California Counts

A collaboration between Capital Public Radio, KQED, KPCC and KPBS to cover the 2016 elections in California.

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Notice Anything Different About Your Voter Information Guide?


You might have noticed a different look to the California Secretary of State’s official voter information guide this election cycle: For the first time in eight years, it’s in color!

Red and blue join the usual black on the recycled gray paper booklet that’s mailed to every household with a registered California voter.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla acknowledges there’s an extra cost to taxpayers – 2.6 cents per guide, which comes to approximately $320,000.

“So over the course of millions, yeah, that can add up,“ Padilla told Capital Public Radio's Insight with Beth Ruyak Monday. “But if it’s something that helps us be more effective in getting the attention of voters and help them make an informed decision when casting a ballot, I think it’s well worth the expense.”

Padilla’s office spent the extra money on voter guides at the same time he lobbied the governor and Legislature for an additional $32 million for county elections officials.

The first $16 million of that money was approved last month. It's intended to help counties handle increased turnout in the June 7th primary – while simultaneously counting and verifying millions of voter signatures for potential November ballot initiatives.

The second $16 million is expected to be part of the upcoming state budget deal for the fiscal year that starts in July. It would be used to print the voter information guides for the November general election, which is expected to be quite large this year due to the glut of statewide ballot measures.