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

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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.  

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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