1. Research Methods
One web site that I found particularly useful was California Choices. I had gotten started making a spreadsheet of various organizations’ endorsements when I came across it. I used it to narrow down groups that I like (and also groups that I specifically dislike) to see where they stand, and then I could click the links to read their arguments. If I see all the groups I like go one way and all the groups I dislike go another, then that makes it pretty easy. It’s when the groups I like disagree that I spend most of my time investigating, so to speak.
Groups that I like are the ACLU (only the Northern California one is listed on the site, and interestingly, they don’t agree 100% with the other two CA chapters), League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, National Organization of Women, Courage Campaign, Equality California, NAACP, and AARP. And of course, I don’t weight them all equally. As a quick aside, if the EFF was endorsing anything, I’d care a lot about their opinions too, but as far as I could see, they don’t.
Newspaper endorsements that I look at include the Union Tribune, SF Gate (not listed on the comparison site), Los Angeles Times, SF Bay Guardian, SF Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury News. I like to see what they say and hear their brief explanations, but I don’t “award points” for the endorsements.
I also look at what all the political party endorsements are. Of course I do this because I can see what people of various ideological platforms go for, but also, getting to see how the smaller parties feel about matters of redistricting is a unique perspective, I feel. In that sense, I am counting on them to each be selfish.
Also, another site to help you pick some candidates that have similar beliefs to you is Project Vote Smart’s VoteEasy. It only covers senate and house candidates, but I thought it was both fun and useful.
2. My Candidate Endorsements
Governor: Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown
Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen
Controller: John Chiang
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer
Attorney General: Kamala D. Harris
Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones
United States Senator: Susan A. Davis
53rd District Representative: Susan A Davis
State Senator 40th District: Juan Vargas
Member of the State Assembly 79th District: Ben Hueso
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson
3. My Proposition Endorsements
Prop 19: Yes
Prop 20: No
Prop 21: Yes
Prop 22: No
Prop 23: No
Prop 24: Yes
Prop 25: Yes
Prop 26: No
Prop 27: No
Prop 20 and 27 were the most interesting for me. It seems like a lot of the groups that I like (specifically thinking of the ACLU) officially withheld a “no” endorsement for 27, but in their explanation of their official “neutral” position, seemed to say a lot of the same things as the groups that did actually come out and say “no” (specifically thinking of the League of Women Voters). Basically, it seems like they don’t like 20 for different reasons, but all want to see 27 not pass because they’re curious about the commission made by Prop 13 and want to see what it produces.
Haven’t mailed my ballot in yet, but was planning on finishing up today. It’s the nonpartisan positions and local San Diego stuff that I still have to do.
Make sure you vote at your local polling station on November 2nd, or if you vote by mail, make sure you send your ballot in time for it to arrive on or before voting day!