How we get our data
The data that appears on Voter’s Edge California comes from a variety of sources, with priority placed on collecting data that is nonpartisan, transparent, and accurate. Voter’s Edge California is a joint project of the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and MapLight. Voter’s Edge California does not take any position on or express any preference about the issues or candidates displayed on this site and neither supports nor opposes candidates or political parties.
What’s on the ballot
The official election authorities for the state, counties, and other localities are the ultimate authority on what contests, candidates, and ballot measures will appear on the ballot. This data is either directly provided to us by the election authorities or collected from them by the Voter’s Edge California team, which includes volunteers associated with the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
Voter’s Edge California is not responsible for the accuracy of the sample ballot and polling location data. Your local election authority remains the sole authoritative source for information regarding the content of ballot and polling place location. If you believe that either the polling place or ballot data is inaccurate, please Contact Us to report the problem.
Polling locations are sourced directly from the applicable election authorities or supplied by the Google Civic Information API.
The address search
Voter’s Edge California uses data provided from state, county, and local election authorities, information from the census database of the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Google Civic Information API to return ballot data for a specific address.
In some situations we will return more contests than will be on your actual ballot. This can happen when there is insufficient data available to correctly connect an office to its specific district. When this happens, we will connect the office to a larger district — typically a city or a county — and return the contests for that office for all addresses in that larger district. This means that some of the contests returned might not be on your actual ballot. Contests that may not be on your ballot will be indicated. You can contact your local election authority to confirm if a contest will actually be on your ballot.
It is possible to search using only a zip code, however this will not produce the most specific results possible. When only a zip code is used, Voter’s Edge California will return all contests that are occurring within that zip code, which typically results in more contests being returned than are on your actual ballot. Enter a full address for the most specific results possible.
The candidate data appearing on Voter’s Edge California can come from three sources.
1. The election authority: Source of the initial data, such as the candidate’s name, party, and what office they are running for. In some cases the applicable election authority may also be the source of an official ballot designation, a candidate statement, or contact information.
2. Directly from the candidates: Candidates are invited to participate by submitting important data about their candidacies directly to Voter’s Edge California. In order to submit content, candidates must agree to the following terms:
The content shall not, in any way, make reference to other candidates for this office or to another candidate's qualifications, character, or activities. Moreover, the content shall not contain any demonstrably false, slanderous, or libelous statements or any obscene or profane language, statements or insinuations.
I accept responsibility for the truth and accuracy of the content submitted to VEC by myself, the candidate, or by my designated preparer.
I agree that the content submitted to VEC may be published for this election and retained in a permanent public archive.
Content submitted by candidates is not checked for accuracy and spelling and grammatical errors are not corrected by Voter’s Edge California. Content is reviewed to ensure that it does not refer to opponents. Voter’s Edge California does not take any responsibility for the style, content, accuracy or truthfulness of the information provided by candidates. As common carriers with respect to this data, we do not edit spelling, grammar, or in any way alter the language provided by participating candidates (other than in the context of Spanish language translation).
Content linked to by candidates, such as their campaign websites, social media, or videos are not reviewed. If you should observe content on Voter’s Edge California that you believe violates our terms of participation, please let us know.
3. Researched by the Voter’s Edge California team: Our preference is to always have candidates participate and submit their data directly to Voter’s Edge California, however if a candidate has not chosen to participate, our researchers may provide additional data. In these situations, the research would be done for all non-participating candidates running for the same office, so as not to advantage one candidate over another. All candidates within a contest are researched using the same standards, with comparable time and energy put into each, and no preference given to party or ideology. When candidates are researched by Voter’s Edge California, this will be indicated on their profiles. A candidate being researched is still encouraged to start participating in Voter’s Edge California, at which time they would take responsibility for entering and maintaining their own data.
Voter’s Edge California provides voters with a variety of valuable information on candidates, including the following.
Profession: A description of the candidate’s professional identity. -Sourced from participating candidates or researched by Voter’s Edge California.
Top three priorities: A list of the candidate’s top three priorities if elected. -Sourced only from participating candidates.
Records related to their employment history, public service experience, educational background, and activities: Individual records detailing the candidate’s experiences in various areas, limited to five records of each type. -Sourced from participating candidates or researched by Voter’s Edge California.
Extended biography: A brief, narrative overview of the candidate’s past. -Sourced only from participating candidates.
Political philosophy: A short essay describing the candidate’s political philosophy. -Sourced only from participating candidates.
Position papers: A maximum of three essays that describe the candidate’s position on specific issues. -Sourced only from participating candidates.
Endorsements: A list of individuals and organizations that have publicly endorsed the candidate. -Sourced only from participating candidates.
Answers to Questions: The candidate’s responses to questions asked by local Leagues of Women Voters. -Sourced only from participating candidates.
Photo: A headshot of the candidate. -Sourced from participating candidates or researched by Voter’s Edge California.
Videos: Videos of the candidate speaking about policy issues and/or their relevant experience. These can be source from participating candidates or researched by the Voter’s Edge California Team. When sourced from participating candidates, the candidate agrees to the following terms when submitting each video:
This video is focused on my policy positions and/or my experience, not my opponent(s). Moreover, the video shall not contain any demonstrably false, slanderous, or libelous statements or any obscene or profane language, statements or insinuations.
I accept responsibility for the truth and accuracy of the content of this video. I agree that the video may be published for this election and retained in a permanent public archive.
Videos submitted by candidates are not hosted on Voter’s Edge California and are not reviewed prior to publishing. If you observe a video on Voter’s Edge California that you believe violates the terms outlined above, please let us know.
On pages with all candidates in a particular race, candidates are ordered based on whether they've filled out their Voter's Edge California profile. They are grouped into three sections, and the ordering of the candidates is random within each section. Section one contains all candidates who have filled out their profile, section two contains candidates who will appear on the ballot and who have not filled out their profile, and the last section contains write-in candidates who have not filled out their profile.
Voter’s Edge California provides voters with a variety of valuable information on ballot measures in California. Much of the information comes from official government sources --- either the election authority, city auditor, budget office, legislative analyst's offices, or similar entities. Additional information comes from either the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund or local League of Women Voters’ Pros & Cons documents and Easy Voter Guides.
The Voter’s Edge California team also collects a variety of other data to help voters make an informed decision at the polls. When this content is researched and collected, comparable resources are spent on both the supporting and opposing sides of the measure. The data collected related to ballot measures, include:
Endorsements: A list organizations and elected or appointed public officials that are publicly supporting or opposing the measure.
News: Links to news articles related to the measure.
Events: Information about upcoming and past events that offer neutral information or analysis regarding the measure.
Opinions: Links to opinion pieces, published from various outlets. Editorials, op-eds, and letters to the editor may be included.
Links: A collection of useful links to other sites that can provide additional information about the measure.
Videos: Videos that are informative, neutral, and provide additional information to voters.
The Voter’s Edge California team also collects videos, news articles, links to additional resources, and event information about candidate contests and all measures in the same district. For candidate contests, this content is all neutral, nonpartisan, and focused on the race itself or multiple candidates.
Analysis of campaign finance data from MapLight
MapLight obtains its campaign finance data from the bulk files provided by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for federal candidates and the California Secretary of State for state-level candidates. The data is processed, cleaned, and updated daily to include both new filings and amendments to previous filings.
The candidate campaign finance data visible on Voter’s Edge consists of contributions to the principal, authorized campaign committees of candidates running for a given office. At the federal level, this does not include contributions to Super PACs, Leadership PACs, or Joint Fundraising Committees. In California, this similarly does not include contributions to independent expenditure committees, candidate officeholder committees, and candidate legal defense committees.
Note: Regarding federal campaign finance data, there can be a lag between when the FEC publishes a recent filing's summary numbers and when the individual contributions are released in their bulk data. As a result, the totals in the bottom three sections ("Who gave contributions?", "Who gave the most money?", "Top contributions by state") may not add up to the totals above ("Contributions to candidate", "How big are the contributions?").
California ballot measure campaign finance data consists of contributions made to the committees primarily formed to support or oppose measures qualified for the state ballot, according to information published by the California Secretary of State. For the regulations governing ballot measure committees, see the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for the latest guidelines.
Top contributor lists
MapLight generates top-contributor lists by standardizing and then aggregating several types of information. Contributor names are standardized by a combination of automated processes and extensive manual review by MapLight researchers. We correct misspellings, connect PACs to their relevant organizations, and combine similar name variants together in order to better aggregate contributor information. Contribution amounts from an organization to a candidate combine the sum of its employees' contributions and those made directly from its treasury (permissible in California) or from its PAC. This is standard practice in campaign finance, where candidate committee contribution limits typically mean that single organizations or their PACs contribute the maximum (or "max out") very quickly. To the extent that employee contributions may reflect the interests of the employer, their contributions are aggregated with the employer. One significant exception to this practice pertains to contributions without limits, either from candidates who contribute to their own campaigns or large donors to ballot measure committees. In both cases, contributions are not subject to limits, and contributor information is not aggregated at the level of the employer organization. In the event that a top-ranked contributor (by employer) is a category such as "self-employed" or "retired", we exclude it from the list.
Contributions by state
An analysis of all itemized contributions broken down by the state the contributor supplied.
Contributions by size
An analysis breaking contributions into the categories of ‘small’ and ‘large’ based on whether the recipient committee itemized the contributions. Federally, campaign committees are not required to itemize contributions under $200 (for state-level campaign committees in California, the threshold is $100). Unitemized contributions are considered ‘small’ and itemized contributions are considered ‘large’ for this analysis.
Contributions by type
An analysis breaking contributions into the categories of ‘organization’ and ‘individual.’ This analysis identifies the contributions coming from organizations (either directly or via political action committees) or by individuals.
Spanish language content
Voter’s Edge California is committed to providing quality voter information to as many people as possible, which is why we are excited to offer a professionally translated version of the site in 2016. We work with our Spanish Language Advisory Board and our translators to ensure the highest quality translation possible.
Spanish language content is translated by Avantpage.
Third party content
Voter’s Edge California contains links to, and embeds content from, various third-party websites that contain additional information related to elections and the political process. Voter’s Edge California does not endorse, approve, certify, or control these external websites. We do not exercise editorial control or oversight over the content featured by these third-party sites and make no representation as to their accuracy, objectivity, fairness, completeness, efficacy, timeliness, or correct sequencing of information. Reference therein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by Voter’s Edge California. We are not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any material available on or through such websites.