be the next to last in the 2nd district, 3rd to last in the 3rd district, etc. if all the letters are represented. With 80 districts, you'd be near or at the top a couple times, too, although Lo... would appear before you.
If there are no candidates with names beginning with certain letters (as is usual in regular elections), I'm not sure what is normally done. They probably just skip that letter and rotate to the next letter.
Yes. It is done this way intentionally, since someone sued that the candidate at the top of the list gets an advantage of up to 5%.
Then people with the last name A... would have an advantage over those with other last names. The alphabet order has been randomized and rotated in past regular elections, too, as far back as I can remember (not very long), except that it's easier to find your candidate in a list of usually fewer than ten names.
That'll learn ya to say your name with a lisp!
Just like in the 'seventies. (shudder)
Yeah, and 25, 17, 21, 20 spells F.C.U.K. (which stands for Football Club United Kingdom, I'm told.)
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