No, Bernie’s Name Wasn’t Deliberately Buried on the California Ballot

A glimpse into the fraught history of ballot design.

man voting on Super Tuesday

Liu Jie/Xinhua/Zuma

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

As voting kicks off in 14 states (plus Samoa) on Super Tuesday, outraged tweets are circulating that Bernie Sanders’ name is hidden on the second page of the ballot in San Diego County, California.  

Others on Twitter falsely claimed that this positioning of his name was taking place “all over the country.”

 

The California Secretary of State was quick to fact-check these assertions on Twitter, explaining that the ordering of candidates was generated by a randomized alphabet drawing, which rotates by district so that no one candidate has the advantage of landing on top of the list in each of the delegate-rich state’s 80 districts. 

Ballot design has a fraught history in the United States. Given that ballot ordering has shown to give candidates at the top of the list a significant advantage, a randomized list is supposed to be more fair, and being buried on the second page isn’t where any candidate wants to be today. In fact, the ballot ordering for the 2020 Democratic presidential race varies state by state, and sometimes, as in California, county by county. Other states that are voting today, like Alabama, list candidates alphabetically by party. 

Luckily for Bernie, a quick Twitter search reveals that he found better placement on other ballots across the country—and that includes several counties in the Golden State.  

 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate