California’s first open primary to determine who replaces the late Sen. Oropeza

On the open primary ballot, candidates of all parties are listed randomly.
On the open primary ballot, candidates of all parties are listed randomly. Susan Valot/KPCC

A primary election on Tuesday to replace late state Sen. Jenny Oropeza in Long Beach and the South Bay is the first test of California’s new top-two open primary system.

The election is to replace Oropeza, who won the general election, even though she died shortly before the election from complications from a blood clot.

Eight candidates are running. You can vote for any candidate, no matter if they’re in your party or not.

In this case, the eight candidate names are placed on the ballot in random order. They’re not bunched by party. The ballot lists the candidate's name, party and a short career title.

If someone grabs a majority of the vote, then they win and the election’s over. But if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will head to a run-off in April.

That’s the way voters wanted primaries to work when they passed Proposition 14 last June. The new system gets a statewide workout next year.

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