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Each state’s ranking is based on multiple factors under each of the categories of Accessibility of the Ballot, Representation in Government and Influence in the Political System. Click the individual factors for a detailed comparison of states based on that particular policy area.

= Among the lowest performing states for the factor
California Accessibility of the Ballot
B (9th Place)
  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. Same-day Registration
    California's same-day registration will take effect on January 1 of the year following certification by the secretary of state
  4. Yes, without mandatory weekends
  5. Yes
  6. No ID necessary
  7. 2008: 13.6 minutes, 2012: 5.8 minutes
  8. 2008: 5.8%, 2012: 8.1%
  9. No
  10. 4.34% (Low Tier)
California Representation in State Government
D+ (26th Place)
  1. Restrictions while in prison and on parole
  2. This state provides statute initiatives, popular referendums, and constitutional amendment initiatives
  3. 15.1% toward Democrats
  4. 10% toward Democrats
  5. 0.57 (1 = appropriate representation)
  6. 0.38 (1 = appropriate representation)
California Influence in the Political System
D (30th Place)
  1. $54,400
  2. No
  3. Received 110 points out of 120 maximum
  4. 1 year cooling off period
  5. D
  6. Received 75 points out of 100 maximum
Policy Recommendations

Every state including California has room to improve across a number of areas, especially those for which it is among the lowest performing in the nation. The Center for American Progress Action Fund has made a series of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report. A summary of these recommendations is listed below; click here to view the policy recommendations page for a more in-depth description.

Modernize Voter Registration

Provide preregistration to 16 and 17 year olds

Provide online voter registration

Provide same-day voter registration

End Participation in the Crosscheck program

Better integrate voter registration opportunities into transactions at state Motor Vehicle Departments and other public agencies.

Eliminate Barriers to Participation and Representation

Expand in-person early voting, including evening and weekend hours

Provide no-fault absentee voting

Eliminate voter ID laws

Re-enfranchise ex-offenders after they have served their prison sentences

Allow citizen ballot initiatives

Create fair district maps

Create sustainable public campaign finance options

Expose and Limit Influence in the Political System

Set appropriate campaign contribution limits

Strengthen disclosure laws

Require a broad, two-year cooling off period for former elected officials

Provide complete, accessible information to “empower the public’s use of government-held data.”

Strengthen judicial recusal laws

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Press Contact: Benton Strong at 202-481-8142

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