On November 4, registered California voters will select one candidate to represent their districts in the United States Congress. California politicians can only run for positions within the House of Representatives during this election cycle because American senators are elected every six years, and the last Senate election in California was held in 2012. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will serve as California senators until the state Senatorial elections in 2018.
Irvine is located in California’s 45th Congressional district along with Orange County cities including Tustin, North Tustin, Villa Park, Anaheim Hills, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo. This district currently has four candidates running to replace current Representative John Campbell place as representative: Drew Leavens (D-CA), Greg Raths (R-CA), Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Al Salehi (Independent-CA). In recent election cycles, third parties, such as the Natural Law party, the American Independent party and the Libertarian party, have had representative candidates in this district. However, since 1982, every representative of the 45th congressional district has been affiliated with the Republican party.
Preparations for the June 3 primary elections have begun nationwide. Local Congressional candidates have set up picket signs throughout Orange County and have arranged to host and/or speak at local events across the district such as Meet and Greets, walks for charity and luncheons. Candidate Drew Leavens has recently spoken at the AIDS Walk event at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Voter registration ballots have been sent to registered voters residing in Irvine households to provide voters the option of filling out an absentee ballot. Voters unable to vote on the day of primary and general elections can designate their candidate preferences on the voter registration ballot and mail their ballot in before Election Day. Irvine Unified School District high schools, through their respective Youth Action Teams, have held voter registration drives to register qualified seniors, who may be eligible to vote for the upcoming congressional and district level elections in November.
Representative John Campbell (R- Irvine) is retiring after this election cycle. He has served as the representative for California’s 45th Congressional district since January 3, 2013 and served other districts in the State Assembly and the House of Representatives in the past. In the House, Campbell has served on the Committee on the Budget and the Joint Economic Committee, and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade in the Committee on Financial Services. His membership on these committees allows him to exert his belief of fiscal conservatism on national policies. According to the Orange County Register, Campbell was one of fifteen Republican members to vote in favor of repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on openly gay military members on December 15, 2010. He also voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 in favor of a provision allowing the government to indefinitely detain American citizens or others without trial.
To get elected into the United States House of Representatives, candidates must gain sufficient votes in both the primary and general elections. The primary election takes place on June 3 in the form of a blanket primary. In a blanket primary, voters can vote for a Democratic candidate for one position and a Republican candidate for another regardless of the party they may have registered with. The two candidates who accumulate the most votes, regardless of their party affiliation, then advance to the general elections in their respective Congressional district on November 4. After the general election, the candidate who receives the most votes will become the representative for the district.
State population determines the state’s representation within the House of Representation. California currently has 53 representatives, who constitute a Democratic majority. States are broken down into Congressional districts based on population and allowed to elect one representative per district to send to the House of Representatives. The entire state votes on the same day for its congressional representatives. However, the district lines prevent the votes in one district from affecting the votes in another.
UHS students and parents interested in voting during primary elections on June 3 must register to vote by May 19. County elections office, local libraries and the Department of Motor Vehicles provide voter registration qualifications and applications accessible online or in person. To vote during the general elections on November 4, qualified voters must register by October 20
Written by CHRISTINE SMET