A Roll in the Universe

Website of Keera Ann Fox, an American in Bergen, Norway

Voting California-style

I_voted sticker

I voted sticker #LAvotes

I got my absentee ballot today from the Los Angeles Country Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Voting in the US is quite different than in Norway. And a lot more fun. I just voted on condom use for adult film performers.

In Norway, you vote for the party you most agree with by picking their list of names. During campaigning, they will often propose what they intend to do or how they intend to vote on existing issues, and if you agree with (most of) that, you vote for them. You can fiddle with the voting slip and cross out names to bump favorites up the list, and even write in a name from another party, but generally you are voting for an entire party, not individuals. And there is never a direct vote on law changes. Those are always decided by the elected politicians. Direct voting in Norway usually is about organization: Merging municipalities, or joining the EU.

At least for California, there is voting on state and local laws, especially ones that affect taxes or spending. So I have been deciding on whether or not to legalize marijuana and hemp, remove the death penalty or make the adult movie industry healthier. Who knew voting could be so entertaining?

Sample ballot

Sample Ballot California 2016


  1. Paul Goldstein

    2016-12-13 at 03:56

    Very interesting, Keera. Massachusetts ballots usually have just a small number of referenda, not a large list, and the topics – though varied – are usually not as interesting as the ones above. This year there were four referenda; the most interesting (and controversial) one was for the legalization of recreational marijuana, essentially the same as #64 above. I voted for it – and it passed decisively!
    The other three were for the establishment of a new casino near a horse racing track (I and the state voted no), establishment of new charter schools (I voted yes, but the state voted no), and stricter regulations for raising farm animals (I and the state voted yes).

    • Interesting to hear how Massachusetts does it. If you never live anywhere else, there are all sorts of details you never discover.

  2. I’m originally from California, but now I live in Wisconsin. I always find it funny the HUGE difference in politics between the two states. We usually have one referendum to vote on, and it’s a local thing, just for our town. State laws are almost never passed by public vote. I don’t miss all of the laws in California, but I do miss the feeling of empowerment that came with those ballots.

    • I too love the sense of empowerment by having such direct influence on the passing of a law. Until I remember I’m not qualified nor supposed to vote on that stuff since I’m an expat. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.