California adopts new alphabet for election

Aug 12, 2003 15:55 · 152 words · 1 minute read

California Determines Recall Ballot Order

Under the lottery-style system, the reordered 26-letter alphabet — beginning R, W, Q, O, J, M, V, A and eventually ending with L — is applied throughout candidates’ names.

That means that David Laughing Horse Robinson, chairman of the Kawaiisu Indian tribe, goes first, not Rainforth, because O comes before A in the state’s newfangled alphabet.

But wait — it gets more complicated. And that’s exactly when Robinson’s advantage would seem to run out.

To avoid giving any one candidate a lasting edge, their names will be rotated one position for each Assembly district, of which there are 80. Robinson’s name will be first on the ballot only in California 1st district, which stretches from the northernmost border to Sonoma County.

And we thought butterfly ballots were bad! There are currently 115 certified candidates, so people will really have to scan to find the candidate they want.