You’ve got questions about the California election. We’ve got answers

Voters cast ballots last week in San Jose.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

It’s election day! If you’re headed to the polls, you might need a quick refresher on everything that’s on the ballot.

The record 19.4 million people who are registered to vote in California have a host of races to choose from: the presidential contest, the Senate race, congressional districts, legislative candidates and 17 statewide ballot propositions, along with local initiatives and races.

It’s a lot to get through. Fortunately the Los Angeles Times’ political team has you covered with a quick speed read.

California is going blue, what’s the point?

Sure, the state’s electoral college votes are in all likelihood going to Hillary Clinton. That leaves some voters feeling left out. But the state still matters. You can’t win the presidency without California, and as our cool graphic going back to 1936 shows, it actually hasn’t been a lock for the Democrats for very long. We’ll be watching closely to see if Orange County will go blue for the first time in 80 years.


Why are there two Democrats running for U.S. Senate?

That’s thanks to California’s top-two primary system, which this year sent two members of the same party to a statewide contest for the first time since voters implemented the system in 2012. We’ve covered this race very closely, so check out all the links below.

Why are there so many ballot measures?

For the most part, it’s because turnout was so low in the last statewide election. Also, this was a prime year for people to get their issues in front of the voters, especially given the expected high turnout.

Condoms, really?

Really. In 2012, Los Angeles County voters opted to require adult film actors to wear condoms. Now, Californians statewide are faced with the same question. Proposition 60 has deep-pocketed donors and passionate opponents.

What do polls of California voters say?

Glad you asked. Along with our partners at USC Dornsife, The Times just took one. From the presidential race to the Senate contest to the hottest ballot measures, see how things are shaping up.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Find your polling place here. And catch up while you wait with some of our top election headlines.

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Ballot measures

The Times’ complete guide to the 17 ballot propositions, with endorsements from the editorial board


Quick summary of the 17 propositions on November’s statewide ballot

All about the $9-billion ballot measure that would fund school repairs

School bonds are popular, but polls show the big one on the ballot is struggling

This man is bankrolling a California ballot measure to force voter approval on big bonds. Would that kill projects like high-speed rail?


California voters are being asked to force transparency in the Legislature. Here’s a Proposition 54 explainer.

If Proposition 55 passes, the state budget will rely even more on California’s highest earners

Why opponents of increasing the tobacco tax aren’t talking about tobacco

Why business groups aren’t fighting California’s tobacco and income tax hike initiatives


Vapers beware: E-cigarettes in line for a big tax increase if Proposition 56 passes

Tobacco companies claim proponents of cigarette tax will ‘use the new revenue to enrich their top executives’

The tobacco tax fight is different this time around, and the $100 million in funds raised is only part of it

Why Gov. Jerry Brown is staking so much on overhauling prison parole


California’s Citizens United ballot measure: Who’s for it, who’s against it and what it could really do

Most of California’s Congressional delegation already wants to get rid of Citizens United regardless of Proposition 59

What you need to know about Prop. 61, the spendy prescription drug measure on November’s ballot

How ‘MASH’ actor Mike Farrell became a leading voice against the death penalty in California


Why Silicon Valley is pouring money into efforts to repeal California’s death penalty

What happens if both death penalty measures are approved by voters on Nov. 8?

Will ending the death penalty save California more money than speeding up executions?

If California votes to speed up the death penalty, what does that mean for the state’s execution methods?


Bilingual education has been absent from California public schools for almost 20 years. But that may soon change

NRA not putting up much of a fight against California gun control ballot measure

What makes Prop. 63 different than the gun control laws passed over summer, and how that’s split gun control supporters

We read it so you don’t have to: 10 things you need to know about Proposition 64, which would legalize pot in California


Billionaire activists like Sean Parker and George Soros are fueling the campaign to legalize pot

Proposition 64 would legalize recreational use of marijuana though it’s illegal under federal law. How will that work?

The push to legalize pot for all has deeply divided the medical marijuana community

A proposition to legalize pot raises DUI concerns: ‘We are going to start losing folks in astronomical numbers’


‘No on Prop 66' campaign points to Texas case as warning against faster executions in California

Out of time? Here are the propositions explained with emojis.

U.S. Senate race

California Senate candidates Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris on policy, politics and the state of their race

Can a San Francisco liberal win in Central Valley?


Riding high in the U.S. Senate race, Kamala Harris pushes to help down-ballot Democrats

When running for U.S. Senate, it’s good to be the highly visible California attorney general

Obama stars in ad for Harris

Senate candidate Kamala Harris makes final pitch to voters


Kamala Harris wins endorsements from Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein in U.S. Senate race

Loretta Sanchez dabbed. Kamala Harris threw shade. What happened in the only Senate debate

Meet the men plotting strategy for California’s U.S. Senate candidates

$25-billion foreclosure settlement was a victory for Kamala Harris in California, but it wasn’t perfect


If Kamala Harris wins the U.S. Senate race, the governor has a rare chance to pick a new attorney general

California’s U.S. Senate candidates are on their own as the national Democratic Party sits it out

Sanchez says she was in the room for tough talk with President Obama on immigration. It’s not clear that she was.

California’s congressional Republicans may prefer Loretta Sanchez for Senate, but they’re staying out of it


Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris overwhelmingly wins state Democratic Party endorsement

Kamala Harris should take bolder action on police shootings, civil rights advocates say

Loretta Sanchez apologizes for Native American ‘war cry’

Democrat Loretta Sanchez may need an assist from GOP voters in Senate race



Join us at for full election coverage of California’s measures and propositions.

Congressional races

Here are the 12 California congressional races we’re watching


This is how you’ll know California Republicans had a good election night

This is how you’ll know California Democrats had a good election night

California’s congressional candidates have spent $91.7 million on their campaigns already. Here are the cheapest and most expensive races

Gov. Brown endorses Democrats in six House races


Vulnerable California House members say they will not back Donald Trump

Voters in two different congressional districts get very similar letters from the wives of the GOP candidates

CD 7: Congressional candidates Ami Bera and Scott Jones spar over scandals in debate

CD 7: Allegations fly as ad wars begin in Sacramento congressional campaign


CA 10: This California congressional race may turn out to be a prime example of the GOP’s worst fears

CA 10: Democrats airing three new ads connecting California Republican congressman to Trump

CD 17: November intraparty showdown could unseat longtime Silicon Valley congressman Mike Honda

CD 17: Mike Honda sues opponent Ro Khanna, alleging his campaign manager illegally accessed donor data


CD 17: Silicon Valley congressman gets three donations for legal defense fund, spends $0

CD 20: Sam Farr, Democratic congressman in Monterey County, retiring

CD 21: In this California congressional district, water is more important than Donald Trump

CA 21: Democratic group releases misleading ads tying Rep. David Valadao to Donald Trump


CA 21: Obama endorses Emilio Huerta in his Central Valley race against Rep. David Valadao

CD 21: Emilio Huerta, son of labor icon, jumps into Central Valley congressional race

CD 24: Celebrity donors pour money into this open California congressional seat

CD 24: How does a 28-year-old raise more than $1 million for a congressional bid


CD 25: Did Steve Knight say he’ll vote for Donald Trump? Not quite.

CD 25: Could Democrats win an Antelope Valley congressional seat they haven’t held since 1964?

CD 25: Why activists in these California swing districts are feuding with the national Democratic Party

CD 25: As Porter Ranch gas leak lingers, candidates smell a political opportunity


CD 29: Rep. Cardenas spends 40% of reelection fund on legal fees, but his lawyer denies federal probe

CD 29: With convictions overturned, Richard Alarcon says he’ll run against Rep. Tony Cardenas

CD 32: California congresswoman vows to stay in reelection race after mild stroke

CD 32: Judge orders West Covina assemblyman to stay away from wife following domestic violence allegations


CD 44: Race takes center stage as heated L.A. County congressional campaign approaches finish line

CD 44: Emily’s List backs Nanette Barragan, signaling heated House race in L.A. area

CD 44: Video from a previous election used as ammunition in hot House race in South L.A.

CD 44: Race, oil and the environment all play into this L.A. congressional race


CD 44: Did Isadore Hall’s congressional campaign break federal election law?

CD 46: Why a group of first-generation Vietnamese immigrants are voting for a Latino instead of a Vietnamese refugee

CD 46: For the first time, some Orange County voters might be choosing between two Democrats for Congress

CA 49: Pelosi: ‘There’s an excitement across the country about getting rid of Issa’


Legislative races

Female politicians are losing ground in California

Why Donald Trump keeps popping up in local races he has nothing to do with

Here’s why the Legislature’s moderate Democrats see the ‘Mod Squad’ growing on election day

Don’t expect big changes if Democrats win a Sacramento supermajority on Nov. 8


In rare move, President Obama endorses three California Democrats for Assembly

Republican candidate faces sexual harassment allegations in heated Santa Clarita Assembly race

Without party support, this Democratic assemblywoman is out on a limb — but isn’t giving up on reelection

Two Democrats are on the ballot for Congress in this San Fernando Valley race — but only one is running


Republican assemblyman cries foul over lawn signs that put Trump’s name next to his

In legislative races, Democratic challengers try to pin Trump on their Republican opponents

Will these Southern California Republicans keep their Assembly seats despite Trump?

Assemblywoman: ‘I don’t feel respected’ by Democratic colleagues as some help her rival


In this Glendale Assembly district, Armenian Americans could be key

San Bernardino Assembly race could define what it means to be an Inland Empire Democrat

One expensive election

California ballot propositions rake in a record $473 million in campaign cash

Longer terms for California’s Legislature mean a flood of cash from interest groups trying to sway the balance their way


Independent expenditures 101: An introduction to outside spending in state races

Here’s how Kamala Harris spent $600,000 on 19 consultants in a Senate race

For those with lots of time: Candidate profiles

How race helped shape the politics of Senate candidate Kamala Harris

California’s next senator could be a Latina. Will her past mistakes get in the way?


Thanks for all this. Do you have any other good reads I should check out?

We sure do.

Here’s one about the time the politics team went to Disneyland to talk to people about the election.

And we identified the GOP dead zones in L.A. County, where you won’t find any Republicans to vote for.

And did you know that Donald Trump’s official “Make America Great Again” hats are made right here in California?


OK, I’m sick of the election. Anything else?

Go follow our Facebook page. Our engagement team has some treats in store for readers needing a break. And when you’re ready again, we’ll have lots of analysis and news in our free Essential Politics newsletter, so sign up.




Your ballot box guide to California’s propositions

Coverage of California campaigns and ballot measures

Live results and analysis on election night

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